How to Start Coleus Seeds


Coleus plants add color and texture to outdoor plantings with their bright foliage and variation of leaf design. These versatile plants thrive in morning sun, growing rapidly to fill containers and hanging baskets with a profusion of color, but are equally at home planted in borders or garden beds. Starting them inside from seed in early spring and transplanting them to the garden provides lush foliage from late spring until fall.

Step 1

Select coleus seed in the colors and leaf shape you prefer. Many people prefer to plant a variety of coleus seeds from packages of mixed seed.

Step 2

Choose coleus seed that matches your lighting. Some coleus plants develop deep rich color in direct sunlight, while others produce the best color in partial shade. The Solar Series features coleus plants that thrive in afternoon sun and develop subdued colors if planted in the shade.

Step 3

Pour the appropriate amount of seed starter in a large bowl or bucket. Add water. Mix to evenly distribute moisture.

Step 4

Fill peat pots or flats to 1/4- to 1/2-inch from the top. Sprinkle coleus seeds on the surface of the seed starter and press into the soil. Coleus seeds require light for germination and should not be covered with soil. Mist or water if the seed starter feels dry to the touch.

Step 5

Place in a sunny location. Keep soil evenly moist until seedlings appear in 10 to 14 days. Avoid placing seedlings in direct afternoon sun until they are 2 to 3 inches tall.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat pot/trays
  • Seed starter
  • Bowl/ bucket
  • Coleus seeds


  • Clemson University Extension: Coleus
  • Ohio State University: Plant Facts
  • University of Illinois Extension: Coleus A Colorful Addition

Who Can Help

  • Coleus Plant Description
  • How to Succeed at Seed Starting
Keywords: plant coleus, coleus plants, coleus seedlings

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.