Growing coleus plants can be delightful because of their wonderful colors and low-maintenance nature. You will notice they grow fast, which might make you wonder how big your coleus can grow. We did some research, and here's what we discovered.
At full size, coleus plants can grow to a maximum of 3 feet tall, and for the bushy types, 3 feet wide. The smaller varieties usually grow 1 foot tall. They are best planted on the ground if you want them to reach their maximum growth size.
Read below for more tips on how to help them grow to their full size. As annual plants, we'll also share info on how you can have them all year round.
How Big Do Coleus Plants Grow?
Coleus plants are a wonderful addition to any garden because of their spectacular colors. They come in shades of purple, red, green, pink, rust, and maroon.
These annual plants grow slowly at first, but once they start forming leaves, you'll see new spreads every week. It can grow to its full size in just one growing season.
They are best planted at the start of spring. If you're growing them in a small pot, you may need to consider replanting them in a bigger one or on the ground. They will thrive well outdoors for a year, but if you want them to last several seasons, you need to bring them indoors in a temperature-controlled environment.
Check out these other articles on the differences between annual and perennial plants:
Coleus Plants At Full Size
Coleus plants grow at a maximum of 3 feet tall while the bushy types grow three feet wide. The smaller ones grow 1-2 feet tall. This makes them very easy to manage and care for even in small pots.
The height and width of these plants vary depending on the variety. Below we'll show you a few examples of some of the most common big and small varieties of coleus and how best to grow them.
Big Coleus Varieties
Big varieties like the Dark Chocolate coleus grow up to 30 inches in height with a 24-inch spread. They grow big leaves about the size of a man's palm.
This variety has a high heat tolerance and grows well outdoors in full sun. That's why gardeners love including this in their landscape projects. Its dark, rich color gives a wonderful contrast to other bright plant varieties.
See the picture of it below.
Another big coleus variety is the Premium Sun Pineapple Surprise coleus. It grows upright up to 26 inches in height. To encourage bushing, cut the bloom spikes and it can spread up to 22 inches. It's very tolerant of extreme weather conditions but will thrive best in full sun.
The Big Red Judy is one of the biggest coleus varieties with a height of up to 48 inches, a spread of 36 inches, and big dark burgundy leaves. This variety is very easy to grow and can grow well anywhere, whether under the sun or shade.
Smaller Coleus Varieties
Small varieties of coleus are best grown indoors in pots or hanging baskets. They grow well in the shade or partial shade on balconies and patios.
One of the best ones to grow out there with a beautiful bright color is Fairway Yellow coleus. It can grow anywhere between 8 to 12 inches in height with a spread of around 10 inches.
It likes to be in partial shade because it requires moist soil. Fairways come in other colors too including orange, and mosaic, which is a distinct pattern of red and yellow-green.
Another small one in the mix is the Superfine Rainbow Festive Dance. This variety has leaves that are dark chocolate brown with fiery red or orange in the center.
It grows at a height and spread of about 12 to 15 inches. It grows very well in garden beds and containers, under partial sun, and requires a medium frequency of watering.
The Trailing Plum variety grows to a height of about 10 inches but grows wide so it needs a spacing of about 20 inches. Its striking red leaves with thin green edges make it head turner in the garden once it's fully grown.
The Trailing Plum grows well in a frost-free environment, loves the sun, and requires moist soil. It will grow well in pots and can be put in a hanging pot as an indoor plant.
Does Coleus Grow Fast?
Coleus grows slowly in the beginning but once it starts to grow stems and leaves, these annual plants grow quickly. If you plant them from seeds, you will start to see sprouts in about 2 weeks. This growing phase may seem slow but once the leaves emerge the foliage can reach its full height in just one season.
In about 6 to 12 months, you'll have a fully-grown plant. You can prune and trim it to keep the spread under control. You can cut it back up to a third of its full height and it will still be okay.
To help it grow faster, there are several things you can do. First, you can give it any type of plant food to help it grow stronger.
You can grow it in a pot to make it easier to control temperature. Bring it indoors near the window during extreme weather then bring it outside when the temperature is at least around 50 degrees Fahrenheit which is considered cool.
To keep it bushy and for the stems to grow wider faster, you can pinch it to encourage branching. Pinching involves removing the main stem using your fingers, forcing it to grow stems in its other nodes.
How Much Space Does Coleus Need?
When you're growing different varieties of coleus in one garden space, you may need to know how far away to plant them to prevent overcrowding. The answer depends on what variety you have.
If you're planting big varieties, you may want to set them apart to the maximum spread each plant grows. For instance, the Dark Chocolate variety foliage has a spread of about 2 feet wide so you may want to consider this when putting two coleus side by side.
Avoid overcrowding or putting coleus pants too close together, as this can cause stunted growth and weaker plants as they compete for nutrients in the soil.
Should You Water Coleus Every Day?
Newly planted coleus plants and seeds need to be watered every day until the roots are established. However, it can be prone to root rot so it's important to be in fast-draining soil and pot. The soil needs to be consistently moist but not wet enough that water pools.
As the plants grow and the roots are established, leaves are growing and stems are branching out, you can start to lessen watering time. It will be able to go for several days without watering as long as the weather is not too hot and draining.
Coleus generally requires constantly moist soil, so the best way to know if you need to water it or not is to do the finger test. Dip your finger on the soil to check if it's moist and water only if it feels dry.
How Long Do Coleus Plants Live For?
Coleus are annual ornamental plants, which means they will only live for one year. Once the plant starts to flower and grow seeds, it means it has reached its end-of-life stage and will eventually die.
To prolong its life, some remove the flowers in the bud to keep it from flowering and stop it from dying. They keep it indoors to spare it from harsh temperatures in an attempt to prolong its life.
Coleus that grows in the wild can sometimes grow back, but only in warmer regions.
Big varieties of coleus plants can grow up to 3 feet in height and spread while the smaller varieties grow about a foot tall. With this information, you will know that when you plant them adjacent to each other, you can space them apart according to how tall and wide they spread out.
Thank you for reading through and we hope you were able to learn more about the coleus plant's growing habits.
For more readings on coleus growing tips and varieties, check out these other articles below.