Coleus plants must be kept moist and require frequent watering. They should be fertilized in their active growing season and brought indoors for the winter. Pinching back the shoots creates a bushier plant. The coleus prefers partial shade, though a few varieties can tolerate full sun.
The coleus is native to Asia and Malaysia. With leaves available in green, purple, orange, red and yellow as well as a variety of patterns, the coleus is a striking plant. They are easy to propagate, and cuttings can be started in a glass of water. Seeds should be started indoors approximately eight to 10 weeks before the first frost.
Often grown in baskets or other containers, coleus plants also works well in beds or as borders. Mulch should be applied away from the tender roots of the plant, as it can cause rot. The oil in cedar mulch can poison the coleus plant.
Tiny spots on the leaves or leaf distortion can signal the presence of downy mildew. This fungus can be contained by covering the plant with a plastic bag and removing it from the area.
Mealybugs, white flies, aphids, spider mites and slugs are common pests that harm the coleus. These pests cause holes in the leaves and can be removed by applying rubbing alcohol or spraying the plant with a soap and water mixture.