Health of large Coleus

Asked May 17, 2019, 6:08 PM EDT

I have two large potted coleus and they have been in my home over winter sitting in a east window. They look like the have legs and are not filling out. I would like to know what I need to do to get them nice and full again. Thanks Danielle Smith

Aitkin County Minnesota coleus

1 Response

Thanks for the question.

Your coleus looks as if they have gotten "leggy" over the winter. Coleus is truly a sun-loving plant. If your plants had been in an east window over the winter, they would have received relatively little direct sunlight. If you think back to the sun's location during winter months, it is rather low to the western horizon. The east window was probably the worst location for the plants.

We need to try and make these plants fuller before bringing then outside. First of all, move the plants to a south window where they will get six to eight or more hours of direct sunlight during the day. Then remove about half to 2/3's of the height on about half of the stems. When you remove the stems, cut just above a leaf node (the part of the stem from which leaves emerge). After doing this you may have some stems without any observable leaves but there should be nodes from which leaves had once grown. Water the plants so that the soil is damp to the touch. Presumably the pots containing these plants are equipped with drain holes in the bottom. Also dissolve a fertilizer powder (such as Miracle Gro plant food) in the water that you use for watering. Within three weeks or so you should be observing new leaves emerging from the old nodes. You may also observe new leafs coming out of all nodes from the stems you did not prune. The following sites will provide you further information on these points. Read these sites before you starting any cutting back of the coleus:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/foliage/coleus/overwintering-coleus.htm

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/foliage/coleus/growing-coleus-houseplants.htm

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/care-sunloving-coleus-over-winter-67311.html

https://www.doityourself.com/stry/winter-care-tips-for-your-coleus

Good luck. Please get back to us if this approach does not seem to be working.