Updated at: 09-05-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

To properly trim a coleus, all you need to know is how to pinch. Even if you’re a novice gardener, the technique itself shouldn’t overwhelm you because you just have to know a few pointers. Take solace in the knowledge that the University of Florida has classified coleus as extremely difficult to eradicate.

Keeping coleus healthy and happy is essential if you want them to function at their best. As long as your coleus plants are happy and healthy, you’re free to multiply them as much as you want. If the weather is very harsh where you live, you might want to try putting your plants in a greenhouse.

How To Trim Coleus Correctly

The health and appearance of a coleus can be improved if you know how to trim it correctly. Keeping in mind that coleus is a plant that thrives best if you pinch it back periodically while it is still growing, remember this. As a result, the leaves will grow more vigorously than if the growing stems are left alone.

How to Trim Coleus : Garden Space - YouTube

Pinching isn’t the only way to make your plants bloom longer; removing the faded flowers will also assist. Preventing seeding will help revitalize the plant, which will allow it to produce more flowers this year. To be fair, some plants don’t need these tactics to branch and produce flowers.


For branching

Pinching is all you need to know in order to learn how to trim coleus. You can do this with your thumb and index finger on the stem above a node. To encourage branching, pick a plant with an axillary bud and a point where the leaves meet the stem.

For rejuvenation

Keep pinching your coleus plants’ stems if you find that a section of your garden is looking a little lanky. Squeezing the axillary buds will assure that the plant will generate new shoots, as previously said. Renewed growth can be stimulated by pinching at a leaf node.

For recovery

Pinching the leaves of your coleus plants is also a great way to encourage growth. It is possible to pinch off the infected leaves of a plant that has been attacked by pests or is afflicted by a disease. If you’re dealing with pests or a disease, incorporate this method into your treatment and quarantine procedures.

For growth

Do coleus flower spikes need to be pinched? When these flower spikes are noticed, some gardeners will pinch back to a leaf node. The goal here is to keep the plant from self-seeding and concentrate its resources on growth instead.

If you pinch your coleus plants, remember to water them. When pinching a plant, the soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged.

Pruning Tool Maintenance

If the blades of the pruning shears are dull and unclean, pruning a plant like coleus might do more harm than good. pruning shears should be sharpened every year, especially if they are used to prune woody plants that quickly wear down the blade. Remove any plant stuff from the blades and hinges by scrubbing them with hot, soapy water. Before sanitizing the shears, make sure to thoroughly wash them.

The blades can be effectively sanitized with a 10% bleach solution, but only after soaking for 30 minutes in a mixture of nine parts water to one part bleach. The University of California Cooperative Extension notes that bleach is highly corrosive to metal, therefore the blades must be rinsed completely and then wiped dry after soaking.

Apply WD-40 or other lubricant to the blades to prevent rust. Wipe the blades down with 70% rubbing alcohol to quickly sterilize them between cuts. As long as the blades aren’t in direct contact with any open flames, you’ll be fine.

How To Trim Coleus. The Best Technique You Need - Krostrade

Coleus Growing and Care

Only a small portion of coleus plant maintenance entails pruning. Even while coleus plants are low-maintenance, they nevertheless require regular watering and monthly fertilizer applications during the summer months in order to thrive. When the soil seems dry to the touch, it’s time to re-apply some water. Coleus plants in pots should be watered until a small amount of water comes out of the bottom of the pot. A poor, leggy growth should prompt you to shift your plants to a brighter place, such as near an east or west-facing window.

General-purpose fertilizer, such as 15-15-15, is recommended for coleus species of the Plectranthus genus by Logee’s Plants for Home and Garden. When the plant is actively growing, it is recommended to use a little 1/2 teaspoon of fertilizer dissolved in 1 gallon of water per month. Stop feeding your plants during the winter months to allow them to rest. After pinching them back and transferring them to a brighter spot, if they continue to become leggy, stop feeding them completely.

Things You Will Need

  • shears for pruning
  • Bleach
  • Towels in a roll
  • A lubricant spray or oil
  • Alcoholic swab
  • Fertilizer with a 15-15-15 ratio

How To Maintain And Care For Coleus

If you want to maintain your coleus plants happy and healthy, you must do more than just trim them. If you’re just getting started with these plants, it’s best to do so indoors until the weather warms up before moving them outside. Perhaps the most significant enemy of these plants is the cold..

Ideal location

If you live in a climate that is prone to extremes of temperature, a greenhouse is an ideal place to keep coleus. Keep the plants in healthy and well-draining soil in a shady place. Even in containers, you can get away with keeping these plants close to one another.

In general, coleus thrives in a warm and humid environment. Propagation can be aided by these conditions as well. Keep in mind that plants will be damaged if exposed to frost, thus any propagation should be done in warm weather.

When it’s cold outside, what can you do with coleus? These delicate annuals need to be protected from the cold by spending the winter in a greenhouse. During the winter months, you can either dig the plants up and re-pot them or re-pot them.

Water and fertilizer

Coleus thrives in damp soil, just like most other plants. In order to avoid overwatering or underwatering your plants, make the required adjustments based on the environment and location. To avoid root rot and other infections, avoid keeping plants in soil that is too wet.

On the other hand, feeding the plants with diluted fertilizer in the spring and summer will help them grow. A soil test is also a good idea to ensure that the nutrients in the soil are enough. Coleus leaves can turn yellow if they are overfertilized.

How to Pinch or Trim Coleus Plants - YouTube

Common problems

As far as diseases and pests go, coleus plants are the best. Scale, mealybugs, and whiteflies can all be an issue if conditions aren’t stable. Mildew and other fungal illnesses can also be caused by an unstable, severe, and variable environment.


Coleus is a relatively straightforward plant to care for, but it will benefit from a few specific techniques. Trimming coleus correctly, for example, can provide up to four advantages. Pinching the stems of your plants can encourage branching, while pinching the growing tips can revive lanky sections.

The opposite is true if the leaf nodes are infested with insects or diseased. If you want to avoid seeding, you can nip the plant’s flower spikes. As a result, the plant uses less energy and can continue to grow.