Not entirely sure this IS a Coleus plant so apologies if I'm getting it wrong from the start! Currently housesitting for a friend and while it was looking a little limp when she left, it's taken a turn for the wilted worse.

All I've done so far is water it once a week. I'm conservative if anything with the water but it is damp to the touch (but definitely not oversaturated wet soil). It's in a small conservatory style section to the back of the house and while not directly in the window, it's still likely getting a decent amount daily.

The only differences I can come up with apart from me is that it's been a lot colder here for the last couple of weeks, but nothing else has suffered in the same way.

I'm now nervous of what to do next. I'm not keen to be going down the repotting route as it's not my plant but would welcome any tips on what I could try. I have to walk past it daily and while the rest of the houseplants are healthy, it's depressing me how sad it looks!

Any thoughts / tips welcome!

Coleus - potentially overwatered?

  • 1
    Does it have a square stem?
    – Jurp
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 22:24
  • Yes it does! Thanks for jumping in on the question!
    – M Clarke
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 7:22

2 Answers 2


It does look like a Coleus plant. The sudden wilting and drying of the leaves usually signal something wrong with the roots. They may have rotted or died from overwatering and not enough light.

As far as the plant goes. Your plant looks "mature" by the flower head in the photo. Chances are that the main plant is old anyway and won't do well if repotted. However, Coleus can be rooted easily for new plants to grow. You can take several cuttings from the more lively branches and root them in water on one of your windowsills. Once roots are formed, plant them so that new growth from the leaf axils can form roots in the new potting soil. These should quickly become your new plants.

Since the plants are indoors, give them as much window light as possible. When they do flower, it is best to pinch off the old flower heads to stimulate the plant to branch out and make new growth. They do well outdoors when the weather permits, and you can buy seeds as well if you like a variety of colors. Best of luck with your plant.

  • Thanks so much for the detailed response! The leafs aren't actually dry. They're more soft and floppy (a bit like when your lettuce goes all limp!). Does that change your thoughts at all - I'm a total novice with them so I apologise if that sounds like a stupid question! I think I might plan to take some cuttings tomorrow and then try some more watering and see what difference that makes!
    – M Clarke
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 21:34
  • If you take some cuttings and put them in water, they should perk up. That would also confirm that the roots of the main plant are the problem (if, as you said, the potting soil is damp already).
    – user22542
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 22:09

The first plant i ever got was a coleus. It died because i overwatered it. The leaves took on a dark colour whereas in your photo, they appear to be dry and crispy. I can't see it suffering from too much water. I'd say that your probably under watering it. Does any water leave through the drainage holes everytime you water?

  • No! It seems very condense soil, but it does feel damp (I know I keep saying that!). There is no harm in throwing some more water at it though I suppose. It's not looking like it's going to get better with what I've been trying! I should clarify the leafs aren't actually crispy to the touch. It's more of a limp soft lettuce leaf for want of a better description. Does that spark any different thoughts?
    – M Clarke
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 21:31
  • I hope your watering it from the base and not from overhead which can really do a number on plants especially in cold weather. Check the leaves for any signs of discolouration both above and under the leaves. If any part of the coleus is still doing well, keep that and remove all the rest before it spreads any further. That's pretty much the next step to recovery regardless of what might be killing your plant. If it's not drying up like you say it is then for sure its not being under watered. It could be the opposite or worse case scenario, root rot. Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 22:30
  • Oh I've definitely been doing a number on it then! The order was basically just to water the plants and nothing more specific so I've probably been ordering them all wrong! They are generally going a lot paler in terms of colour but I think there are a few bits I can save (hopefully). Thanks so much for all the help!
    – M Clarke
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 6:42

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