I have some coleus that about 20-24 inches tall and "leggy", as they say. So I want to prune them down and have looked at several YT videos. But their plants are all perfect for pruning and it's clear what they need to do...mine are all pretty much straight shoot up from the ground (see pic URL included)

Where, exactly, should I clip them? Some random point along the length of each stalk?


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    These are only annual plants in colder regions, so its a bit late to chop them down - what is your USDA zone? – Bamboo Jul 30 '20 at 14:43
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    I think Zone 8 (maybe 8a?). I am in north Texas, zipcode = 75013. It looks like I was misinformed...I see now that while perennial in tropical climates, it is treated considered as an annual north of zone 10...sigh. – mblatz01 Jul 30 '20 at 23:50
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    Yes, even in South Texas, whenever it becomes less than about 0C/32F, or with significant wind chill or sleet, Coleus don't fare well; before such weather, maybe could set them in containers & bring them in for the colder season! – M H Jul 31 '20 at 11:51
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    @MH, I'll consider bring them in but: 1) I don't usually do/have a lot of (well...any) plant stuff in my house; and 2) the plants were something like $6.99 at the nursery, so...I'll probably chalk it up to "lessons learned". I think I'll prune them back soon and then see if covering them with whatever when temp drops helps save them, but not too worried about it, really. Thanks... – mblatz01 Aug 1 '20 at 13:22
  • You are very welcome! And if want to, can still put the trimmings in water, and a while before it becomes that cold, so plenty of time to consider :) – M H Aug 1 '20 at 18:11

Your Coleus look very healthy! If want to trim them, would suggest maybe trim to about halfway down, about 8-10in/20-25cm, and trim them about 1/3 the way up from a node & 2/3 of the distance down from the next upper leaf node/leaf branchout point. Then ~'pinch' the top stem ends to keep them from losing liquid/sap from the trimmed tops. Would suggest trimming them a varying exact heights, both for aesthetics & to provide for more room for new growth from the individual trimmed tops.

If want to, the trimmed portions can easily be placed in water, where they may root quite readily! Placing them in some water should be done immediately(maybe have a container with some water in it handy when do the trimming). Then, before placing them in some water to root, trim about 3/4 in / 2cm off the bases, slicing at about a 45degree diagonal(the stem should be wet where the slice is made, so like gathered flowers, the Coleus won't wilt) and place them directly in water! After a little while they should root well, resulting in nice new matching Coleus! Good question and good illustration!


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news! Yes, where you live, they will die sometime during Fall because it will be too cold for them. Since it's now lateJuly, it's too late to cut them right down to encourage more growth, but they look quite good anyway. You could take some cuttings - they will grow as houseplants too, in a sunny spot.

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    In Fall, I take shoots of mine inside, stick them in a growth chamber where they get nice and bushy. Bring them out in March to brighten the living room, and have large plants for an early May transfer outside. Coleus stems are ridiculously easy to root. – Wayfaring Stranger Jul 31 '20 at 14:16
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    @WayfaringStranger (and Bamboo): yes, I might try cuttings this year this for the first time...I did this with my neighbor's shock of purple heart earlier in spring and it is doing great (no surprise since it's pretty much an invasive weed) – mblatz01 Aug 1 '20 at 13:26

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