Are any Coleus experts here? I wonder what is wrong with mine.

I put them in quick-draining soil in a mostly shady spot and have been watering once a week. They're looking sadder and sadder. My guess is not enough sunlight (they get 1-2 hours of direct morning sun) but hoping more knowledgeable people will chime in.

enter image description here

  • These are outdoors? What part of the world are you in?
    – Bamboo
    May 13, 2023 at 14:03
  • I'm in Washington DC, USDA zone 7a. Yes, these are outdoors in a shady spot and get 1 or 2 hrs of morning light. Thanks for the help.
    – lmyt
    May 13, 2023 at 15:15
  • Did you add fertilizer to the potting mix when you planted them? If so, what kind and how much?
    – Jurp
    May 14, 2023 at 14:06
  • Where were they before you planted them outside? Indoors or under shelter? When exactly did you plant them - early to mid April or later?
    – Bamboo
    May 14, 2023 at 16:19
  • No fertilizer added to soil; bought them from a plant store and planted them at the end of April or early May.
    – lmyt
    May 15, 2023 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


Thanks for the extra information. It looks like day and night temperatures are now just about warm enough where you are, but they may not have been when you planted them out. It also sounds like you did not harden them off before planting outdoors - the plant store you bought them from will either have had them under shelter day and night, or brought them under shelter at the end of the working day, so they would have needed hardening off. Coleus grow best in warm soil and air temperatures over 60degF, so if the temperature of either soil or air, particularly overnight, was low, this would explain why they look droopy like this. Note that Coleus do not really appreciate full sun, they prefer dappled shade or full sun restricted to early mornings or late afternoons only.

Now that temperatures are warming up, they should hopefully recover and start to grow on.

  • Immensely informative. Thanks!
    – lmyt
    May 16, 2023 at 14:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.