Bushy coleus

How to Make Coleus Bushy?

Hello to all plant lovers! Let’s talk about one of the most vibrant and eye-catching plants out there – the Coleus. These beauties are cherished for their strikingly colorful and patterned foliage. But achieving that lush, bushy look we all love can sometimes be a challenge. Fear not, this article is here to guide you on how to make your Coleus bushier and fuller. Ready? Let’s dive in!

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor, 8 lb.
  • OSMOCOTE QUALITY: Osmocote is the original slow-release plant food. Decades of rigorous field testing confirm product effectiveness with hundreds of plant species in a variety of climate and soil conditions.
  • OSMOCOTE’S BEST FORMULA: Each homogeneous granule contains 15-9-12 NPK plus micro and secondary nutrients and feeds up to 6 full months.
  • OSMOCOTE’S SECRET: Soil temperature controls how Osmocote releases its nutrients, and more importantly how nutrients are taken up by the plant. Replenishment and feeding are in natural harmony.
  • OSMOCOTE’S DIRECTIONS FOR USE: 1 pound of Osmocote covers 37.5 sq. ft. (approx. 6’ x 6’). Works best when mixed into 1 – 3 inches of soil. Package includes applicator. In containers, mix 1 pound with 19 gallons of potting soil.
  • OSMOCOTE IS MISTAKE-PROOF: Even if over-applied up to 3x the recommended rate, Osmocote does not ‘burn’ the plant.

Proper Planting

Planting might seem simple enough – dig a hole, plop in your plant, and you’re done, right? Well, not quite. With Coleus, a little more consideration can go a long way in ensuring bushy growth. Let’s start with the location. Coleus loves a spot that gets bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can fade their vibrant colors, while too little light can lead to leggy, spindly growth.

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Next, think about spacing. If you want a bushier plant, make sure you’re giving your Coleus enough room to spread out. If they’re too cramped, they’ll grow upwards rather than outwards. As a general rule, try to space your Coleus about a foot apart. This allows plenty of room for them to branch out and become the lush, bushy plants you’re dreaming of.

Finally, let’s talk about the soil. Coleus prefer rich, well-draining soil. If the soil is too heavy or waterlogged, their growth can become stunted. So, before planting, make sure your soil is fluffy and drains well. Consider adding some organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure to give your Coleus a nutrient-packed start.

Remember, the journey to a bushy Coleus starts with proper planting. So, take your time and get it right!

Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix, 6 qt. – Growing Media for Tropical Plants Living in Indoor and Outdoor Containers
  • Specially formulated potting mix for tropical plants
  • Packed with nutrients that feed tropical plants for up to 6 months
  • Includes lava rock for added drainage that tropical plants need
  • For use in outdoor and indoor containers
  • Excellent for all tropical plants, including spider plants, ZZ plants, snake plants, pothos, croton, monstera, fiddle-leaf fig, and more

Regular Pruning

Here’s a little gardening secret – plants love a good haircut! Pruning, which is essentially giving your Coleus a trim, is key to encouraging bushier growth. By removing the tops of your Coleus, you stimulate the plant to grow more side branches, resulting in a fuller, bushier appearance. Plus, regular pruning can help keep your Coleus compact and prevent them from becoming leggy and sparse.

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So how exactly do you prune your Coleus? Easy! Just pinch back the tips of the stems using your fingers or a pair of clean, sharp scissors. Try to do this regularly, especially during the growing season. But remember, moderation is key – only pinch back about one-third of the plant at a time to avoid stressing it out.

Garden Shears QMVESS 8 Inch Pruning Shears for Gardening Heavy Duty Hand Garden Clippers 3-Pack with Titanium Plated Stainless Steel Precision Blades, for Flowers, Houseplants, Bonsai or Garden
  • ✅ DURABLE AND STRONG: Our pruning shears are made with high-quality blades that have undergone a titanium plating process treatment, making them extremely durable and strong. The garden scissors can easily cut through branches and stems, and are perfect for precision pruning.
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Balanced Fertilizing

Just like you and I need a balanced diet to stay healthy, so does your Coleus! Fertilizing your Coleus with the right nutrients can promote fuller, more vibrant growth. They especially love a good dose of nitrogen, which helps promote lush, green foliage.

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For a balanced meal, look for a fertilizer labeled as ‘balanced’ or with equal parts nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K), like a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Apply it according to the package instructions, usually once every two weeks during the growing season.

Remember, while fertilizer is good, too much of it can be harmful. Over-fertilizing can lead to excessive, leggy growth and may even burn your Coleus. So, feed them just enough, but not too much!

With regular pruning and balanced fertilizing, you’ll be well on your way to growing a lush, bushy Coleus. Just imagine the colorful spectacle you’ll have in your garden or home!

Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed All Purpose Plant Food, 4.5 lbs, Covers up to 180 sq. ft.
  • Full of essential nutrients that help feed and nourish above and below the soil
  • Contains vital micronutrients to grow stronger, vibrant and more productive plants versus unfed plants
  • Feeds up to 3 months
  • Will not burn when used as directed
  • For use in ground and in containers

Appropriate Watering

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of watering. Despite their tropical roots, Coleus aren’t big fans of soggy feet. Overwatering can lead to root rot, a nasty condition that can stunt growth and even kill your plant. But that doesn’t mean they like to be parched, either! Striking a balance is the key.

So, how often should you water your Coleus for bushy growth? The answer depends on a few factors like the plant’s size, the pot’s size, the soil mix, and the climate. But as a general rule, wait until the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch, then water thoroughly until it starts to drain from the bottom of the pot.

Remember, your Coleus prefers consistency when it comes to moisture. Too much water, and the roots can rot. Too little, and the plant may wilt and lose its vibrancy. So, keep an eye on your plant and adjust your watering as needed. Your Coleus will thank you with lush, bushy growth!


Growing a bushy Coleus may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right planting practices, regular pruning, balanced fertilizing, and appropriate watering, you can transform your Coleus from a spindly sprout to a full, bushy beauty.

Remember, plants, like people, have their own rhythms and needs. So, don’t be discouraged if your Coleus doesn’t become bushy overnight. Take it one step at a time, adjust as you learn more about your plant’s needs, and most importantly, enjoy the process! After all, gardening is not just about the end result, but also about the joy and relaxation you get from tending to your plants.

About the author

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson is a passionate gardener with over a decade of experience in horticulture and sustainable gardening practices. With a degree in Horticulture, she has a deep understanding of plants, garden design, and eco-friendly gardening techniques. Victoria aims to inspire and educate gardeners of all skill levels through her engaging articles, offering practical advice drawn from her own experiences. She believes in creating beautiful, biodiverse gardens that support local wildlife. When not writing or gardening, Victoria enjoys exploring new gardens and connecting with the gardening community. Her enthusiasm for gardening is infectious, making her a cherished source of knowledge and inspiration.

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