Coleus get leggy mid-summer, particularly in full shade. They grow tall and get stiff limbs and flowery tops. To promote more leaf and color, the best thing to do is to pinch the flowers off of the coleus so the plants continue to bush and grow more leafiness. “Pinch” is another term for “ripping the freaking tops off the plant” – in other words do not be delicate! One must be tough and heartless when pinching a coleus. Pinch like you mean it!
Above you see Coleus inter-planted with Georgia Collard Greens and Sweet Basil from Bonnie Plants in a full shade vegetable garden. Pinching keeps the coleus at the same height as the other plants and also extends the life of the plant because once it flowers it gradually declines the rest of the season.
HOW TO PINCH A COLEUS:
- Grab the stem of the plant between your thumb and finger, just above the top leaves. Dig your fingernail into the stem, pinching the stem completely off the plant.
- Pinch at 6 to 8 inches tall or when flowers develop. Coleus flower from mid-summer all through the end of the season – continually pinch off the flowering portion of the plant to encourage leafy growth.
Special Note – Because the FTC requires it, I am letting you know that Bonnie Plants supplied me with herb and vegetable plants I used in this shade planting. I donate a large portion of the herbs and vegetables I grow in my soil-improved garden to the local food pantry when harvested. All opinions are my own and the basil tasted like heaven this year – just so you know.