Plant Propagation from Cuttings – Coleus

Plant Propagation - ColeusIt is quite easy to do cutting propagation for coleus. Last month, I took four cuttings from my coleuses, and three of them have survived. I guess this wasn’t too bad for someone who propagated plant from cutting for the first time, and I have already started propagating my second batch of coleus cuttings a few days ago.

So here, let me show you how I do cutting propagation with my coleus.

Step 1 Collect Coleus Cuttings

Plant Propagation - Coleus
Choose coleus plants that are healthy and disease free. Then, with a cleaned razor blade (you can clean your razor blade with rubbing alcohol), take the cuttings from the stem tip such that the cuttings are approximately 3-4 inches long.

Step 2 Prepare the Cuttings

Plant Propagation - Coleus Plant Propagation - Coleus
Remove any flower stalks, as flower stalks can take energy away from the new plant and prevent new growth. Remove the leaves that arise from the bottom nodes and keep only the top 2-3 pairs of leaves. Then, with a cleaned razor blade, make a slanted cut at the bottom, leaving around 3 inches of the cutting.

Step 3 Prepare the Container

While any small, well-drained container will do, I would recommend you to use a plastic strainer basket as the container for coleus propagation. It is not only well-drained (no container has better drainage than a strainer ๐Ÿ™‚ ), but it also helps in aeration.

Step 4 Prepare the Medium

Any well drained medium should be fine. Ensure that the medium is free from disease and pest.

Step 5 Plant the Cuttings

Plant Propagation - Coleus Plant Propagation - Coleus
Use a chopstick and make a hole in the medium. Stick the coleus cutting into the hole and gently press the surrounding medium. Plant the cuttings deep enough to not let the stem cutting fall off. If you have problem keeping the stem cuttings from falling, you can wet the medium first before planting in the cuttings. Wet medium can hold up the coleus cuttings better.

Step 6 Use Rooting Hormone

Rooting hormone speeds up the development of the root system a bit. There are many different types of rooting hormone. Some are in powder form, while others are concentrated solutions. Read the instructions clearly before use.

Step 7 Water the Coleus Cuttings

Water the plant medium till the medium is fully wet and water starts dripping from the drainage holes. If you use rooting hormone that is a concentrated solution, you can dissolve the hormone in water and use it to water the coleus cuttings now.

Step 8 Keep a Warm & Humid Growing Environment

Because Hong Kong is quite warm and humid in spring, I donโ€™t put my coleus cuttings in a greenhouse. But if you are living in a colder or dryer place, you may need to keep your coleus cuttings in a clear plastic bag.

Plant Propagation - Coleus Plant Propagation - Coleus Plant Propagation - Coleus

Once the root systems of the cuttings have developed, the coleus cuttings are ready for repotting into their individual pots. This usually takes around 2-3 weeks (I repotted mine after 16 days). In these 2-3 weeks, the plant medium must be kept moist. A greenhouse keeps the air warm and humid, so if you use a greenhouse, you may not need to water your cuttings in the coming 2-3 weeks of time before repotting them individually into bigger containers. But, nevertheless, you always keep an eye on them.

As for me, since I donโ€™t use a greenhouse, I water my cuttings with rooting hormones solution whenever the medium gets dry to the touch.

Plant Propagation - Coleus Plant Propagation - Coleus

Once we have repotted the new coleus plants, we must thoroughly water the planting medium till there is water dripping from the drainage holes.

27 comments to Plant Propagation from Cuttings – Coleus

  • […] out Sandy’s instructions for taking cuttings from her coleus plant. She didย  a really good job of breaking everything down, step by step with pictures. There are so […]

  • Helpful information. This year I have started some coleus from seeds and also purchased some small plants for nursery, will try your steps to propagate them.

  • Sandy Sandy

    Yes, Sarada, please give it a try and let me know if you have any question. And I would like to know your progress in growing coleus from seeds too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • […] Guidelines and Basic Tips of Plant Propagation from Cuttings Posted by root 2 minutes ago ( May 4 2009 as for me since i don 39 t use a greenhouse i water my cuttings with rooting hormones solution and also purchased some small plants for nursery will try your steps to propagate them your comment notify me of followup comments via e mail subscri Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Guidelines and Basic Tips of Plant Propagation from Cuttings […]

  • Sue

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. Yours looks very organized and professional. I want to try to root some coleus and scented geraniums this fall. Thanks for the good information.

    • Sandy Sandy

      Although I may feel a little envious, I enjoy reading your blog Sue. It’s just nice to check out the flowers that are blossoming in someone else’s garden, the lettuces and veggies that have been harvested… ๐Ÿ™‚

      And btw, I think that’s your grandson in your Wordless Wednesday post. He is so cute!

  • Brenda

    Have you tried cutting a stem and putting it in water?

    • Sandy Sandy

      Hi Brenda,

      No, I have never tried to grow coleus cuttings in water, but I did with African violet.
      Do you plan to plant the coleus cutting back in soil after it develops its roots in water? Or do you want to grow it in water, in hydroculture?

  • Brenda

    I was just wondering if you tried cuttings in water, i heard that it doesnt make the plant as strong.
    I have not tried any way yet.

    • Sandy Sandy

      Brenda – Yes, you are right. Roots that are grown in water is more brittle than the soil-grown ones. Hence, if we want to eventually grow our plant in soil after it has developed its roots, I would not recommend to root the plant first in water, for it will become difficult for the plant to adopt the new environment later on. Hope this help. Cheers!

  • Hi sandy, i know this is off topic, but i have to ask how the african violet worked out. i’m trying to grow one from a cutting, but i didn’t think to soak it in water first, or anything. how long did it take till it started showing signs of growth? did u fertilize it with anything special?
    hehe, sorry to pelt you with questions. thanks for your post about coleus, I just bought my first plants just today, so i hope to someday grow more of those from cuttings too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sandy Sandy

      Leah – Don’t worry, all questions and comments are welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚
      No, you don’t have to soak the cutting first. If you like, you can dip the leaf stalk into some rooting hormone powder before planting it into the potting mix. Yet, this is not a must.
      For my case, I have only propagated African violet once, and it took me around 2 months to see the first plantlet appearing around the leaf (apparently, my cuttings have taken longer than normal to propagate). And no, I didn’t give my cuttings any fertilizer during the process. Hope this help!

  • winnie

    your website is perfect for someone like me, I live in NYC in an apartment with not much sunlight so to do container gardening will help appease my desire to have a outdoor garden at the moment. Thank you for the helpful tips and step-by-step snapshots

    • Sandy Sandy

      Winnie – This is great! That’s exactly what I want to do – to show how we, the condo / apartment dwellers who have no garden, can still enjoy gardening and brighten up our place with some living greens.

  • Sarah Salt

    I did mine from seed and it is nearly 18″ tall. That one is now indoors and really thriving. The others in the conservatory and outside are from 8″. A joy to do and very nice.

  • sheba

    thanks im doing a science experiment with coleus and i have looked everywhere on how to propagate coleus im so happy i found your site take care!!

  • Mal

    i have just bought 5 coleus canina plugs and have potted them on to try cuttings for my garden,as the cats just destroy my garden with #2’s.I will let you know how i get on taking your advice.Thanks

  • I had my daughter in law bring me over some cuttings of Coleus. I put them in a glass of
    water making sure there were no leaves in the water as they will end up rotting. Within a week I had
    about 5 brand new cutting that I put into a hanging pot over my kitchen sink and they are very happy
    with their new home.

  • Kelsey C.

    THello. I have a quick question regarding water propagation. The other day I was putting up curtains in my apartment and I actually dropped the curtain rod (much to my dismay) on my boyfriends beautiful home-grown coleus. After beating myself up for about 15 minutes, I clipped the broken top pieces off of the coleus plant and figured I would propagate them in water before planting them back into the pot with the original coleus, but it’s been two days and they are very wilted. :/ I’m wondering if I should pull them out of the cups they’re in and put them into a bag so there is more humidity or if I should just try to plant them directly into the dirt. I already feel horrible about breaking it, I really just want to remedy things. Any advice on which method I should try? Help?

  • Weng

    Hi I am new here and I was hoping to get some help with regards to my coleus cuttings. I had just made some cuttings on two mother coleus plants last night and placed them in water. I had just bought the mother plants from a store and they are relatively small and definitely not bushy.
    Anyway, when I checked on my cuttings this afternoon, I noticed that the stems were all curling back upwards and seem to be trying to get out of the water. The leaves also are starting to curl. Does anyone know what’s happening to my cuttings? Are they dying? If so, is there anything I can do to save the cuttings?

    Please help! And thanks in advance for any help.

    • Sandy Sandy

      Hi Weng, sorry about your problem. I wonder if putting the cuttings in water is the best way to propagate coleus… Planting the cuttings in soil mix gives a higher survival change I believe.

  • Phyllis Folkman

    When I re-pot my coleus seedlings, can I plant them lower than the previous soil line. Some of my plants are leggy and I know you can do this with tomato plants


  • Justin

    I noticed a lot of people on here commenting on using rooting hormone powders/concentrates… As an alternative (that i absolutely LOVE for as cheap as it is) I make my own rooting hormone that’s really simple too!
    All you need to make your own is water (really cheap) and green twigs from any variety of willow tree (even cheaper if you have one in your yard)

    To make it simply cut the twigs and sticks which are no thicker than a pencil to the approximate size of the container you are using. To this add boiling water to cover the twigs and close your container (I ususally use a mason jar to keep it closed tight and holds the sticks easy)
    Let this then sit for the next 24 hours and VOILA!

    You have made your very own rooting hormone that you can still use even to water your plants and it’s done in a day for far less than what can be spent at a store for the OTC powders/concetrates

    Hope this helps you all with your cuttings and I’m looking forward to starting a cutting from a Coleus soon here!! I need me a new houseplant LOL

  • Lynn

    I read that honey can also be used as a substitute.

  • Jenny

    I am in zone 7b. I am starting my coleus late. Can I transplant them into the ground after 3 weeks from the start of propagation? Our last frost date is April 15th. I just started them this week. I was wanting to plant in the ground around April 23rd. By then the night lows should not be under 50 degrees.



  • tani

    how to propogate coleus through stem cutting

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>