Page last updated on: March 13, 2014

Subscribe to our new Gardening and Crafts Newsletter by clicking here.
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gardening Articles

Popular Pages


How to Root Coleus
in Water

Written by: Dottie Baltz


How to root coleus cuttings in water to make new plants for freeColeus are one of the easiest plants to propagate from cuttings. I prefer to root mine in water, but they can also be rooted in soil. For this article I will be focusing on rooting them in water.

Coleus cuttings can be rooted at any time of year. I do it in the Spring to get more plants for the garden and I do it in the Fall to overwinter the plants indoors.

  1. How to root coleus cuttings in water to make new plants for freeCut 4"-5" pieces of coleus off each plant you want to propagate. Choose the healthiest looking plants that don't have a disease or a pest problem. Remove any flower stalks that may be on the plants.


  2. How to root coleus cuttings in water to make new plants for freeRemove the leaves from the stem leaving 1-2 small leaves at the top of the stem. If the leaves are very large, cut the leaves in half. Since the coleus plant does not have roots, it cannot sustain a large leaf, but it needs a few small leaves for photosynthesis which creates energy to grow roots.
  3. How to root coleus cuttings in water to make new plants for freeMake a fresh cut just under a leaf node and put the stem immediately in a small glass of room temperature water. Make sure about 2" of the stem remains in water. Roots will usually grow from the leaf node areas. A leaf node is just the term used for the area where a leaf grows from the stem.
  4. Change the water every couple of days to keep it clean and fresh. You should begin to see roots growing in 1-2 weeks.
  5. How to root coleus cuttings in water to make new plants for freeOnce you have several roots that are about 3" long, it's safe to pot up your coleus cuttings. To do that, simply add moistened potting soil mix to a small pot, make a hole with a pencil in the soil, and put the cutting inside the hole. Make sure all the roots are underneath the soil and then gently pack the soil around the stem.
  6. Water the pot lightly and cover with a clear plastic bag to help retain moisture. Sit the pot in a sunny window.
  7. After 1-2 weeks, your coleus plant should be showing signs of growth by sprouting new leaves. At this time, it is OK to remove the plastic bag. Check the soil once a week and water if the top inch of soil feels dry. Do not allow the pot to sit in water as the roots may rot.
  8. Enjoy your free plants!

A printer friendly pdf of this article can be found here.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Back to Top