If you have a previously red coleus plant that’s now turning green, you’re probably wondering what is going on with it.

Many people choose coleus plants because they represent a change from the traditional green of standard houseplants.

These plants can come in a variety of colors, but they are often beautifully deep reds, purples, oranges, or pinks, so if your coleus is starting to turn green, you might be a bit concerned by it.

Fortunately, this can be reversed!

Why Is My Coleus Turning Green?

A colorful coleus plant

Your coleus plant is most likely turning green because it isn’t getting enough light to maintain its original color.

Coleus plants need lots of sunlight to keep their color, so if they aren’t getting enough, you’ll need to give it more to restore their beautiful hues.

Due to a reduction in light, coleus plants often lose their vibrant colors and begin to turn green during the winter months (especially when they’ve been outdoors for summer and you bring them inside for winter).

Your plant will usually color up again in the spring or as soon as you can give it extra light.

Where To Put Your Coleus

If you want to maintain your coleus plant’s color, you’re going to want to maximize its sunlight.

If you’re growing it indoors, this may prove a little tricky.

When you notice your plant’s leaves starting to fade, take a look around your home for the sunniest spot.

This is likely to be a south-facing windowsill, and if you can transfer your coleus there, do so.

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Water More Often In Hotter Conditions

You will probably need to increase your watering routine to ensure the plant gets enough to drink, especially if it is summer – because the heat will make the water evaporate from the soil more quickly.

Direct Sunlight Will Cause Color To Fade

You will have to experiment to a degree, because if you live in a hot country, you may find that a south-facing windowsill exposes the coleus to too much light, and the plant’s leaves start to fade or brown as a result of scorching.

If that’s the case, you’ll need to move the plant back from the window a bit.

It can still enjoy the light, but giving it less direct sunlight for most of the day may solve the problem.

Alternatively, if you have a windowsill that gets a reasonable amount of sunlight but slightly less than the south-facing one, try putting the plant there.

If you haven’t got a suitable place for your plant but you are determined to grow it, consider a plant light as an alternative solution.

This will give the plant adequate light, but without the intensity of direct sun.

You may find this important if you live in a country with very low light levels during winter.

If you are moving your coleus outside for summer, choose a shady spot that gets dappled sunlight.

Most varieties of these plants don’t like full sun and too much of it may cause them to lose their rich color.

Other Reasons For Your Coleus Plant Turning Green

Although a lack of light is usually the biggest reason for your coleus turning green, there are a few other potential causes.

Old And Young Foliage May Lose Color

If the leaves around the bottom of the plant are looking dull, try to remove them to encourage more new growth, and don’t worry about the plant’s overall health as long as new, bright leaves are sprouting.

Equally, new leaves often take time to color up properly.

Seedling coleuses are often dull and do not look very exciting.

It may be some months before a very young plant finds its proper color, so if you’re sprouting seeds from adult coleus, don’t be disappointed if they don’t look quite the way you expected.

In time, the coleus’s true color will come through.

Poor Soil And Lack Of Fertilization

Another potential cause is low nitrogen in the plant’s soil.

Coleus plants benefit from being fertilized reasonably often, like all house plants, to keep up their strength and growth.

If your coleus is looking pale but you’re sure it’s not an issue with the light, consider its soil quality.

Choosing a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for pale coleus may be a good idea.

Don’t add too much at once, but apply a small topping to the plant’s pot and water it in.

Over the next few weeks, you should hopefully see the plant’s color improve.

Temperatures Below 60 Degrees F

Coleus plants are less likely to lose color when grown in warmer soil and air temperatures.

Try to keep them at temperatures ranging between 60 and 75 degrees F.

How To Keep Your Coleus Colorful

To keep your coleus colorful you’ll need to keep it at a temperature of between 60 and 75 F and provide it plenty of indirect sunlight.

Choose A Great Outdoor Spot In Summer

The very best spot for this plant is outdoors in the summertime in dappled light conditions.

If your plant is outdoors in these conditions you won’t have to worry about it turning green.

Coleus plants usually lose their color because these conditions are difficult to recreate indoors in winter.

Grow It Under Fluorescent Lights

Apart from keeping it in a bright location in your house, this plant also grows well and keeps its color under fluorescent lighting.

For your coleus to keep its vibrant colors under fluorescent lights, you’ll need them on around 16 hours a day with your plant directly beneath them.

The fluorescents will provide the light needed and also raise the temperature a little bit for your plant.


A coleus plant that is losing its red color and turning green is usually not getting enough light, so prioritize checking and adjusting the light levels first.

Avoid excessive direct sun, but don’t leave your coleus in a dark place.

Once you are satisfied that the plant is getting sufficient light, top-up its soil with fertilizer, remove old leaves, and water it regularly to maximize its health.