Coleus Inferno Care (The Ultimate Care Guide)

Coleus inferno plants are one of the houseplants whose demand is skyrocketing recently. Read on to learn how you can grow these plants starting from seed germination to blooming.

Inferno Coleus Featured Image

Planning to grow a coleus inferno plant for the first time and wondering what are its requirements?

You’ve landed in the correct place.

This article will help you understand how to grow the coleus inferno plant, from seed germination to blooming, propagation, and pruning.

For a closer look, here are the topics we cover in this article.

Let’s dive right in.

Inferno Coleus Plant Profile

Scientific NameSolenostemon Scutellarioides Coleus
Common Name(s)Black Dragon Coleus, Solenostemon Black Dragon
Care LevelEasy, Beginner friendly
OriginAsia, Australia
Plant TypePerennial
USDA ZoneUSDA 4 – 10
Light RequirementsPartial, full shade
Temperature Preferences70 – 75oF
Humidity PreferencesHigh humidity, >50%
Water RequirementsMedium
Soil PreferenceMoist & well-drained
Growth RateFast
PropagationStem cuttings & seed
ToxicityMildly toxic

Where To Buy Inferno Coleus?

Despite the rising popularity among houseplant owners, bright colorful variants of coleus plants are not readily available in general nurseries. If you know any nurseries specializing in rare plants in your locality, you may be able to find inferno coleus there.

If you have no luck finding the plant offline, then your only possibility to buy inferno coleus is from online sellers. These sellers include reputable amazon stores, Etsy, and Facebook marketplace sellers.

If you are planning to purchase inferno coleus from online stores, then we recommend you to get the seeds instead of living rooted plants. It is because coleus leaves are very soft and delicate and can get damaged easily despite good packing.

Grow Coleus Inferno From Seed

If you are a total beginner, germinating seeds might look scary. But, in reality, growing coleus inferno plants from seeds is very easy and straightforward.

Before proceeding to germination, make sure that you have either a container or a tray for planting the seeds. Also, purchase a coleus-specific potting soil mixture so that the seeds get all the nutrients they need.

If you have all of the props ready, it’s time to follow the germination steps and get your hands dirty.

  1. Clean the container or tray using distilled water and a very diluted fungicide to reduce the chances of any fungal or bacterial infection.
  2. Fill the tray or container with the inferno coleus potting soil mixture you have. It is recommended to use some store-bought soil mixture for germination because, they have fertilizer mixed in the correct proportion which will fastrack the germination process.
  3. Make little trenches on the top of the soil mixture after the potting soil has been filled, either with a pencil or your forefinger. The ideal pit depth is about 2 cm, the deeper the pit, the longer the time for germination.
  4. Now it’s time to plant the inferno coleus seeds. Clean them with distilled water and place them inside the pis. Fill the pits with potting soil to a depth of one to two cm. To ensure proper aeration, make sure that the pit isn’t completely sealed off with thick soil.
  5. Once planting is done, next thing is to place the tray or container in a location that gets moderate intensity indirect light with 70 to 750F temperature. 
  6. Also, the coleus inferno seed germination process needs high humidity. So, it is recommended to cover the tray using a plastic cover to seal moisture content. 

Based on the conditions provided, after around 12 to 21 days, the coleus inferno seedlings will emerge out of the top soil layer. 

When seedlings emerge, move the tray or container to a spot where it gets bright indirect light for at least 10 to 12 hours. If no suitable location is present, place a full spectrum LED grow light above the container and turn them on for around 15 hours a day.

When the first leaves unfurl themselves, you can transfer the plant into a separate, small pot and continue with the care instructions provided below.

Inferno Coleus Care

Inferno coleus needs temperatures between 70 and 75 °F, high humidity (more than 50%), and some complete shade. In the spring and summer, water the plant more frequently to maintain moist soil. Additionally, make sure the soil mixture you employ is highly nutrient-rich and well-drained.

Inferno Coleus Light Requirements

For indoor-grown coleus inferno plants, a spot that receives bright indirect light for at least 10 hours is necessary for bushier growth. A patio or windowsill can be ideal spots.

If you do not have a spot that meets its requirements, then placing a grow light is also a good idea. But make sure that the light is turned on for at least 12 to 14 hours.

If you are thinking about growing inferno coleus plants outdoors, then it prefers partial shade under some tree.

Coleus Inferno Watering

Before setting up a watering schedule, analyze the climatic conditions and soil type of your inferno coleus plant.

Inferno coleus plants have moderate water requirements. In colder parts of the world, water the plant once or twice a week depending on the season. On the other hand, in tropical and hotter regions, the inferno coleus plant requires water every day or at least once every two days.

The general rule of thumb is to water the inferno coleus plant once the top two inches of the soil start to dry up.

Water the soil gradually until excess water drains from drainage holes. If you have a saucer underneath the pot, then wait for some time so that the excess water is accumulated.

Coleus Inferno Soil Mixture

Similar to other coleus varieties, inferno also prefers a well-drained soil mixture with good aeration, water holding capability, and high nutrient contents.

However, they can just grow well in peat moss or cocopeat alone without any issue. But, we recommend you use a mixture of peat moss, pine bark chips, perlite, and worm castings.

In terms of pH, these plants grow well in acidic, basic, and neutral mixes. But, studies suggest a pH value in the range of 5.5 to 7.5 for maximum growth.

Store-bought soil mixtures will have fertilizers mixed. So if you are mixing a soil mixture on your own, then add a balanced fertilizer once a month during summer and spring.

Inferno Coleus Temperature

For your inferno coleus plant’s proper growth, keep the temperature between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (20 and 28 degrees Celsius). 

And, these plants are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. So, it is recommended to keep your plant away from sources of heat or cold emission like room heaters, air conditioners, etc.

If you keep the plant outdoors, make sure that the temperature in your region does not dip below 400F. If it does, don’t forget to move your plant indoors.

Inferno Coleus Humidity

Since inferno coleus plants are native to subtropical regions, they thrive in moderate to high humidity. For optimal growth, you should aim to put it in a spot where the humidity will be between 50 and 60%.

If the natural humidity in your region is lower or higher, try to use a dehumidifier or humidifier based on your requirements.

Coleus Inferno Pruning

Except for periodic removal of old, sick, or damaged sections or leaves, coleus inferno plants do not require much pruning. 

If you are not happy with the way the plant looks, you can prune or trim them off early in the growing season so that new growth will replace the lost foliage very quickly. Keep in mind that the growing season for coleus inferno plants in spring and summer.

Another thing to note while pruning or cutting the leaves is to use only sterilized tools. If not, you may be bringing unwanted diseases to the plants.

Inferno Coleus Propagation

Inferno coleus plants can be propagated in two ways; seed germination and stem cuttings.

And for beginners, we recommend seed germination over stem cuttings. Stem cuttings are not hard, but seed germination is very straightforward and less demanding compared to the former.

Also, when we had a discussion with the staff from one of the specialized nurseries here in LA, most of the coleus varieties including inferno coleus have a very low success rate in stem cutting propagation. It is because the plants are very delicate and are easy to rot if subjected to prolonged water exposure.

Inferno coleus propagation using the seed germination approach is already explained in the section – Grow Coleus Inferno From Seeds

For experienced gardeners or others who want to try the stem cuttings approach, I will be explaining the process step by step.

Before starting, make sure that you have all the required items for a smooth propagation without any delays in between. Here are the items you need,

  1. Container / Jar
  2. Potting mixture
  3. Distilled water
  4. Rooting hormone
  5. Fungicides
  6. Sterilized pruning shears, knives, or scissors

Once everything is ready, follow these steps religiously.

  1. Take a mature coleus inferno plant and cut a stem with at least four or five leaves, measuring 3 to 4 inches. Ensure that the cut you make is below a leaf node so that stem can grow new roots.
  2. Remove the leaves close to the node where you have cut. Just pick off those leaves from the stem without damaging the stem.
  3. Apply rooting hormone to the part where the node is present. It is not a mandatory step, but rooting hormones make the rooting process fast. Without rooting hormones, there is a high chance of stem rot during propagation before any root growth.
  4. If you prefer water propagation, fill the jar with distilled water and place the stem inside in such a way that the leaf node is completely submerged in the water. Also, make sure that no existing leaves touch the water.
  5. For soil propagation, fill the container with the coleus potting soil and plant the stem inside. Here also, make sure that the node is below the soil.
  6. Temperature and humidity are key factors in the early stages of rooting. As a result, be sure to place the coleus inferno cutting in a spot where it will receive high humidity and temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is recommended to use any store-bought potting soil rated for coleus plants because they have fertilizers added incorrect composition. For water propagation, we prefer adding a general-purpose diluted liquid fertilizer once a week(~10 ml).

If the stem is staying fresh and healthy even after a week, then most likely your propagation is successful. After a couple of weeks, you will see new growth in the form of leaves.

Coleus Inferno Toxicity

Coleus plants are a part of the mint family which has most of the essential oil plants. And, as a result, coleus inferno plants are mildly toxic and are not edible.

If the leaves of inferno coleus are ingested, depending on how stable your immune system is you might experience gastronomical problems and loose motions.

There is a slight possibility that touching the coleus inferno plant will cause you to get dermatitis or a red rash if you are prone to allergies.

For your pets like cats and dogs, these plants are completely toxic. They might not be fatal, but the diterpenes coleonol and colon O found in coleus leaves are considered to be poisonous to cats and dogs.

Coleus Inferno Care – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Since the popularity of coleus inferno plants is rising, a lot of gardening forums are getting bombarded by doubts from amateur gardeners who are either looking to buy or grow their first coleus inferno variant.

To help you out, we are answering some of the most commonly asked questions about inferno coleus care.

Does inferno coleus come back every year?

Inferno coleus plants are considered to be herbaceous perennials or upright annuals. In layman’s terms, it means that if your plant is in a region where temperatures never dip below 550F, then they are perennials and can grow up to three years. However, for regions where frost is expected, the plant cannot survive even the first frost and is considered to be annual.

How much height do inferno coleus can reach?

Inferno coleus can reach a maximum height of up to 3 ft and a width of 2 ft under proper living conditions. Also, this is when the plant is grown outdoors. Indoor-grown inferno coleus plants will be remarkably smaller than this.

Is coleus inferno a rare plant?

No, inferno coleus plants are not a rare variety of coleus. Only a small group of gardeners grow these plants indoors and that is the reason why they are not readily available. Nowadays, the demand for these plants is high, so we can expect them in regular nurseries very soon.

What is the scientific name of inferno coleus?

The scientific name for inferno coleus is Solenostemon Scutellarioides Coleus. Some plant references also mention different names like Solenostemon Inferno, Plectranthus Inferno, etc.

Can inferno coleus survive frost?

No, inferno coleus plants cannot even survive the first frost because their leaves are very soft and delicate. If you are in a region where frost is common and your inferno coleus is kept outdoors, then you must move the plant indoors to save it.


To back up the information we provide in our articles, the Plantials team only uses high-quality sources published in peer-reviewed university or scientific research journals.

  1. Inferno Coleus, CAES Newswire, University Of Georgia
  2. Classic City Garden Awards: Best New Plants From The Trial Garden At Uga, Ishs Acta Horticulturae.

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