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Coleus Plant Care

Coleus plants are very popular for container gardening and hanging baskets both outdoors, or as indoor houseplants. They also look great planted directly in the garden in groups, or as borders. What attracts most of us to Coleus is not it's flower, but the colorful leaves.

Coleus plants are native to Africa, Asia, Australia east Indies, and the Philippines.

Did you Know? Coleus plants are members of the Mint family! There are over 3,500 members of this big, big plant family.

These tender annuals can be grown from seed or cuttings. They like sunshine, but tolerate shade very well, making them a great indoor houseplant. They also need and rich, soft soil that drains well.

Coleus plants medicinal value: They are sometimes used for weight control.

Botanical Name: Coleus

Plant Height: 12 - 18"

Plant Propagation:

Coleus plants are grown from seed or cuttings. Sow seeds by spreading them thinly. Cover seeds with 1/8" of seed starting soil. Then, water lightly. Plants germinate and grow rapidly, if the soil temperature is kept at 70 degrees or higher.

Growing Coleus from cuttings is also easy. If you like a neighbor or a friends' Coleus plant, ask them if you can take a cutting or two. Select healthy, new growth. Place the cuttings in soft, rich soil. Keep the soil moist but not wet at all times. Covering them with glass or plastic will raise the humidity, and help them to root.

Days to Germination: 7 - 14

Coleus Plant Care and Maintenance:

Contrary to popular belief, Coleus plants thrive in full sunshine. They will tolerate partial shade, and to some degree, full shade. Leaf drop is common, if the plants do not get enough sunlight, and especially if they are moved from an area of full sun to shade, without an adjustment period.

Coleus likes loose and rich soil which drains well. Use plenty of peat moss and other loose medium whether growing in containers, or directly in the garden. Add a general fertilizer regularly. If growing indoors, use a liquid fertilizer every one to two weeks.

If planting in your flowerbed, space plants one foot apart.

Coleus prefers well drained soil. But, do not be allow the soil to dry out. While many plants wilt and recover, these delicate plants, can wilt and quickly die. Make sure that the container has holes in the bottom for drainage.

Keep Coleus plants trimmed. Remove spent blooms, dead or dying leaves, and cut back any stems that are sick or unsightly. The plant will quickly produce more. Pruning will cause the plant to grow bushier.

Coleus is very  tender annual, and are susceptible to even a light frost. If you are planning to bring them indoors, do so well before the first frost. In the spring, make sure to leave them indoors, until all danger of frost is past.

When bringing Coleus plants indoors, leaf drop is a common plant problem. It should be temporary, as the plant adjusts to lower light levels.  Find out How to avoid Leaf Drop.

Flowers Bloom: Summer

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