pruning coleus

greengrower2007(zone 6)May 17, 2008

i have a question regarding the coleus, what do you do when your coleus is large and beautiful and the long blooms at the ends die? do you prune it off or just leave it alone? does the plant time out after the bloom dies? i have had much luck propagating this plant but it all seems to be for not when it is finished blooming any insight would be appreciated! thanks in advance.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Pinch the plant as soon as blooms form and it will back-bud and get bushy.

These were cuttings from an upright Coleus. You can see that by careful pinching it can be forced to a low-growing mound. Selective pinching will make your plant bushy; and removing the blooms will keep it growing with juvenile vigor.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 6:43PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Maybe you don't realize that most people remove the blooms since they are growing coleus for the foliage, not for the flowers. If you want more of the one you have, you can take those pinchings Al talks about, pinch off the lower sets of leaves and put it in water. The "cutting" will root in about a week and be ready to be potted up. In shade, I sometimes just stick the cutting straight into moist soil. They nearly always take right off.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 9:37PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

think of it this way ....

a plant has one goal in life.. to procreate... let it flower and go to seed.. a lot of plants just die ...

so we deadhead.. or pinch off spent flowers before the seed sets ...

as noted.. on some plants.. we dont even waste the energy on letting it flower ...

take a few minutes to study your plant... trace on branch down from the flower... where every leaf is attached.. to the stem .. you will see some tiny tiny leaves ... if you cut the stem ... just above any of those ... they will become active.. and in 6 weeks you will have to pinch them again ... 3 to 5 will become active..

if you pinch the flower off way at the top ... you will end up with a top heavy plant.. that will fall over ...

so you would pinch as far back down the stem as you see the tiny leaves. ... creating a more squat and stable plant ...

if you have a largish plant..on one side.. pinch up high ... and on the other.. pinch down low.. and report back in 6 weeks which process looks better...

most of us learned just by experimenting ...

good luck

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 11:03AM
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greengrower2007(zone 6)

thanks everyone for the tips! last year, the bees did alot of planting for me! they put my coleus in every potted plant that i own! so i took them inside and potted them all together in one pot so i was able to continue a second generation of my coleus with help from the bees! However, they are still small and not really showing much progess, any idea why they are growing at such a slow rate? they stayed the same size from winter to now, being that i am affraid to fertilize(don't want to kill them)the weather in my zone is now nice so maybe just keeping them outside and getting sun and water they will take off it's the maybe that scares me! thanks again! i would love to hear any further thoughts on the subject.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 4:52PM
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Greengrower, I save some coleus over winter, plant some from seed and also have volunteers! The ones I save- pinch, pinch, pinch- they try to flower sooner. I plant the cuttings of all my favorites that aren't available from seed. The ones I sow don't try to flower til later and I LET them, I love the spiky flowers and the bees they attract. I have saved seed from coleus and had some really funky crosses- some really cool and some downright ugly since they don't come true. I always think maybe I'll get a really beautiful one and it'll be my own cross. Yours might be rather crowded in your community pot and might also desire more light. Maybe you can move them outside and they'll grow.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 3:06AM
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