can coleus be as perennial if indoors?

chueh(7B)June 11, 2008

Coleus is classified as annual. It's so pretty, and it's a shameful that it only lives for a short time. If I want to keep it longer, should I keep it indoors? Will keeping it indoors prolong its life?

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omniphasic(9 Ca)

You can prolong the plants life if you bring it indoors during the winter,but keep in mind during that time we usually run the heater,and it could damage the plant.
If you decide to try it,I'd recommend having it near a bright window,and make sure no vent of hot air is blowing on it.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 12:01AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


Coleus grow well under fluorescent lights, and also root readily from cuttings, so under those circumstances you could grow a coleus specimen indefinitely. They will flower and eventually go to seed, so you would need to pinch the flower spikes as they form.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 1:15AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

In truth, coleus is a perennial plant though it is typically grown as an annual. Inside, it will need ample light and regular clipping to keep it in the juvenile state.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 9:27AM
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I came across a variety that is grown vegatatively (not from seed as far as I know) and I liked it so much I've kept it over the past 2 winters to grow outside in containers for the summer. I take several cuttings in the late summer, and those are my winter plants. I try to keep them small by pinching, or starting a new plant mid winter, so that by spring I have a bushy plant from which to take multiple cuttings (they grow so fast).

My plant is not grown inside to be a pretty speciman plant, although visitors comment that it is pretty, but the colour is not as true (or attractive to me) because even being in a full south exposure window, the lighting isn't enough of what it needs. But it works for me that way, especially since last spring when I shopped around I never came across this variety. This spring I did, and if I felt I could find it easily each year then maybe I wouldn't keep it over the winter.

This spring I found another one I am in love with (Peter's Wonder) and I know I will try to keep this one over this winter also for myself, since there is no guarantee the one garden center I found it at will bring it in again.

Hope that answers your question.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 11:17AM
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At first i saw coleus with full sun exposure in a garden at a local university agricultural department. I googled it to see the fact sheet. It says that it is a partial shade plant. As i read all of your answers here, you were all mentioning about keeping it outdoors in summer. Both you and the university gardeners are pretty much in agreement. Why does the fact sheet say that it's a shady plant?

Thank you for all your answers, but now I have more questions. long as I keep cutting it, maintaining it smaller enough, bringing it indoors in winter without direct heat source blowing to it, and keeping pinching the spent flowers to prevent going to seed, I will keep the plant longer?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 4:38PM
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I used to have coleus plants inside many years ago. Where I used to live, I had nice big windows facing the south. They loved it there. I would put them in the window sill during the warm months. In winter they got plenty of sun. Pinching the tips kept it full. Can't remember what happened to it, but I had it for years.
There are coleus that don't do well in full sun or even afternoon sun. Their leaves can burn. I've grown coleus in full sun, including the afternoon sun, and shady areas. The ones I had did well in both places as long as they were mulched and watered well. The ones I've had in shady areas looked great, but didn't get as big as the ones that got more sun. They are a great plant to brighten up a shady spot.
Btw, when you bring yours inside for the winter, they may lose some leaves and color. Try to put it near a window where it can get good light.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 2:33AM
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Chueh, I think it makes a difference as to whether you keep over a coleus started from seed or one that is done by the growers vegetatively (cuttings). The ones grown from seed in one season usually are smaller in overall size, and seem to want to produce their flowers earlier than the vegetative ones. Also, they are now hybridizing to make the coleus more sun forgiving.

Traditionally I'd read that coleus were strictly shade, and would wilt in strong sun, now many of the newer ones, when properply hardened off, can do some time in the hot afternoon sun. I spied one type (black dragon or dragon's blood or something like that) growing in a position that received full sun all day, and it looked great). Mine don't get that much sun outside, just a couple of hours around the noon hour (which is hot) but they grow better outside because even though they are in shade most of the day, the light would be stronger than the short bit they receive at my south window during the winter months.

Have fun, and enjoy the varieties you pick out.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 10:22AM
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I kept forgetting uploading an image of my coleus. Can anyone tell me what kind of coleus am I having? Is it the sun or shade loving of coleus? Thanks again

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 1:18PM
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Chueh, where are you located? That's a big thing. If you're in the southern states, I would plant coleus where they get morning sun only. The sun is much more intense and burns them easier. And also, how much sun are you talking about? I have some called (I think) Black Dragon. Kioni, I'm sure it's the one you're talking about. This one gets sun from 8am until 4 pm and it does great, as long as it's watered well. Sometimes these will get a little limp, but an hour or so after it gets shade it'll perk up. Then I know it's just conserving water, that's why it gets limp. If it stays limp after an hour or so in the shade, then it needs water. If you want the one in the pic in the sun, put it out for only a couple of hours in the morning sun. Gradually let it get more sun and see how it does. It sure is a beauty!
Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 5:29AM
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Kat, I am in zone 7b. My husband thought this coleus very pretty, so he got it for me from kroger. He buys me plants from time to time from kroger (since it's next door from where he works). Usually, the quality of plants kroger carries is not excellent but ok. I think that this time he got me a very healthy one. I do want to see it being healthy as long as I have it. I will try let it sit in the morning sun for a couple of hours as you suggested, and see what's going on. Thank you all very much for your answers and input. They are all very helpful

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 10:43AM
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It's possible you have Florida Sun Jade. I saw a plant that looks like yours at a grocery store with that name on its tag. But the picture on the tag didn't look the same, maybe because it got more sun.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 5:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i found that i could NOT grow a plant all winter .... under lights ...

but i can make it survive ...

the mother plant will eventually get leggy and ugly ... but when it is within weeks of me wanting to kill it.. i take a few cuttings ... and when they root.. and have had a week to prove they appreciated the potting.. i get rid of the ugly one.. and continue the cycle ...

it is one of the easiest plants to propagate ... and as winter starts to fade.. root a couple hundred extra ..... trying to time it so they go straight outdoors after frost freeze if there is such in GA ...

the same can be done with begonia.. impatiens .... anything that roots easily in water ....

just figure out how to sterilize the plant and the potting media.. before you bring in a bunch of bugs that will drive you insane in winter in the house.. gnats... etc ...


    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:02AM
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