leggy coleus

merrygardens(z5 MI)June 22, 2004

I took many coleus cuttings last summer, overwintered them sucessfully and have lots of coleus plants. A couple of the plants are leggy--nice foliage at the top and none below. What's the common wisdom on this--if I pinch it heavily, will the woody stems throw out new growth?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Yup, as long as the plant is reasonably healthy it will back-bud readily. I have a half dozen or so I grow as bonsai that are around five yrs. old, so I've done lots of experimenting with their bud/branch habits. Give 'em as much light as they'll take w/o burning the leaves.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 5:11PM
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Pinching will help but another way is to cut perhaps a fourth of the longer stems way back. After they have branched out, cut a few more tall stems way back. This way you have fresh new growth appearing at all levels. By the way, the cut branches make good additions to bouquets or just look good stuck in a bottle...and will of course root and then you can start new plants or share with friends.

I ordered about 12 Coleus from Singingspringsnursery.com this year and have had more fun playing around with them...so easy and colorful. I've almost decided I like the solid color leaves the best...there's almost black, deep burgundy, dark purple and a delightful crinkly chartreuse.

Any special hints for successful inside winter care? josh

    Bookmark   June 24, 2004 at 3:24PM
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Vera_EWASH(z5 EasternWA)

This is my first time with Coleus and I started several cuttings late winter and put out in garden when weather was warm enough...they grew great after I potted them up and were still indoors, but as soon as I put them out in the ground and some in containers they have just sat there barely hanging on! The ones in the ground are in partial sun in between a very large spearmint patch and a very large and tall Wild Bergamot (Bee Balm) plant...no names but 1 is the dark purple/green edge one and the others are the bright green/red veined ones. The ones in containers are the narrow frilly leafed green with red/purplish molting also located in between bigger plants to give dappled light.

How do you do it!


    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 3:22PM
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Vera, some of mine have 4-inch leaves and grow erect to 24 to 30 inches tall. Others grow as trailers with 1 to 2" leaves. Some are thriving in full hot GA sun ..others need full shade...I just move around until they seem comfy. All require almost daily watering here now as it hits nineties by midday. I just used potting soil..no fertilizer. Mine are all in pots.

I'd say maybe take cuttings and try in another location...some of the newer Coleus were selected for sun, whereas the older varieties mostly preferred shade (or so I've read).
I've enjoyed cutting "bouquets" for house...then when they root, I offer to visiting friends. My favorite new plant this year...well, except for a few Alternantheras which are equally colorful and easy to propagate.

Check out the Singing Springs site and see if you can identify yours...then maybe someone in your area can advise you. I know Coleus love hot weather.


Here is a link that might be useful: Singing Srings Nursery

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 12:24AM
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