As much as I hate to think of it, fall and the first frost will be here soon in Chicago. I've got LOTS of coleus, both in the ground and a good number of rooted pinches. I am going to try to overwinter them.
The smaller plants and rooted pinches will go in the house and in the basement under lights. For the tall stands of coleus in the garden, I'm going to try again what was looking very promising last year:
I cut all my coleus to the ground just before the first frost. I then took the tall stems-some were 24"-stripped off the bottom leaves, and made huge bouquets in several vases. They were gorgeous in vases, and it became apparent that they would stay beautiful as long as I kept water in the vases, and they would also root. There was some minor leaf drop, nothing drastic. I added water, and periodically trimmed off the rooty bottoms, since they were in clear glass vases and it wasnt very attractive. I decided I'd keep it up until spring, when I'd trim them to 4 inches and root them one last time and plant. Things were going well until I left town for a couple weeks in January, whereupon the man in the house decided they'd been around long enough and threw them out. Aaaargggghhh.
But it'll work, especially down South where the winter's a lot shorter. Plus, all those beautiful vases...looking forward to doing this again.