Coleus propagation under lights

docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)October 9, 2012

I brought my coleus in for the winter and took a bunch of cuttings and placed them in moist soil. I did the same thing earlier in the summer and had great success getting them to root. However, now I'm doing the same thing indoors. I have a beautiful light stand set up that I got myself for Christmas a few years ago, but I don't know much about using it. I know coleus are generally shade plants, so how do I know how much light they need or what temperature to keep them at, or how humid they need to be? The light stand does have a plastic tent over it. Right now I have the lights about 2 inches above the tops of the cuttings and the timer is set for 8 hours each day.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Am I on the right track? I'm just hoping to have plants remaining by next spring to plant back outside. TIA.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the 8 hours is probably a bit light..

i would go upwards of 16 hours ..

the 2 inches is great ...

even with such.. they will bolt ... getting tall and scraggly ...

what i ended up doing.. was about every 30 or 45 days.. i started a new batch.. and once they rooted ... i threw out the older ones ...

sterilize your media ... see link ..

as well as all tools and trays.. etc.. 10% bleach ...

there is nothing worse than a gnat infestation in jan/feb

when i did coleus.. i also started some impatiens seed ... about 4 months too early.. lol .. you can also start some annual seed come april or so..

i used dollar store alum. 8 inch cake pans for the rooting ... and poked drain holes in the bottom ...

and the real key there.. is to take the last rooting about 30 days prior to last frost .. which for me in adrian MI is 6/1 ... so that you have fresh young plants ready to put outdoors ... not a tray of tangled roots wherein you nearly kill the things.. trying to untangle the mess at planting ...

just get it in your head.. clearly.. that your goal.. is something like 6 plant-able plants at planting time [of each variety???] ... IT IS NOT TO HAVE 40 MILLION CUTTING IN JUNE.. lol ...[that was my biggest mistake.. the first year.. lol] .. OMG.. they were all my babes.. and God forbid i kill one ... lol ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:50AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Thank-you so much, Ken. That was exactly the information I was hoping for. I"ll try to follow your advice to keep the numbers at a reasonable level. LOL

Hope everyone is enjoying the cooler temps and gorgeous colors.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:32PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

just never forget ... brightness.. has nothing to do with intensity ...

the intensity of the sun.. even in deep shade.. is multiples of a lightbulb or 2.. or 4 ...

and that is why they need to be so close..

even for a shade plant ...

BTW ... the cheap fluorescent bulbs are just as good as the expensive 'designer' bulbs .. IMHO ... but they weaken .. and should be replaced every year or two ... depending how many are in the light bank ....

the other issue .. is the ambient humidity of a forced air furnace house.. in a cold zone house ... no outdoor plant .. will be really happy with 20 to 30% humidity all winter long ... you may have to deal with such ... especially if the plant stand is near a register/vent

you may also have to consider .. how low your heat goes at night ... if your thermostat kicks the heat way down at night ... but that might not be a bad thing ... if you want them to grow slower.. but it might hurt rooting .... rooting is usually best with soil maintained near 70 degrees ... speaking VERY generally ...


    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 7:34AM
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I agree with the other poster. They need more light. Lights do not have the same intensity that the sun does.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Considering the importance of light to growing, I am surprised how few gardeners purchase a light meter. For $25 you can buy a dual range light meter that will last forever and solve your doubts about "Am I getting enough light?". Al

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 9:48AM
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