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Depending on where you live, you may refer to them as painted nettle or poor man’s croton, but for most of us, they are simply known as coleus plants (Coleus blumei).
Foliage colors range from green, yellow, red, maroon, and pink to a variety of other hues.
Coleus leaves come in a wide range of sizes and forms, too. As a result, there is coleus to suit any need, no matter what the location.
These flowers can brighten up even the gloomiest areas of the yard (or house).
Growing Coleus Plants
To grow and propagate Coleus, it’s undoubtedly one of the most straightforward plants.
You can even start cuttings in a glass of water because the plants are so easy to root.
They can also be grown from seed indoors eight to ten weeks before the last estimated spring frost date if you so choose.
Coleus can be cultivated in containers or in beds and borders for added appeal.
For optimal results, they require healthy, well-draining soil and prefer moderate shade, while some kinds can handle full sun.
Keep in mind that coleus is a fast-growing plant when cultivating it.
When used as bedding plants, coleus can be planted closely together or tucked into baskets and containers for a quick and eye-catching accent.
Care for Coleus Plant
It’s equally as simple to care for coleus. Coleus, especially newly planted ones, need to be kept moist at all times.
As a result, container plants need more watering than those cultivated in the garden.
The plants can benefit from a spring or summer boost of half-strength liquid fertilizer, but this isn’t necessary.
If you don’t want to see their spiky blossoms in the summer, simply cut them off.
To encourage bushier growth, pinch the young branches of coleus plants.
As these plants, which are considered sensitive annuals, are very susceptible to cold temperatures, overwintering their care is also an important consideration.
In order to keep them alive, they must either be replanted in containers and taken indoors for the winter or cultivated from cuttings to create new plants.
How to Grow Coleus From Seed
Almost all of the modern coleus types available for purchase at nurseries are crossbreeds created from seed, but you may still get seeds for a wide range of species.
Coleus seeds should be started within eight to ten weeks before your last frost date if you wish to grow them in the garden.
From seed, coleus is a simple plant to grow. Be patient, since it can take up to 21 days for the seeds to sprout.
Warm weather is needed for three or four weeks after seedlings appear to help them grow into mature plants.
Spread a thin layer of seeds on a tray filled with potting soil, and then top with a little dusting of soil.
Place the dish in a sunny, warm location until the seedlings appear, which should take around two weeks.
Removing the plastic from the seedlings and keeping the soil moist is the best way to keep them growing.
Transplant the seedlings into their own pots when they have two sets of true leaves and continue to grow them until they are ready for outdoor planting.
Before putting seedlings in the garden, make sure to harden them off.
Potting and Repotting Coleus
Start with a large pot that the plant can expand into if you want to grow coleus in a container because it grows so quickly.
Coleus is commonly used as a “thriller” plant in mixed container plantings, surrounded by “fillers” and “spillers” in the surrounding area.
Overwintering container plants may be transferred indoors in cooler regions.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
Coleus is a favorite food of both groundhogs and baby rabbits.
If you can prevent pests from attacking your plants early in the season, they are likely to move on to other plants by the middle of the summer.
Mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, and slugs are all pests to watch out for.
If the weather is chilly and wet, Coleus is unlikely to be affected by illness. It is likely that mildew or other fungal illnesses will manifest themselves as a result.
Standing water can promote fungal root rot and stem rot, so make sure the plant has excellent drainage.