Sunday, August 23, 2009

Growing coleus

Coleus is a beautiful plant, a tiny specimen of which grows up rather quickly to fill up a pot. Humid conditions are most helpful. It needs a lot of direct sunlight but all coleus are tender and cannot survive peak summers or frosty winters. Partial shade in such conditions would prevent stunted growth, leaf damage, burning and discoloration.

A single coleus plant could be planted in a small pot, or 3-4 different types could be planted together in a larger pot for dramatic presentation. The soil mix should be of good quality, airy, and well-drained. A combination of garden soil, peat moss, sand and compost is recommended. Daily watering may be necessary to keep the soil evenly moist and do not allow the soil to dry out. Watering is best done in the early morning so the leaves have time to dry before the sun hits them. Use a fertilizer conservatively as long as the soil nutrients are intact. Pinch off the tips of the plant frequently to encourage the plant to branch and look bushy. Some coleus plants will bloom, and the blooms may be pinched off too. All coleus are grown from seeds and cuttings. Early autumn and spring are a good time to raise these plants. Cuttings can be either planted directly into soil or left in clean water, partial shade for 2-3 weeks until roots appear (see pictures)

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