Coleus is sometimes called “poor man’s croton” because of the similarity with croton in terms of brightness and color gamut. In terms of color, it may even surpass Croton, but it costs much less. You can, of course, buy a ready-made plant, although Coleus is very easily grown from cuttings or seeds. Compared to the capricious Croton, it has another advantage: the Coleus is very unpretentious. Our publication will tell you about the peculiarities of growing and reproduction of this ornamental plant.
Coleus Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Sappho Charney
Coleus – a short description of the plant
Kolues, Latin name – Coleus, folk – “nettles”. Coleus is a genus of perennial evergreens of the labiate family, uniting about 150 species of dwarf shrubs and grasses.
Coleus is native to tropical Africa and Asia. It is a bushy plant up to 35 cm tall with quadrangular succulent, almost transparent stems and velvety leaves with rich colors and serrated edges. Most forms have nettle-like leaves. The main attraction of the plant is its leaves, variegated, with a varied combination of red, yellow, green, brown colors, spots and stripes. Coleus blooms, throwing up a panicle with small nondescript flowers.
Requirements for growing and caring for Coleus
Location and lighting: in sunlight, the color of the coleus becomes even brighter, but it must be protected from direct sunlight. The optimum temperature in summer is 18 ° С, in winter – not lower than 12 ° С, since in cooler rooms the plant can shed its leaves. In the summer, Coleus is taken out into the fresh air.
Varieties of Coleus with bright (for example, red, white and almost white) leaves are better able to tolerate direct sunlight than varieties with a green leaf color. Plants are suitable for growing near windows of southern, western and eastern exposure.
In spring and summer, there may be a loss of color (fading) and turgor in the leaves, associated with excessive exposure to sunlight. For this reason, plants should be shaded from the midday sun. In addition, coleus are gradually taught to direct sunlight in order to avoid sunburn.
Watering: water the Coleus from spring to autumn abundantly, with soft, settled slightly warm water, as the upper layer of the substrate dries. If the tap water is hard, then rainwater should be used. In winter, watering is moderate, but it is not necessary to allow the clod of earth to dry out. Coleus react very sharply to the lack of moisture in the soil – the leaves become flabby. When kept cool (14-16 ° C or below), plants are watered only occasionally.
Air humidity: for the normal existence of plants in indoor conditions, it should be high, it is recommended to regularly spray the leaves of the coleus with settled soft water at room temperature. In winter, Coleus are in a state of relative dormancy and hardly grow. It is best to keep them in the kitchen, as in the warmest room with more or less high humidity.
Transfer: Coleus is transplanted in the spring after trimming the stems.
The soil: Recommended potting mix: Coleus is not picky about the soil, any nutrient mix will do. In the spring-summer period (during the period of intensive growth), fertilizing with organic or mineral fertilizers is useful, preferably potash (0,3-0,5 g per 1 liter of water) once a week. In winter, the concentration of the solution is reduced by half, fertilized once every 1-3 weeks.
Flowering in Coleus is not very decorative: small inconspicuous flowers with a two-lipped corolla with a blue-violet upper and whitish lower lip are collected in complex ears. The formation of flowers takes a lot of energy from the plant, because of which the leaves become smaller, so it is better to remove the buds.
To enhance bushiness, it is recommended to pinch the apical shoots of Coleus. In February, the coleus should be cut into a stump, leaving 5-8 eyes for a new growth.
If the coleus is grown as an annual, it is not transplanted. In other cases, overgrown plants are transplanted once every 1-2 years. Substrate for transplantation is taken slightly acidic or neutral (pH 3-6). A mixture of sod, deciduous and humus soil, sand and peat in a ratio of 7: 4: 4: 2: 1 is suitable. Good drainage is essential at the bottom of the pot.
Reproduction of Coleus
Coleus are propagated by seeds and, mainly, cuttings, in order to avoid splitting and loss of decorativeness of the leaves.
Coleus seeds are small (1 pcs per 3500 g), they are sown in February-March-April in bowls and sprinkled with sand on top. They are kept at a temperature of 20-22 ° C. Seedlings appear on the 14-18th day. Seedlings dive into bowls or boxes at a distance of 2 × 2 cm.The composition of the soil is as follows: leaf – 1 hour, peat – 1 hour, turf – 1 hour, sand – 1 hour.
In the phase of 1-2 pairs of leaves, coleus are planted in 7-cm pots, 1 piece each. The composition of the earth is the same. After a month, they are transferred into 9-11 cm pots. The main care of plants consists in watering, keeping them in a lighted place, since the intensity of the color of the leaves largely depends on the lighting (sunlight). Young plants are pinched for branching purposes. After 5-6 months, plants become significant for interior decoration.
Plants are started by cuttings in February, but this can be done until May. Coleus cuttings are planted in distribution boxes or directly on the rack, in the sand. Rooting occurs within 8-12 days. Rooted cuttings are planted in 9 cm pots. The composition of the ground is the same as for the pick. In order to obtain branched plants, pinch the top of the shoots.
In caring for plants, watering, airing, temperature 16-18 ° C, light, moderately sunny, location is provided (with significant solar insolation, curling of the edges of the plate is observed and discoloration of the leaf color at high temperatures at night and low during the day). Coleus are distinguished by intensive growth – within 3 months they are branched plants with large leaves. Then transfer to 11-centimeter pots is done.
Diseases and pests of Coleus
If the plant is young, lack of light and untimely pinching lead to exposure of the stems from below. For adult plants, this is a natural phenomenon. In too bright light, discoloration of the Coleus foliage occurs. With insufficient watering, especially in summer, leaves may fall off. With excess water, the leaves can also fall off. With a lack of light, the plants stretch out. Damaged by spider mites, aphids, whiteflies.
As you can see, growing Coleus is not at all difficult, and its decorativeness can delight you not only in the house, but also in the garden, because in summer this houseplant feels great in the fresh air.