Thursday, April 18, 2013

Growing Tips for Coleus

Gardeners grow coleus plants for their beautiful foliage.  The oval single or variegated leaves of this annual are what make this plant stand out in your shade garden.   

I grow coleus as a border plant along my garden path and in my Hosta garden. I also grow them in containers.  Coleusplants come in a variety of colors; purple, green, brown, red, chartreuse, magenta pink, orange and yellow to name a few of the brilliant colors that are available. 

When you grow coleus plants you will add eye appealing color and interest to your shade gardens that looks beautiful until fall frost.

Here is a postcard that I designed from photograph of coleus garden that grows next to the garden  path.

Grow coleus from seed, cutting or transplant into your garden from nursery grown pot.  If you plan on growing from seed then start indoors by planting 3 seeds for 1 plant.  

Grow the seed in the center of the seed growing kit.  Plant indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date.  Seeds need light to germinate; I have found that the indirect light of an artificial grow light is a good way to grow coleus seeds indoors. 

I set the grow kits off to the side of the light.  Seeds germinate in 21 days.   Transplant outdoors after the threat of spring frost has passed and soil has warmed.  

Choose a garden that gets partial shade throughout the day.  You can grow coleus in the ground or plant in containers.  For best growing results plant coleus in well drained soil that is amended with compost or manure.  For containers grow in Miracle grow potting soil.  Make sure the containers have good drainage. 

Plant coleus in soil that is loose.  If there are clumps of soil then break it up with shovel or by hand. Amend the soil with compost or manure and plant a nursery grown plant at the same depth as the container that it was grown in.   Feed with water based fertilizer after planting coleus, for best results feed every two weeks.

For multiple plants allow room to grow by spacing coleus one foot apart in the ground.  For containers or window box gardens you can grow plants closer.  When mature the plant will be 12 inches in height with that of the same spread.

Mulch the coleus garden beds with organic matter; chopped leaf matter, pine needles or chipped tree bark.  This organic mulch will aid in keeping the soil moist, deter weeds and will enrich the soil.

Other Tips

If your coleus plants leaves are wilting this is a sign of too much light. If there is not enough light then the leave color will fade. Getting the right exposure of light is imperative for the health of your coleus plant. 

For best results keep the soil evenly moist by not wet and avoid dry soil as it will put stress on the coleus plant.  Container plants dry out quickly and may need to be watered daily.   

Learn tips for pruning and history of coleus plant by viewing this YouTube video



No comments: