I love Coleus in my garden. I love all kinds of coleus.
In fact, there are just as many now for the sun as well as for the shade. There are so many different types of coleus on the market now, there’s got to be one for everyone’s taste.
It is actually one of the easiest annuals that we can grow in our gardens along the Gulf Coast. Oddly enough it is actually a tender perennial by definition.
But, unless you go to the trouble of propagating cuttings in November (before the first actual frost), we normally treat them as annuals.
Because it is such a fast grower, you can actually take cuttings all summer long. If you want to learn more about propagation made easy, click here.
10 years ago, coleus was almost always a “shade- loving” annual, but thanks to advancements in hybrids, there are many varieties of “sun-loving”
coleus on the market. And for the ones that thrive in sun, they should say Sun Coleus somewhere on the label.
The main tip I hope you go away with today is that Coleus (sun or shade loving) need to be pinched back continuously to enhance their growth. Letting the
plant go to seed, or form those tiny little lavender flowers, will shorten the life of the plant. Pinching back these seed heads is exactly what the phrase says:
Pinching with the fingers to remove the tip of a growing shoot to encourage lateral growth.
One of the newest hybridizations to come along with Coleus is the massive leaf variety known as Kong Coleus. These are for the shade, but you have got to see the size of the leaf and the spreading growth habit to believe this plant. It is awesome.
Beside caladiums (which also has specific varieties for the sun and shade), I can’t think of any easier plant to grow this summer that will give you a unique splash of color that doesn’t entail the use of typical flats of flowers.
In almost all cases (whether for sun or for shade),
remember that coleus need to be planted in a bed
with very good drainage. This may be why you see them excel in large containers consistently. Coleus also tend to feed on just about everything. I have used Nelson’s Color Star as a food for coleus for years with great success. But I’ve heard success stories with Medina Hasta Gro, Miracle Gro and sprinklings of left over lawn food. (3-1-2/4-1-2
formulations) But for ultimate growth, just remember any time you see a coleus go to flower/seed, pinch it back so that you get bigger and better lateral growth.
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
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