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Coleus Care

One of the most commonly found plants are the coleus. They are widely used for landscaping. If you too are planning to plant coleus plants, you should go through this article on coleus care as it will tell you how exactly you should care for any coleus plant.
Coleus is not a name of a single plant, it refers to a genus of perennial plants which grow mainly in Asia, Africa, Australia and Philippines. The name coleus is derived from the Greek word 'koleos' which means sheath. There are about 150 plants belonging to the mint herb family. Coleus plants are very colorful and can be grown indoor as well as outdoors. You will find coleus mainly in burnished copper, pink, maroon, yellow, purple, white, green and crimson colors. Some varieties of coleus are also multi-colored. All the coleus leaves have scalloped edges, square stems and small aromatic flowers.

Coleus was a very popular foliage plant during the Victorian period, but after the Victorian, the popularity suddenly decreased. However, coleus plants again became popular in the 21st century. This was a little coleus plant information, though there are various species of coleus, almost every variety requires the same plant care. Let us now see how to take care of coleus plants.

Coleus Care Instructions

Coleus is an annual plant which can be grown from seeds as well as cuttings. Though rainy season is the ideal season for planting most of the plants, coleus plants should be planted during the summer season. These plants should be never planted in winter. The following coleus care instructions will tell you why.
  • Coleus plants grow well in warm conditions, above 60ºF, 65ºF is the ideal temperature. If temperature exceeds 65 degrees, place the plant on pot or tray covered with pebbles, this will help to increase the humidity.
  • Place the plant in bright light as it requires plenty of sunlight to grow well. However if the light is too harsh, move the plant to partial shade. The early morning sunlight is the best for coleus plants.
  • Use well-drained, slightly alkaline and medium fertile soil for growing coleus. You will need to water the plant abundantly during the first ten days as it is necessary to keep the soil moist during the initial period. After ten days, water the plant only when the top one-inch of the soil is dry, mostly after 3-5 days. Do not water until the top layer is dry.
  • Fertilize coleus regularly, every two months. Remember that coleus is sensitive to fertilizers and so opt for liquid fertilizers, and dilute the liquid fertilizer to halt strength. Natural fertilizers like cow manure and fish emulsion should be fed during the months of March to September, these natural fertilizers work wonders.
  • Coleus can be propagated either by sprinkling the seeds on the soil and pressing them gently in the soil. Do not cover the seeds as they need light to germinate. Mist the seeds if you are growing coleus directly in the garden. The other way of germinating coleus is to cutting root in plain water.
  • Cut the top shoot of the plant when the plant is 6 inch tall. Also remove the bluish flowers from each shoot so that the height is controlled and the plant becomes thick. Keep the plant indoor entirely during winter. Move outdoors only when the season of frost is over.
  • Coleus grows very rapidly. If you have planted it in a pot, see that the roots do not gather at the bottom of the pot. If they do, move the plant to a larger plant. The plant might need repotting after six months.
  • Coleus is not much prone to much diseases, however; mites, whitefly, aphids can occasionally effect coleus plants. To get rid of mites, spray cold water under the leaves in the early morning. You can get rid of whitefly by spraying the undersides of the coleus leave with Soap-Shield every 5 days for two weeks.
This was all about coleus care. Compared to other plants, coleus does not need extensive care. Regular watering, pruning and fertilization will assure bright, healthy coleus plants.
By Girija Shinde
Last Updated: 9/20/2011
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