Sunday, September 15, 2019

How I Am Propagating My Coleus This Year

Coleus smothering my Caladium at the moment.
Coleus was the 'it' plant a year ago at gardening conferences, their beautiful lush foliage, shade-loving nature and variety of colors make them the must have annual for many here in the Northeast. I buy them as fillers in pots around our home, this year I combined them with Caladiums in my a planter by our garage and the effect is gorgeous for the semi-shady area.  I hate to see our first frost kill these colorful plants so last year I cut a bunch and sat them in ball jars of water; however I didn't really know what I was doing.

First thing I did wrong? I left the long stemmed blooms on them when I brought them indoors to overwinter, they dried up and shed all over our guest room. I didn't change the water on a regular basis, and the roots also got mushy looking and the plants grew tall and stringy. Plus I cut and simply dunked the whole plant in the water, WRONG!

 This year I did more research on successfully propagating and discovered many a Youtube video offered up a golden nugget of advice, not offered on another video. So you're in luck! All the info is here in one blog post. Below is what I did after bingewatching a few vids. BTW with climate change I don't trust when Connecticut will get it's first frost, so today I headed out to the garden to snip a bunch.

Cut at the fourth node.

1. First thing, I went out and cut a bunch of my Coleus right under the fourth node. The nodes are little bumps on the stem where leaves, shoots, and branches spring forth. I cut on an angle right after the forth little bump or node

2. I grabbed some large white pails that my beekeeper friend gave me, filled them a quarter of the way, and stuck all of my coleus cuttings in two buckets.

3. At my work table I stripped the Coleus cuttings of all leaves except for a very few on the top, the xtra leaves drain the the plant of much needed energy to grow roots, so lop off those leaves!

Bucket of stripped Coleus leaves.
4. Because Coleus has tender stems, be careful plucking off the xtra leaves, you don't want to break the stems.

5. After all cuttings were shed of their extraneous leaves, I filled some vintage Ball jars with water, BE YE AWARE! Only two inches of water is needed, otherwise roots will sprout from the first top node, and that would make planting in soil awkward. Leave your cuttings by a window that gets indirect light. And check them for when they need another drink of water, heated rooms can suck up moisture.

6. Leave the cuttings in water until roots appear, most plant pundits said a week should do.

7. When roots appear, pot up a bunch of pots with potting soil, NOT Top soil mind you, you need the light fluffy potting soil for these tender cuttings. Poke a pencil in the soil then plant one cutting in the hole. Continue on with all your cuttings, then place again in a window with indirect light.

8. In late April or early May, harden your Coleus plants by placing them outside for a few hours to adjust to the temps. On Memorial Day, you're ready to plant them in a non-drafty area-a strong wind can break their stems.

And voila! Instant gratification to add to your outdoor pots or garden, and no need to run to the local nursery to drop more money on the counter to buy some.

No comments:

Post a Comment