Coleus Seedlings, some confusion

ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)January 20, 2010

Hi there! I've started some Coleus (Wizard Mix) seeds. I believe I started them about 2 weeks ago and have many seedlings! :D I think I might have too many seedlings per clump of soil....I hope this won't cause problems.

They are still very small, as they will continue to be until there are logner days and more light for them.

I'm new to coleus but thought they would look nice in my small backyard/patio. I get afternoon light on one part and direct sunlight at about 3-6. This will change once spring is here. There is a big tree that will soon be lush with leaves shading more of my patio.

As I searched the forum I soon became confused about coleus seeds and the plant in general. Some people said that growing from seed will produce small and less colorful plants. Some said that their seed experience produced rahter large plants. Some people used fertilizer while the plants were still seedlings and found growth spurts within a couple of days.

So heres my question....What should I do? Fertilize them a little (delute even more than normal) and put under a lamp for more light (24/7)? I plan on having them as houseplants until I am able to move them out to different containers.

Our temps in TX this week have been in the low 70's and 50's at night. :D Very pleasent but this is really giving me the ich to plant. Guess thats why I sowed the coleus seeds.

If anyone knows of a website that would be informative that would be great. I've spent most of my day trying to find information that I can use but have found little.

Thanks for the help

Ashley

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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Ashley!

I myself have never grown these from seed. So hopefully someone will come along with more help.

What I did want to say is they will need thinned to one plant per peat pellet when they get a little bigger.

The best way to do it is with a small pair of sissors and cut all the extra off at the soil. If you pull them you run the risk of damaging the roots on the one you want to keep.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:43PM
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justaguy2(5)

Your seedlings are going to need to be transplanted soon. It's fine to crowd just germinated seedlings, but after that they each will compete to the death with anything else (including their own kind) for water, nutrients and light.

As a rule, the first leaves to form are 'seed leaves' and at this stage plants do not need fertilizer as they have what they need within the material from the seed. Once they show the second leaf/set of leaves they absolutely require nutrients as they have exhausted what was in the seed. Still, they are babies and do not require the nutrient load adult plants require. A 1/10th solution of an 'all purpose' fertilizer such as any fertilizer where the 3 numbers conform to a 3:1:2 or even 1:1:1 ratio will do them just fine.

As far as growing from seed producing smaller, less colorful plants, that's not true for coleus. Your Wizard Mix (I tried it one year) will produce some very nice variations in color and their size is purely genetics combined with growing conditions. Having said that, if you end up with a plant you find particularly beautiful and wish to propagate it, literally for life, then post about that here and you will get the help you need.

Coleus are absolutely incredible plants. They can take some sun as well as some shade and they can even be adpated to house plants for a time. They can be grown au natural or pinched back heavily to form mini shrubs or even trained to a standard 'tree like appearance' or even dabbled with for bonsai. On top of all this versatility they are colorful even with low light.

Very good plant to play 'mad scientist' with.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:54PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Hey jojo! I'll have to be real careful with the seedlinsg, I have some spruce seeds that sprouted (8) and when I transplante them only 3 have survived.:( I hope they make it!

Would I be able to cut the thin net around the pellet and pull apart the seedlings to seperate them or would my best route be to just trim all but one per pellet as you suggested?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:57PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Ashley!

I have never had any luck transplanting seedlings from a peat pellet. IMO it's just not worth the trouble. The whole idea is to just plant the whole pellet when the roots come out the bottom.

You could try one or two and see how it goes.

I just thin out to one per pellet.

Good luck!
I love coleus! As justaguy says, a very fun plant!

JoJo

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:06PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Thanks justaguy! Thats just what I wanted to hear, well not about them competing against each other to the death haha! :D How soon would you suggest to transplant? I had them in a little green house (the case the pellets are in with a plastic top to cover and keep moister). I took the top off yesterday because I don't want them to stay too wet and start to grow mold. Was this right? or should the top be back on until I see the 2nd leaves growing?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:08PM
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justaguy2(5)

Ashley, whatever you do or don't do, make sure you cut that netting. That netting is not biodegradable and has been known to cause roots to circle and strangle themselves even after they are planted in the ground. At the end of the season you can dig up your plant and the netting is good as new, unfortunately.

If you can simply use a small scissors and snip off all but one plant per cell that's the easiest. If this won't provide you with enough plants then certainly you can remove the net, soak the peat so it loosens easily and gently separate the plants and pot them up in something else. If you will be separating them, it's fine to do it now, or as soon as they sprout. In fact it's desirable to do it sooner rather than later since you will not be destroying roots if you do it now. If you wait you will find it near impossible to avoid tearing roots. This is OK, but it forces the plant to expend energy making more.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:08PM
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justaguy2(5)

Ashley, the dome covers are very useful in retaining moisture to aid germination, but after germination they are only useful in growing mold ;) Remove them as soon as germination starts taking place to avoid any fungal related problems.

It can be very beneficial to have a fan -gently- blowing on the seedlings after germination as it helps give the stem a workout so it grows sturdy. Outside this would occur naturally, but indoors it won't without a fan to make the breeze. It also helps to quickly dry out plants and the surface of the potting mix to prevent harmful pathogens such as the nasties responsible for damping off from thriving.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:15PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Thank you Justaguy and Jojo! I'll definitley follow up and update the growth of the seedlings! I hope I get lots of different colors!

Ashley

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:47PM
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calistoga_al

I grew over 300 Coleus from seed last year without losing one. Follow justaguys advice and you won't either. Al

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 11:10AM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Hello all! :)

Here are my seedlings as of this morning. Its cloudy and rainy today so they look a little washed out. I replanted them about 3 weeks ago, and will need to replant again here pretty soon. Any suggestions on pot size and how many seedlings per pot?

I know some seedlings need to be trimmed. Once they grow the 2nd pair of leaves, those are to be cut so that the plant stem can thicken and new growth begins. Does this go for the coleus as well?

Where would I cut on this particualr one? Above the bottom leaves but below the upper 2?

Thanks for the help!

Ashley

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 12:07PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Ashley!
I don't know much about Coleus, but I do know most herbs suggest tip pinching when the plant is about 6" tall.

Those coleus seem way to little to start pinching. If it were me, I'd wait till about 6"...

Hopefuly someone who knows more will come along and help us both learn...:)

Have a good one! I will write later!! ;)

JoJo

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 12:27PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

O.K. my couriosity got the better of me and I did a google using.... "growing coleus from seed" it says pinch top two when 4-6 have formed...:)

Here you go kiddo... :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing coleus from seed.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:12PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Thanks JoJo! I'll read up on this when I get back from luch! :)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:20PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I hope you ate lunch...LOL~
JoJo

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 5:26PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

haha! I did but....

I was able to make it to big lots where I got a very long but narrow plastic pot...umm I'd say its definitely at least 48" long. I'm hoping to use this for my bulbs. I also got freesai bulbs (which I don't think I can plant til the end of summer) and some other bulbs, can't remember right now..fire something or other haha.

I was also able to find 2 small bamboo boxes that, I think, will work great with my jades and gritty mix. Now only to find the ingredients....I seem to keep saying I'll buy them but I just don't get around to doing it. :/

Talk to you later JoJo!

Ash

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 6:21PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Hi!

Here is an update on my coleus.
I haven't pitched them or pruned them yet. I'm not sure how much longer I should wait?....

I've replanted them with my brugmansia, to provide some shade and to allow for more growth space for each seedling. :) Also planted a few with my smaller brugmansia and some in with my freshia bulbs. I don't have photos of all of them yet...but I'll keep posting progress. The photos don't do show the wonderful colors the coleus seedlings are! Deep maroon, bright green...wonderful!


Its amazing to see the progress these seedlings have made. These were actually my first success at seeds, of any kind! :)

Thanks for looking!
Ashley

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 4:49PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Good job, Ash! Pinch the centers out now for bushier plants.

Al

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 7:35PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Ashley,
They look great! :)

I really like the one by your pinky.. neat color..

I cheated and bought a plant this weekend..LOL!

JoJo

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 9:19PM
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calistoga_al

I have seeds for about 6 different Coleus. I start them in recycled four inch plastic pots. I get from twenty to fifty plants from each pot. I repot them each to its own cell in recycled sixpacks. Next they go into their own four inch pot. By now they are big enough to start pinching them back. When well rooted in the four inch pot they are potted up to one gallon size. Many Coleus are prone to mold problems, so I am careful to not crowd them too close together. The best source for Coleus seeds I have found is Hazzard Wholesale Seed, where I buy in 1000 seed packets. The seed is good for several years if properly stored. Al

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 7:04AM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Thanks Al! I'll pinch them tonight when I get home from work.

Hey JoJo! Sheesh, I've been so busy and time just keeps flying! I'll get those AV leaves out to you soon! I really like the one by my pinky too, such contrast between the white and bright green. What color coleus did you pick up?

Wow Al, 1000 seed packs! These seeds are so tiny! I got mine from a wizard mix so I don't know the types of coleus. Guess I should do research and find out! :)

Ashley

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 6:30PM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Ok...one more photo only because the sun made these coleus pop! The colors are gorgeous!

Thanks for looking! :)
Ashley

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 3:08PM
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cobble_b

When i was a kid, I picked up a small coleus plant that had fell out of a pot at the local K-mart. the small coleus was about 2 inches tall, and bare-root. The broken pot was still on the ground beside it. I guess you can say i stole it or rescued it, but none the less I took it home, found a cup, placed some soil and a little water in it, and it grew to almost three feet tall. _ I found they transplant easily... next time, try taking out small plants and re-potting them... as long as you are careful, it will probably be a success.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 9:56PM
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ladybugz115

I have a question about how long to leave a cover over my new coleus seedlings. My coleus began sprouting 3 days after planting. How long should I leave the cover over them?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 11:27PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Why did you use a cover at all? I'd get the cover off in 1 or 2 stages asap - while the foliage is still very near the soil where the air will be quite humid.

Al

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 9:58AM
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nopets(6)

This is the Coleus after 3 days, I hope this means that I will have some plants before too long, I took the plastic off because they had germinated. The one in the window has not germinated yet, when it does I will take that plastic off too. All the green you see are the seedlings coming up already!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:45PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Sweet success - strong work! Remember damp is good and wet soggy (soil) isn't. Keep us posted as you go.

Al

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 4:15PM
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Fsunole10

Hi All,

My coleus seedlings germinated a little over two weeks ago but haven't started to get their first set of "true" leaves. Does anyone know how long this normally takes? My basil seedlings started to get their true leaves right after they sprouted.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 1:30PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Cultural conditions have a significant impact on growth rate. New seedlings need a favorable ratio of water to air in the soil, and the right light and temperature to realize their genetic potential. A common problem is a soil that holds too much water or is kept too wet. Seedlings like a damp, never wet or soggy soil with plenty of air in the medium to ensure good root health.

A plants health starts with the roots, so w/o a healthy root system, a healthy plant isn't possible. Start fertilizing when the first true leaves are conspicuous.

Al

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 4:08PM
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nopets(6)

I have two pots of Coleus and here is the better one, how long before they get any color?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 8:26PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You'll probably see color when they put on the first pair of true leaves, Scroll upthread for examples of color on young seedlings for an idea of what to expect.

Al

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 9:40PM
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