jodes87May 18, 2013

Can anyone help me? My daughter brought home this plant from school about 2 years ago, it was only a stem then and all she said was that it was an indoor plant. I have watered it regular like any other plant and amazingly for me it kept growing, I re potted it about 2 months ago and it has gotten huge. I searched the net and am sure it is a coleus but can find no information on them. My partner thinks I should cut off one of the branches but I'm not too sure. Also it has little bugs in the soil and I am sure they are springtails, they don't seem to be killing the plant but do I need to get rid of them? Any help would be much appreciated. This is the first plant that I have been successful in keeping alive. Thanks in advance - jodes

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Yes it is a coleus and a very pretty one at that !!! I agree with your partner, I would cut off the that one branch and root it in water and then add it back into the same pot or maybe repot one size up. I also cut off those stinky flowers, but thats just me... About your springtails which I've never heard of here in NY so I googled them and it said the soil is kept to wet, thats something you can correct, sometimes which is very bad I've let the soil get so dry my poor plant droops really bad. Hope this helps you a little..

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 3:14PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

yes please cut off those flowers. they sap energy and harm the plants health

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:24PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Definitely a Coleus, I'd say it's probably a Kong series. Beautiful! You can separate that branch, or repot it so the whole thing is more upright, like a Y-shape.

A couple of my fav Coleus discussions (and pics): 1, 2, 3.

Not sure what kind of search you're doing, but Coleus is one of the most babbled-about plants of all time. HTH with some info and reading material!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:28PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

The flowers do not sap the plants' energy, that's what the plants are made to do, throughout most of the year. If this plant were outside, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds would enjoy visiting these flowers. In no way is the plant in danger from its' own flowers. Inside, they do make kind of a mess when they turn brown and fall off.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 8:30PM
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If you cut that branch off, you can root it in soil. They root very easily. Maybe put both together in a larger pot. It looks great.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 9:17PM
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You can grow it as an indoor plant, but I'm in a warm climate and all of mine are outside most of the year. It is a tender perennial, meaning if it doesn't freeze it will live for years.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Last year I had this huge red critter in the front bed and it was just this massive shrub,right? So I somehow managed to keep a few cuttings alive over the winter and the most well rooted bunch got a last minute haircut and got plopped back in the old spot from last year. Over the winter they pretty much reverted back to mostly green with a bit of red in the middle of each leaf. Now I'm waiting for the new growth(which I assume will go back to the dark red from before)but it's pretty slow going and so far nothing has happened. At least they aren't burning up. Meanwhile the new cuttings are rooting on up and I guess I will likely put them out there too....assuming I can adjust them without frying them..

Overwintering indoors has never come easy for me with this plant. More times than not spring arrives and they will not have made it through. I got lucky this year. The sole survivor only made it because I'd kept it sealed up in a gallon sized olive jar. The others that had gone in a terrarium just disintegrated bit by bit til there was nothing left of them.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 9:45PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Most people keep the flowers pinched off as it helps promote axillary budding, keeping the coleus full and shrubby. You've done a fine job with this plant, jodes. I sure would like to see you learn how to take cuttings....coleus is very easy to root in a good potting mix.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 2:52PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

it is difficult to grow coleus indoors. i personally struggle with this plant indoors due to low sun

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:13PM
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Thanks to all that commented, your info helps a lot. My partner did say I could have been over watering it. Will definitely cut down watering and will cut off the other branch and repot, glad to hear they root as didn't want to cut it off and just throw it away. Rhizo_1 how do I take cuttings? I usually leave my partner to look after the plants but I'm so proud of myself for keeping this alive that I want to do it all :-) will have to post a pic when I've cut and repotted the other branch. Still unsure of cutting off the flowers off, my partner has a fly trap and he cuts off the flower for the same reason. Thanks again for everyone's help. I will one day be green fingered haha :-)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 11:32AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

There's a lengthy discussion about propagating Coleus in the link I included above, #2.

If it were my plant, I'd likely cut it near the blue line. Without being able to see the stem, it's hard to say for sure because the nodes are not visible. I'd want to leave the last node on the cut branch so new side branches can form there.

To turn it into a "new plant," remove all of the foliage from the lowest 2 (or more, depending on their distance from each other,) nodes. Do you intend to include the cutting in the same pot with the primary plant? If so, a knife or pencil can make a hole to insert the cut end. You could also put it in its' own pot of soil, or in water (submerging only the stripped nodes either way.) Doing it in water is fun the first time, IMO, since you get to see how fast it happens, giving you a more intimate understanding of your plant.

If you remove the flowers and/or the tip of a stem, the likely result will be bifurcation of the tip, likely resulting in a taller but possibly top-heavy stem. (This particular plant notwithstanding. It looks quite sturdy, unlike the cliché newly purchased 6-pack seedling.) If you remove the lowest leaves on a stem, the likely result is that most nodes where the leaves were removed should make 2 new branches, opposite each other. This would make a more shrubby-looking plant that is more sturdy.

Which one is preferable on a certain plant at any given time would be a case-by-case basis, depending on the overall current height, firmness of stems, but mostly the intended use and eventual appearance of the plant. Both appearances, tall and lanky, or short and shrubby, are perfectly desirable under different circumstances.

With the Kong type in particular, it seems to take a very long time to get back to really huge leaves when the original "set" are removed. Knowing that, coupled with the knowledge that I like that type primarily for its' large leaves, I would do any pinching very early if at all, then leave it alone to make the largest possible leaves. With a normal or mini-leaf type, shrubby is the preferred look almost every time, but with any type, height is a perfectly respectable goal. Not rules, just fairly reliable generalizations, IME.

What are you unsure of, regarding removing the flowers? If you like them, there's no reason to remove them.

If you take a tall, lanky plant and bend it horizontally, securing it that way somehow (espalier,) it will make a new tip (or 2) at every node. Anyone else playing with Coleus this way?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:48PM
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