Coleus from seed?

Diamond2014November 11, 2013

Anyone have experience in raising coleus from seed? I have flouresent lights set up in the basement and am trying to winter over some annuals from last year as well as start some seeds indoors. The lights are close to the wood stove, so the temps is very warm. Also plan to try sowing petunias, impatiens, and fibrous begonias. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Hi Diamond,

Well, I've never started coleus from seed. However, unless it's very different than most other plants, I would question the idea of growing the seedlings near a 'very warm' stove. Most seeds germinate well when the soil temperature is about 78 degrees F. But after germination do best when the air temperature is somewhere between about 62 and 70 degrees F.

Keeping the temperature low will cause the seedlings to grow slower and produce good sturdy plants. When the air temperature is a little too warm, the seedlings often tend to grow too fast. If that happens, it will be hard to provide enough light to balance that rapid growth and the result will be weak and leggy seedlings.

Just something for you to think about :-)


This post was edited by art33 on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 17:33

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 2:38AM
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Thanks, Art, I had considered that the heat might be a problem. I have raised a lot of plants down there over the years, and my only issue has really been with fungus killing my seedlings early on. I plan on using a fungicide this year, and withhold water until absolutely necessary. I use a fan for air circulation, hoping that will help with disease. Not much I can do about the heat. Perhaps keeping the lights very close to the plants and using adequate fertilize will help with the plants being weak and leggy. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Hi again Diamond,

Okay, somehow from your original post I got the impression that your set-up in the basement was something new to you. However, since you've raised a lot of plants down there in the past, you must be doing it right and the plants must be happy. Apparently, the temperature is not a problem. You know what they say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" :-)

Have fun and best of luck with the coleus seeds.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 12:24AM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

I have grown lots of coleus from seed and find that they like it a bit cooler than others to germinate. The only issues I have had with them is when I had them on my germination mats. When they had extra heat I had less germination and more issues with damping off.

Good luck, they are addicting.....


    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 5:45PM
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started_with_bean(Zone 5--MA)

Second the cooler temp for germination and growing the coleus (did them this year and last). I have also grown impatiens, and they will do well even if you don't give them a lot of light. I've always started them 10 weeks before frost and they are plenty big by the time I set them out. Mine are always more sun tolerant than store bought ones, since I usually put them on a sunny windowsill as soon as they get their first set of true leaves. The early spring sun is weak enough that it naturally hardens them without any extra effort. Just watch the watering; they like a little bit of drying out between waterings.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Thanks for the info. If they need cooler temps to germinate I could put them in another part of the basement. What is average length of time for them to germinate? Also, I saved some seeds from some really fancy coleus I had purchased this spring, I am certain the were hybrids, what are my chances of getting plants that look like the parent plants? Fell in love with these coleus this summer, they outperformed everything else I grew!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:07PM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Germination days varied with average around 8 days.

If they are hybrids it is unlikely they will be true to parent.

Coleus are great plants, now to decide what to grow next year :)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:24PM
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