Coleus, The Most Beautiful Houseplant.

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8:38 AM 6/20/2006

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Many of us have done vegetable gardening at some time in our lives and some have carried this pastime hobby indoors. One plant which can spread beauty throughout ones home or apartment is the Coleus, the most popular, known as Coleus Hybridus (painted nettle). A much more vibrant Coleus plant, simply called “Rainbow Mixed Colors” on the seed package is unbeatable in color variations. Easy to keep alive through even lenghty unattendance and very simple propagation techniques, it can bring much joy to the plant enthusiast.

Because of the high level of regeneration of the Coleus plant, you could easily propagate a single nursery bought plant or one started from seed into several totally new plants. It’s simple ! Once the plant has blossomed to a beautiful foliage, cuttings can then be taken. Begin cutting near the bottom. Trim each to about 6″ in length, then trimming 4 to 6 of the lower leaves. Place cuttings in a jar or glass, about 1/3 filled with simple tap water. Several plant cuttings can be placed in the same jar, but the water level will have to be monitored more closely. The Coleus gets pretty thirsty and could drain your plants water supply in a very short time. Store in a low-level lighted area for several days, or until roots are produced at the base of the cuttings. Wait until new roots have produced at least half a dozen and the longest have reached about 1″. Now they are ready to be transposed into a more permanent growing media.

At this juncture, one must be a little more selective, at least in choosing the type of growing media in which our new botanical jewels will spend their maturing lives. First, one can easily find soil that will grow our new cuttings and keep them in their healthiest state throughout their adult lives and produce the brightest of color variations in their ever changing leaf patterns. The soil should contain the greatest amount of organic material as possible along with self contained nutrients within the organic growing material. We should select a growing pot which would accommodate a progressive growing stage, so we could probably begin with a 4″ wide pot, since this is usually the size that would hold our cuttings which are by now well rooted. Each individual plant should have ample room to remain in this size pot for about 2 months. When the Coleus has outgrown its original pot, it’s time to move it to the 8″ pot size. This should last for the rest of its natural life…but now the process can be started all over again and you will have a house full of the beautiful Coleus plant.

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