Winterizing Coleus: How To Overwinter Coleus
The first thing you need to do is to take your coleus out of its pot and put it outside. You don’t want it getting frostbite!
Now, you have two options: 1) Put it back into the pot or 2) Wrap it up tightly in some newspaper and place inside a large plastic bag.
If you are going to wrap it up tight, make sure to leave enough room around the base so that when you bring it inside, there will be no problem with the roots touching each other. If you’re putting it back into the pot, then just use newspaper to protect your coleus from rain and snow.
(You could even cover it with foil if you like. Just make sure to keep it dry!)
Now, let’s get started!
First things first, you’ll want to remove any leaves on the top of the plant. Then, cut off all but one leaf at a time until only three or four remain.
These are called “leaf nodes.” Leave these alone for now; they won’t be used for anything yet.
Next, you’ll want to pull out all the branches from the main stem and discard them. Coleus don’t have many branches, so this shouldn’t take long.
Now, cut the leaves at the leaf nodes (don’t worry, there will be plenty of them) and set them aside for now.
Finally, you’ll want to cut off the stem just below the node on your coleus plant. This will leave you with a short stem with one or two leaves on it.
Now you should have three or four of these little stems.
That’s all there is to it! Once you have finished this, place the coleus in a cool dry place for the winter.
(A garage or cellar should do just fine!) Whenever the temperature outside gets above 50 degrees, you can bring your coleus back inside. This is the time to start taking care of it again.
You’ll want to put it back into some soil and start watering it normally. At this point, you can cut off the top set of leaves (the first set you removed) to promote root growth.
You can also cut off any brown or damaged areas on the stems at any time.
Coleus can be brought inside for the winter in any state except those along the southern border of the Pacific Ocean. (This includes California, Oregon, and Washington.) If you live somewhere else, give it a try.
You might be surprised at how well your plants do!
Other Types Of Coleus
Coleus can be one of three different types: dwarf, semi-mini, or standard. The type you decide to grow will depend on what you want to do with it.
Dwarves are 1-2 feet tall and are good for containers or for use in hanging baskets. Semi-minis are slightly taller, 2-4 feet, and work in the same ways as the dwarf. Standards are for the ground; they can grow up to 5 feet tall or more.
How To Take Care Of Coleus
Coleus do not need as much light as other plants. They prefer bright light, but will do alright in medium light conditions.
(Most windows fit this description. If you’re not sure about the light in your home, try moving it around a bit to see if it gets any brighter in certain areas. That’s probably the best place to put your plants!)
It is also important that coleus does not get too much water, especially while it’s still getting adjusted. Check the soil daily; if it feels dry add only a little water.
Never let the soil get soggy; this will damage or even kill your plant!
Coleus are relatively easy to grow and will not be a huge problem unless you’re really impatient. Be sure to follow the tips we’ve given you though; you’ll be glad you did!
Coleus Care Summary:
* Type: Perennial
* Light: Medium to bright light. No direct sun.
* Water: Check often; water lightly when soil is dry. Do not over water!
* Temperature: Cool to average house temperatures (60-80 degrees)
* Fertilizer: None needed, but can supplement with a very weak solution of water and fertilizer every couple of weeks.
* Pot Size: Not applicable. Coleus are either planted directly in the ground or in a container.
* Position: Grows well in containers, but can also be planted directly in the ground.
* Problems: Mealy bugs and spider mites. (Can be avoided with good care)
Coleus Trivia: Coleus plants are named for a Dutch botanist named Peter Karl Lehmann who discovered this plant growing wild in the jungles of Sri Lanka (Ceylon).
Sources & references used in this article:
The potted garden: new plants and new approaches for container gardens by SD Appell – 2001 – books.google.com
The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer by RW Thomas – 2015 – books.google.com
Growing Ornamentals in Urban Gardens by HM Cathey – 1977 – books.google.com
1985 Garden Calendar by JD Utzinger, DS Traver, JL Boucher – 1984 – kb.osu.edu
Ornamental horticulture: science, operations & management by JE Ingels – 2001 – books.google.com