Coleus (Coleus) belongs to the genus of plants from the family Lamiaceae (Lamiaceae). Until recently, the genus included more than one hundred plant species, which are cultivated not only at home, but also in the open ground. Proper cultivation of coleus at home and in the garden is quite easy for both experienced and novice amateur gardeners.
Coleus Botanical Description
Coleus refers to evergreen shrubby and herbaceous annual plants with opposite leaves on petioles. Leaves differ in various coloring and original patterns. Flowers are collected in apical spike-shaped inflorescences. Unlike other tropical plants, coleus of any variety is characterized by almost absolute unpretentiousness, but in order to grow a highly decorative indoor plant, it is necessary to place a flower pot with a culture in bright rooms.
In the summer, a decorative flower can be kept on an open veranda, terrace, balcony or loggia. Coleus grows fast enough and blooms profuselyas a result of which it grows in a short time. Domestic florists often call it decorative nettle, due to the similarity of appearance.
Types and varieties of coleus
Coleus can be either tall, up to 70-80 cm tall, or stunted plants, no more than 10-15 cm tall. Foliage is mottled, with spots or stains of red, brown, white, dark purple, yellow and violet staining. Multi-colored bordering may be observed. Very popular varieties of American selection, which are highly decorative and quite unpretentious.
The following species are known for the variety of coloration of Coleus foliage:
- hybrid forms of coleus bloom;
- hybrid forms of dwarf coleus, with a height of not more than 20-30 cm;
- hybrid forms of Coleus Ferschaffelt with very large and colorful leaves.
In the form of foliage, the following types of coleus are cultivated:
- with split foliage;
- with crumpled foliage;
- standard varieties and hybrids;
- with elongated, cut and wrinkled leaves.
Among other things, it is possible to grow varieties and hybrids with upright and ampelous or hanging leaves at room conditions and on flower beds of open ground.
How to grow coleus from seeds
Signs and superstitions
Despite the fact that such a variety of shrub ornamental plants like coleus is unpretentious, original and beautiful coloring, pleasant smell and exotic appearance, many superstitious domestic amateur gardeners associate its cultivation with the following features:
- Coleus is a cemetery flower and exudes energies unfavorable for living people. This superstition is due to the fact that it is customary for coleuses to decorate graves in Africa and Asia;
- fire coloring causes a superstition about the ability to cause a fire in a room, but such fears are groundless and more reminiscent of a wild fantasy associating an unusual bright appearance of a plant with negative consequences.
Among other things, decorative culture is often associated with monetary losses and the financial collapse of its owner, and the flowering of coleus is considered a harbinger of unexpected news. However, all these signs and superstitions did not make the plant less popular.
Coleus: features of planting and care
Landing and caring for coles are not complicated, but require compliance with certain rules, which are based on the features of this decorative and very popular culture in our country and abroad.
In the garden
For growing coleus on flower beds in open ground, it is preferable to use the seedling method well known in our country. After planting in open ground, take care of the plant according to the following recommendations:
- the site for growing coleus should be well warmed up and illuminated by sunlight;
- the soil on the site should be light, sufficiently nutritious and have good indicators of water permeability and breathability;
- Coleus of open ground from spring to mid-autumn is required to be abundantly watered with soft and settled or rain water;
- in too hot weather, a good result is given by spraying the aerial part of the culture with water at room temperature;
- the plant is adversely affected by too much moisture and overdrying in the flower beds;
- at the stage of activation of growth processes of decorative culture, plants need to be fed weekly with complex mineral fertilizers intended for feeding decorative and leafy crops;
- It is possible to improve the growth of culture and make coloring of foliage more decorative by introducing organic fertilizing;
- A good result is given by weekly feeding Coleus with potash fertilizers at the rate of a gram per couple of liters of water.
With the onset of autumn cooling, street plants can be preserved as a perennial decorative culture by replanting in flower pots and installing at home in the winter.
Coleus, regardless of species and variety, are very photophilous plants, so the decorative culture should be placed in a well-lit place, but taking into account the fact that the aerial part of the coleus does not tolerate direct sunlight in the summer. From the early spring to the last summer decade, flowers should be watered as the topsoil in the flower pot dries.
In winter, irrigation measures should be reduced to about a couple of irrigations every week. Water for irrigation should be relatively warm and settled. The need for watering can be judged by the appearance of the foliage, and when the leaves wilt, carry out the most abundant irrigation measures.
To preserve the decorativeness, the plant will require a sufficiently high moisture content. If the humidity level is not high enough, the foliage is sprayed with water at room temperature. In the spring-summer period, the plant needs to be fed with organic or mineral fertilizers. Over a long winter period, it loses its attractiveness, therefore, with the onset of spring, it is advisable to trim the aerial part of the indoor flower. Every two to three years, the coleus needs a transplant.
Reproduction and transplant technology
Coleus is very easily propagated by seeds and cuttings. Any of these methods guarantees a high survival rate of the plant, but coleus cuttings are considered more convenient.
How to crop a coleus
Cuttings are one of the most convenient ways to propagate a decorative culture on their own. Planting material can be very easily obtained by pruning already grown or overgrown coles. High-quality and suitable for obtaining a new young plant cuttings should have a length of 10-12 cm. In preparation for planting from the bottom of the handle, be sure to expose the leaves.
The rooting of cuttings is carried out in moist soil or moistened coarse sand. Cuttings in the rooting process should be covered with transparent polyethylene or a cut plastic bottle. Before rooting, the plants need to be provided with a temperature regime of 18-20 ºC, which will allow the root system to form in about ten days, after which young coleus can be planted in a permanent place. Such reproduction is not only very simple, but also very reliable.
Reproduction of plants by seeds is very simple, which is why it is a fairly popular way among amateur gardeners in our country. Propagation of indoor decorative culture by seed is carried out in exactly the same way as the cultivation of garden coleus. Almost all varieties of coleus have the highest level of germination of seed material. Mass shoots when sowing seeds appear after about a week and a half. Before emergence of seedlings, planting should be covered with glass or transparent polyethylene.
After the emergence of seedlings, the shelter must be removed and set the plant in place with good lighting. The optimal indicators for the cultivation of coleus is the temperature regime in the range of 20-24 ° C. Dive seedlings at the age of one and a half months. At this point, the crown of young plants must be pinched. As soon as the threat of late spring frosts passes, seedlings of decorative culture can be planted in the garden.
The best neighbors for plants in the open field
To grow coles, you need to choose well-protected, light or slightly shaded areas, so neighboring plants should have the same level of endurance in direct sunlight. Variegated coleus successfully adjacent to ampelous petunia, pelargonium and fuchsia. The addition of coles with hosts and daylilies can be good. It should be borne in mind that the peak of decorative plants occurs in the fifth month after sowing. Among other things, a feature of small-leaved varieties is a faster growth and optimal cover of the soil.
Use cases in landscaping
In a modern landscape design of a personal garden and a summer cottage plot, not only expensive and rare flowering plants can be used. In recent years, perennial or annual coleus flowers, which are most often grown by many gardeners as a room crop, have been very popular in home gardening. Well-growing Coleus bushes are completely unpretentious, and when grown in sunny areas, they look very decorative and attractive.
Despite the fact that under the influence of high-quality lighting, the staining of the foliage of this decorative culture, regardless of the variety, becomes as bright and effective as possible, plants with white, whitish or red leaves can tolerate even direct sunlight, but varieties with green foliage may need shading in especially sunny days. Coleus planted in small group plantings, represented by a combination of different shades of decorative foliage.
Features of growing coleus
From the point of view of landscape design, coleuses are best suited for the design of plain lawns, as well as for planting with other ground-cover, non-blooming crops with green or silver foliage.