Saturday, February 02, 2008


A recent article in American Horticulture Society’s “The American Gardener” magazine is titled “Coleus Comeback” by Ray Rogers.

According to Rogers, “Coleus are more than just simply the darlings of a monomaniacal collector’s eye or quaint Victorian throwbacks for the odd shady corner . . .”

Season-long color, ease of propagation, infinite variety, sun tolerant as well as shade plants, specimen plants or mass planting, upright, mounding, or trailing, in containers or in the garden - what’s not to like? Yes I’m one of those monomaniacal collectors. But, it’s not my fault. My good friend Myra gave me a few plants several years ago and touted their beauty. I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’m seeing a greater variety in local garden centers recently. Dan Scantz Greenhouse donated sun coleus for Musikfest’s Blumenplatz (shown here). ‘Pink Chaos’, ‘Merlin's Magic’, ‘Religious Radish’ and ‘Pele’ created quite a splash of color in the corners of the bed.

I don’t try to remember all the cultivar names. Every supplier seems to have their own set of names.

A Master Gardener once told me square stemmed plants are the easiest to propagate. Most of the coleus have square stems. I usually root them in water then plant them in a mixture of three cups potting soil, one cup vermiculite and one cup peat moss. Sometimes I plant directly in the soil after dipping the stem in rooting hormone.

I clean all the pots in the summer in 1 to 9 solution of chlorine bleach to water and rinse thoroughly. I’ve lost about 15 to 20 percent this year. Mostly to damping off. I think I just don’t pay enough attention to the potted plants and probably overwater or overcrowd the trays. But every year I end up with 60 to 80 plants for the garden and friends.

I’ve been browsing through Rosy Dawn online catalog. Oh my, temptation!

See posts – 12/29/06, 5/8/07, 5/26/07, 7/11/07, 8/18/07, 10/20/07, 1/5/08

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