Recommended coleus for houseplant

Phelan, CA(Zone 8b)

Hi! I'm new to the coleus forum at Dave's. I'm interested in growing a coleus or two or three. . . .lol indoors. Are certain varieties easier to grow as houseplants? I want something that doesn't grow bigger than about 14." Looking at varieties online, Alligator looked good to me. Also, Arizona Sunset, Careless Love, Fairway Mosiac and Kong Mosiac. Are any of these easy for indoor growing? I live in S. California and the plants would get anywhere from 3-6 hours of filtered west sun, depending on the time of year. But we have very few overcast days, year round.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions on varieties to start out with! I heard starters can be obtained in fall for growing indoors. Is this true? Thank you!

Randi

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

I cannot tell you which coleus plants don't grow beyond 14 inches, only that they tend to be extremely easily groomed, and if you wish to keep the plant smaller, take of the top of the stem and make a new plant with the cutting. I know there are some plants that are contained well below 14 inches, but the coleus plant I have that stays low is a trailer known as "swinging linda." When you look for a smaller plant, the description will probably be "compact" rather than small.

Coleus do well indoors and are easy to grow, but should not be neglected. Their thin leaves don't hold much moisture, so depending on your winter heat, they may need daily watering. While most coleus plants don't require a lot of direct sunlight outdoors, they do need a certain amount of indoor (artificial light) or a nice, sunny window, and plants with outdoor exposure will probably need to be turned for even looking growth or you'll find them leaning toward the light.

They can be easily rooted in water or soil, and if gardening comes easy to you, growing coleus indoors will undoubtedly be rewarding for you.

You can check a number of varieties at http://www.rosydawngardens.com/default.aspx, and there are other sites as well. The one thing to keep in mind is that online photos may be true, but your lighting conditions may produce different coloration.

Phelan, CA(Zone 8b)

Thank you so much for the info, Cathy! I really appreciate it. I can't believe some of the beautiful colors these plants come in. I have a couple varieties of Croton, but want to try coleus now. I will check out the link you gave me. Thank you again!

Randi

Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

Randi,

Long ago and far away, when I was living in Minneapolis, I used to grow the trailing types. I think any of the small leaf types would be suitable in a sunny window.

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Columbus, OH

Tell Tale Heart and Swingin' Linda are two of my favorites.

Phelan, CA(Zone 8b)

Gonna check those out! Thanks!

Mount Laurel, NJ

Careless love is a beautiful plant, but it is a fast growing large plant. Probably one of the biggest and fastest growing ones. One very small one that I'm enjoying right now is 'giant fantasy'. Ironic name, hey since it's one of the slower growing small ones. Also my 'kingswood torch' is beautiful inside now and seems to be slower growing than some. Vulcan is pretty too. The one in the picture is 'vulcan'. I'll post some pictures of the others mentioned if I can find them.

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Mount Laurel, NJ

Hmm, I can't seem to find my picture of 'giant fantasy'. I went to Rosy Dawn and they have it but it looks different. Maybe mine is something different. Also I see they say it is a large plant. Mine never got over 12 in high. Be aware that the pictures on commercial sights might not look like the plant when you grow it though. They have undoubtedly taken a most beautiful section of the plant, in it's prime under best light, and might have touched up the photo after that. Of course, one of the nice things about coleus is that the same plant will look quite different depending on time, location, temperature, etc. Many of them look quite different in the winter in the house, than in the summer outside. Here is one that's pretty consistant looking year around. It's 'city lights'. It gets big, but as with any, you can keep cutting it back.

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Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

I took a lots of cuttings and tried to root them in soil with hormon powder. In the beginning they looked good, but now they are all wilting and I lost a lot of them. I keep them in the window, and the house is fairley cool, 69degrees. sometime I spray them and feed them with 1/2 stengt of miracle grow. Should I water them from the bottom or top. I hope some will survive. I have kept some in water and they have long roots, so I had them planted in soil hoping they least they will survive. Help, if anybody knows what is wrong. Thanks, Etelka

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Here's what I would do. Put cuttings in fresh potting soil. Water from the bottom. Add a teaspoon of Hydrogen Peroxide to a quart of water and use that when they look wimpy. Also run a slow fan on them a few hours a day.
Water roots are different from soil roots and so skip the water root except as a short hold over.
You can also trim a dab before re-rooting.
Hope this helps..
Sidney

Mount Laurel, NJ

I've found with cuttings, that regular potting soil is too heavy and they will sometimes rot. I use seedling soil now and most of them do well. It's Pro Mix BX. I have a slow fan on them all the time. Maybe I could cut that down to just when the lights are on. This picture is 'beefsteak plant'. It's growing in the conservatory at Longwood Gardens. I meant to post picture of 'dark star' but posted this one instead. I don't think it's a coleus.


This message was edited Dec 21, 2011 11:00 AM

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Mount Laurel, NJ

Here is the picture of 'dark star' at Longwood Gardens.

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Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

I have planted the cuttings in peat moss only, no soil. I think I over water them from the top, so I will see if it helps to water from the bottom. I have been in Longwood garden, used to go every 3 months because they change the flowers all the time. That is when I lived in Wilmington, de. Thank you for the help, I feel so dumb about doing something new. Next thing will be trying my nerves with Winter sowing. Eteleka

Brewster, MN(Zone 4b)

Hi Seaecho. You got lots of good advice so far. I'm chiming in with a "don't." The more golden ones are really hard for me to keep going for some reason. The cuttings are difficult to get to take and the plants seem very fussy to me. Maybe it's just me, but they would be my last choice.

Vista, CA

This year I grew nearly 200 cultivars. Among those that had good conformation, compact, self-branching growth were: Black Lace, Burgundy Wedding Train (Patented), Cantigny Royale, Duckfoot, Florida Sun™ Rose, India Frills, Inky Fingers, Inky Toes, Lime Frill, Neon Rose, Rosa, Swiss Sunshine, Tiny Toes™, Thumbelina, Trailing Cherry, Yellow Dragon, Yellow Frills

The Mosaic series have huge leaves, but don't grow very tall. They are seed grown, so will tend to flower more prolifically (I've seen 6" pots of them with buds at retail). The Fairway series, as I recall, is also seed-grown.

Be sure to let us know how specific cultivars do as houseplants. I grow mine in a smallish greenhouse, and have no place in the house to test any (the three windows that will work are full of about 1-1/2 dozen different Fittonia cultivars, which need the warmth of the house--the coleus overwinter in the unheated greenhouse).

Columbus, OH

Just out of curiosity, how cold is that unheated greenhouse, at its coldest? California and Ohio are pretty different climates. :) TIA!

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Celene, you are close I believe to one of my Coleus Guru's, Chris Baker,at Baker's Acre's in Alexandria, Ohio.
He has some of the healthiest sturdiest coleus ever. He doesn't do shipping so I have gone all the way there twice just to buy for myself and others.
He is also very free with his information on care of coleus. His biggest coleus enemy is the thirp and was finishing a special house for Coleus of a special cloth they could not penetrate.
You may look for his threads and comments here as goodoldbake.
Here's one http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1018265/
Sidney

Columbus, OH

Thank you for posting the thread, I hadn't seen it before. I've known the Bakers for a long time :) I'm "the episcia lady" there. If you ever want Baker's coleus shipped, let me know--I go at least ever couple of weeks while they're open. It's therapeutic.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Celene, I am saving this page so I will remember who to d-mail in the spring. One time I got over 200 4" pots and shipped about 165 to different DGers.
I don't have the energy to do that now.
Sidney

Phelan, CA(Zone 8b)

I'll check out all those varieties you mentioned, scalplantmaniac. Thank you so much for the list! Thanks for the link, Sugarweed. Wow, Dark Star is breathtaking! Wish me luck--we'll see if coleus are happy in the house for me.

Columbus, OH

sugarweed, that's a heck of a plant buying trip! Holy smokes!

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Yes I always go too far overboard on everything, but I made several folks happy.
We just had one night of below 30º followed by a night of 28º for a few hours.
I was up in Jax and my neighbors removed what they could from the rail on the deck and covered what they could with a blue tarp.
Before I left I applied 'Spray and Grow' with FE on Wed. and on Friday Dec 30 I misted all with Messenger.
Most everything has survived and my Brugs and Daturas are putting out blooms my Coleus have some droop, but was stunned when the Alabama Sunset bounced back yesterday.
I have about 200 thriving on my deck.
The temps here are running 79 | 61 °F
I hope they stay that way now.
Sidney

Thumbnail by sugarweed

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