This year's coleus plants: disappointment or celebration?

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

I was a bit disappointed by the selection of coleus plants in the nurseries this season. For reasons unknown there were far fewer choices to purchase. In addition, our rainy, high-heat weather seemed to encourage every coleus-eating insect to hatch.

No to hurt the feelings of my coleuses, the foliage is very pretty, but so tasty to the obnoxious, shade-loving leaf eaters. Plants in full sun were not nearly as affected.

The first photo is in full sun, and in the second, Defiance is taking the brunt. Photos 3 and 4 are what is left of Kong Mosaic, and I don't know how much is salvageable.
Marcia

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taipei, Taiwan

Dear Marcia,
It seems that the numbers of your coleus supplying retailers are shrinking. In the late summer I could only place orders to Glasshouse Works after Rosy Dawn had closed their supplying in June. And this is what Glasshouse Works brings to me. Honestly, I think they really need to improve the quality of their products and strengthen the communication to their customers.
Have you ever suspected that small snails could be the murderers of your Kong Mosaic? They usually eat the leaves of Coleus at midnight.
Yubiker

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Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

I had a bunch of cuttings rooting in water in the high heat of July. As I pulled them out to pot up, attached to the base of two of them were slugs (disgusting snails without shells). They all rooted well. I have never seen snails around here, so it might just be a nighttime activity.

The plants in full sun were only slightly affected.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Since I am in zone 9, I asked for my order from Rosy Dawn as early as possible. One reason there aren't many to order after june is probably because they dont tolerate temps below 40F. As for the critters, I have not had that problem, knock on wood. The plants I got from RD were very nice healthy plants. I ordered one called Mariposa and that plant grows very much slower than the others but wow!. The leaves measure 5 inches across. Here is what it looks like. It gets morning sun only and very bright shade until about 3 PM then full shade.

For a list of likely coleus culprits, go to rosydawngardens.com and click on coleus care. scroll down to pests.

This message was edited Aug 6, 2013 12:40 AM

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taipei, Taiwan

Steadycam3, your Mariposa looks really gorgeous! We have never seen this one in Taiwan before. I should have included it in my ordered plant list two months ago, but actually there were too many in the catalogue by RD, it is difficult for me to select a few plants that are most valuable to me.
It makes me curious why RD needs to close the service by June, after all, the temp doesn’t drop drastically by September, and there is still a lot of time available for selling their crops.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

I have ordered bulbs online and some rarer plants, but never coleus. The flower and garden show at the end of February is usually hawking landscaping services and tools and selling orchids and other indoor plants. I try to support local nurseries wherever possible because it is appropriate for the community, even when they are a few dollars more.

As you mentioned, steadycam, coleus do not do well in cooler temps, and we did have a coolish spring (followed by unbelievable heat). So cool, in fact, that I lost basil just purchased at the end of April or beginning of May and had to buy more. That being said, the nurseries don't put out coleus too early unless they have greenhouses because they don't like to throw away plants. By the time gardeners are shopping, growers like Rosy Dawn are often sold out for the season. Of course, if you wait till later in the season, the plants are larger and far more costly,so I head for 2-6 inch pots or flats. Sometimes I just cannot help myself and fall in love with a bigger plant like in the Under the Sea group. There just wasn't much this season, and certainly very little unusual and interesting plants with a little exception.

Steady, I'm guessing your lovely plant is a Kong variety. I love sturdy stems on coleus, but sometimes they are a bit too aggressive for us in our little house on a smallish property, but the generally overwinter well. Do you bring your coleus indoors for the winter months?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Marcia - I took a lot of cuttings earlier this week and left them submerged in water overnight: wrong move. Most survived and did well but about 30 of them looked awful the day following planting. I have many more coleuses growing so I can take many more cuttings for winter.

Those I put in shade didn't do well at all but those in sun were more than spectacular.

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Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Pirl, those are just gorgeous! The ones I have in shade did not do great this year either.

Anyone want to trade cuttings as we snip to preserve over winter?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thank you! There are lots more in another garden and I took cuttings but will take more of each of them.

I really don't have room for more cuttings.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Can't complain about coleus this year but then I didn't buy any either, just kept a few over winter. They are basically fill in plants for my begonias. The fourth one is the oddball, often sporting 3 different patterns on the same stem.

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annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

Just adding my 2 cents. Coleus are 'tender perennials': Ship too early and they could freeze in transit. Ship too late and they could fry! Also, Rosy Dawn grows only coleus so, stopping shipments in June gives some down time to Pam. et al.

Nice plants Pirl and HC. Love 'Mariposa' Steadycam!

We had a pretty good selection available here locally but I did see lots of virus infected plants
for sale.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Here is a shot of Jungle Love and Tapestry. There is also Gold Lace in the pot but I dont think ;you can see it well in this photo. It's the one on the right with the scalloped edges on leaves. It's in the shade so it never became very "gold". That's purple heart peeking out on the right.

This message was edited Sep 4, 2013 11:00 PM

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Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

These photos were taken about 2 weeks ago. I need to take photos like Pirl. Nice close ups. They are all purchased from Rosy Dawn and I received them at the end of April as requested.

I always go through and get my order ready and then back and do some eliminations.

They are all planted in one bed right smack in the middle of the front landscape. They get a lot of morning sun and then filtered shade during the hot part of the day.

I cannot buy them locally because they arrive way to late to plant and then when they do arrive, they are very large plants and it is to hot.

Pirl turned me on to Rosy Dawn and I have been ordering now for about 5 years. I have tried to take cutting and hold them over for the winter but I failed miserably.

Hugs, Sharon

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Wow! They are really lush, Sharon. Each one is beautiful.

Regarding holding them over winter - did you figure out what went wrong?

Last winter I did best of all and watered them much less often - no mealybugs, no problems.

Mount Laurel, NJ

I use a systemic on my coleus, Bayer tree and shrub 3 in 1. I use about 1/4 tsp in a 2 in container when growing them indoors over the winter. You only need to do it once. My coleus did not do as well this winter though, but I think it might be that my bulbs are getting old. Also they may have been too crowded. Many of them got leggy despite constant pinching. Some did well though. The mariposa looks better now than in this picture. It didn't like the heat. This 'alabama sunset' did well.

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Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Coleuslover, 1/4 teasp in a 2 in. container? Could you clarify what you mean?

Mount Laurel, NJ

I put 1/4 tsp of Bayer tree and shrub 3 in 1 product into a container of dirt that is 2 in by 2in by 2in with my coleus in it. I wait until the roots are established before applying this systemic. Bayer told me the 'tree and shrub' systemic is not the same as the rose 3 in 1 product and that I should not use the rose product in a container. They did not say why, but I think it is stronger. My coleus did well this way over the winter and I did not have problems with the mealy bugs (like I did before I started doing this). You only have to apply it once. Maybe after you plant them in the ground in the spring you could apply a little more if necessary. This one is 'brilliancy'. Peeking out in the corner, is 'kingswood torch' when it was just getting started. I should take some new pictures as they are both much bigger now.



This message was edited Sep 16, 2013 9:12 AM

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Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks coleus lover. I ordered from RD for the first time this year and would like to over winter some of the ones I bought. I have over wintered coleus in the past with no problems but since Im going to have so many this year Im going to try the systemic How do you keep them from getting too big before it's time to replant?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Keep taking cuttings. I start with cuttings in mid-February and they become established plants by May.

annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

Interesting discussion here on lack of variety in coleus available. Plus, the root in water method for overwintering cuttings on a window sill about halfway down.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/annuals/msg041558418237.html

Mount Laurel, NJ

I didn't notice any lack of variety available, but then, I propagate so many of my own that it doesn't matter as much. I was actually quite amazed to see how many coleus Longwood Gardens had this year, some of which I had never seen, other than in pictures. The picture is from Longwood, and they had about 20 of these beds with lots of colues. The beds were about 20ft by 10 ft. They were gorgeous.

On propagation, this year I am going to grow 'stock plants' from my cuttings. The cuttings seem to do better for me if I take them in Sept, then I put about 3 in a large pot, which will be easier to keep watered. I'm going to let them get fairly big (might have to pinch back a bit), until about Jan or Feb and then start making cuttings.

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(Judy) Simpsonville, SC(Zone 8a)

Suggestion to keep away gnats: use a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in water. Good for watering soil as well as spraying on plants. After a day or two no more gnats.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

You can also save a drowning plant by turning the pot on it's side and draining it. Then watering with some H2O2 which is 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide to 1 gallon of water. I always use drugstore over the counter H P.
I am down here in 9-A so I am potting up nice size coleus to grow out until the Spring. I hope to share some rooted babies come April.
Sidney

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

All the cuttings I took and potted up in late August are doing very well and some need cutting back already.

The best way for me to avoid all fungus gnats is to water only from the bottom. There is no need to keep the top of the soil wet or damp (just encourages fungus gnats) since the roots are growing at the bottom and that's where they need the moisture.

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Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

I hung a fly ribbon above my rooting plants. Im always rooting something and the darn things come with the soil I think. It 's not pretty but it works.

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

I am attempting to grow coleus cuttings again this year. Right now they are doing wonderful. They have not needed watering in over three weeks. They are in the garage winter garden area inside the three tier zip up greenhouses. My biggest problems was always over watering.

The mother plants just wilted last night from the cold.

I am also trying to root some guinea impatiens. They have been in water for 5 days and have roots everywhere. I put them in water because I needed to put together some potting mix. I just meant to keep them fresh not rooted.

I also hung a fly catcher in the garage area but so far have not caught anything but I did a through job of cleaning each area and each plant that was moved inside.

The photos were taken two days ago of all my zone pushing plants that are now in the 3rd car section of the garage.

First photo tropical hibiscus. Second are plumeria and delonix. Third is zipper greenhouse with first shelf of coleus cuttings. Forth is Philippine violet. Philippine violet was a gift from Kay Jones in Florida.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Hurray! So glad to see you giving the coleus another chance. You and I have the same mini greenhouse and it does work very well for all plants.

Congratulations on not over watering! Putting the water in the tray is the easiest and safest way to get moisture to the roots.

I've been using the 30" boot trays, from Christmas Tree Shops, for all plants in the greenhouse. They are the perfect size and I haven't had any problems with them.

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Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Another excellent tray is the use of cheap aluminum baking trays (15 pack for about $8.50 at Sam's Club for example). I use over 200 of them and often renew them as they get bent, rust out, etc. I often use them for starting new plants - poke holes in the bottom with a knife or any pointed object and use a second tray for catching the water if indoors.

Some of these trays are a few years old - the aloes have been in the same tray for at least 4 years and need to be potted up (when I ever find the time or ambition).

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Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

I have a cookie sheet with a lip I use. I do have to move from group to group, but so far it is fun. I filled it up today, probably 1/2" of water with 15 proven winner used containers and they soaked up the water big time.

I had two variegated Guinea impatiens in my greenhouses. I had just purchased them. They looked a little ragged when I purchased them but I have determined they do not like moist air. They just about rotted. I pulled them out, cleaned them up and they look better already.

I also started 5 Guinea impatiens cuttings. I also started two large pots of coleus, which were rooted in water, for two friends. Hopefully they will take off and look great for Thanksgiving. I also started cuttings today of variegated purple ladies. I on did 2 but tomorrow I will do more. I had two workers doing many things today and the two of them will be here tomorrow. One is a gardener and one is a laborer.

So you all have a great day tomorrow. Thanks for the input. Hugs, Sharon

Pirl knows how much I anguished over my coleus cutting failures two year in a row.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Improving on past performance and learning from the past is all that matters, Sharon.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

I new I would find you here, Arlene. hehe Just was thinking about the wonderful time we had in Cape Cod. It was great that you both could make it up to P-town. Thanks again.

Nancy

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

For the benefit of those who haven't met Nancy and her lovely daughter, here they are at Provincetown, Cape Cod, this past September:

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Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

I like Jack's purse.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It matched his outfit!

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Yup, she's my pretty one. Hi to all.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Hi Hap, what do you think about a S Fl roundup?

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

It would have to be WAY south. Sounds good.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

I think we should contact Fairchild's and see if we could have one there. Would that be far enough South?
We could invite the whole country.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Sounds good Sugar.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

We're ready to start on next spring with a positive note. Rosy Dawn Gardens has opened their new website!

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