how to take coleus cuttings

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

some people have expressed interest in the steps taken in taking coleus cuttings...so here we go. Bear with me, I hope these pictures I took will be sufficient...I am not a photographer lol.
Here is the first, I am showing where i would make the first cut on the plant. Because I don't want anymore cuttings off this plant, I cut it close to the bottm so the branching starts low. If I wanted more, I would just take the tip and make the cut above the next highest node (where the side leaves come out)

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

this picture shows what I took off the plant and what I left on the plant in terms of leaves left.

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

sorry lol forgot the picture

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

here is where I make the cut for the cutting. The bottom piece I will throw away. If you were trying to get a lot of cuttings off the plant, you would have left the bottom piece on the plant until it was big enough, and formed the tips to take more cuttings

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

tiger, could you show a pix of the cuttings planted? How much do you put underground?
Pati

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

In this picture I am taking the bottom leaves off of the cutting and also I left the piece in there that I will throw away. The cutting is ready to stick in the dirt now

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

here is where I put the cutting in the dirt-enough to get the node in the dirt. I use these liner trays because they have a lot of small hole-which is all that you need.

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

Sorry, just didn't wait! Thanks for the info and pix!
Pati

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

heres another plant where I can take two cuttings off one stem, the tip and then the next two nodes. I personally prefer the tips because they root faster-they have more leaves, but in the long run, a stem cutting will provide you with a plant with two tips-

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

I hope this isn't too long lol it feels like it! But I figured I would do it all while I was doing this.
Heres the first cut for the tip

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

here is where you would make the 2nd cut for the stem cutting. Stem cuttings need at least two nodes-one in the dirt and one above- the thicker the stem, and more baby leaves, the faster it will root.

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

this picture shows the two cutting ready to go, with the bottom leaves removed. This stem cutting is about as small as I would take, i.e. the plant has not developed that thick a stem

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

here I just put them in the dirt-the reason I wanted to show this is that if you do stem cuttings and tips together-put the stem cuttings on the outside where they will get more light. The tips' leaves tend to grow faster and they will block the light of the stem cuttings

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

In this picture I show the plants I just took cuttings from. You can take a coleus down to practically nothing left of leaves if you want-as long as the coleus has roots and isn't allowed to dry out all the way, it will send out new leaves very soon. The plants with a lot of leaves I left that way so they would grow and produce more cuttings or just mature and be ready to plant outside.

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

this is the tray with all the cuttings-you can see that they are very close to each other-you don't have to spread the cuttings out. You can see the stem cuttings are somewhat apart from the tip cuttings. In the back, I showed 3 plants-on the left is a cutting that got transplanted a week or so ago and I have taken the tip off so it will start to branch. I just left one node above the dirt -I will get 2 branches from that one. The middle one, I took the tip off and left 2 nodes to get more branches ( It depends on the amt of space between the nodes as to whether I left one or two nodes-if the plant is leggy (2" or more between the nodes, then I will only leave one node-because if you have that much space now, it will only get leggier as the plant grows)
The plant on the right has been cut back several times and is low and full and ready to go.

Water the cuttings in the am every day-just once, keep in as much light as possible-I keep mine in the greenhouse in full light. The more light and warmth it gets, the faster it will root. They will go thru a wilting phase for a few days and then perk back up. On average, they should be rooted in about 10 days or so-with good bottom heat, proper moisture and light.
I personally don't use a rooting hormone. The cheap kinds that are readily available ( like Rootone) I don't think make any difference. I did some experiments this winter with dragonwing begonias, lantana, purslane and coleus where I did half the tray with and half without and I didn't see any difference at all.
The one problem you might have is if you don't remove the bottom leaves and they start to rot-that could become a problem because it will spread-but using rooting hormone won't prevent that as it is above the soil. If that happens, just clean up the rotted parts and the rest will root. Don't overwater and you should not get a fungus. I have been doing this for years and never had one.
If anyone has any questions-please ask-this is easy to do, but until you have successfully done it a few times-like anything, it can be confusing.

Thumbnail by tigerlily123
Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

Oh tigerlily, thank you so much for taking the time and effort to give us this information. This is especially good because there seem to be more newbie Coleus growers all the time. I'm not a newbie, but I have always used the "pinch and poke" method without much rhyme or reason. Considering where I live it's always worked, and when it didn't there were always more Coleus to pinch. (smile) I usually end up with wild looking pots instead of nicely planned color coordinated ones.

Thanks again,
Pati

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

You're welcome Pati, I wasn't sure how it would turn out-its alot easier showing and explaining in person than with a camera by yourself! I bet your pots look beautiful-coleus is great no matter how its planted. I am not a big lover of "formal" plantings myself :)

(Linda) Winfield, KS(Zone 6a)

Are these grown over the winter? If they are how many times do you have to repot them?

Linda

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

The original plants were overwintered in my greenhouse-I take cuttings in the late fall and keep them about 50 degrees and transplant them in December or January-I try to slow the growth on the small ones until January, and then I start taking cuttings more seriously. I just keep cutting back the older ones. They are usually not so great right now-they are so rootbound, and you have to keep on top on keeping them bushy or they get too leggy.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Thanks tiger.....

Hap

oh oh oh/ great informative thread1 tigger is the ken druse of coleus1
very nice thread with excellent photos1

Wichita, KS

Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!

:-)

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

You are welcome!! I was hoping this would help those that have not done cuttings yet

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

I too want to thank you tigerlily. Your coleus are so pretty! I tried doing this just the other night. I had a friend over for lunch last week and she brought me a new coleus that she had started from her plant. I was delighted! I have several coleus on my own and just the other night, I experimented (not knowing what I was doing at all) and just took some leaves and placed them in MG soil. I did notice they were wilting, but I have continued to water them. Now that you have posted instructions with awesome pictures I now think I have a new project for this weekend. :-)

Thanks a bunch!

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

ms_merae,
Last year I did stick a leaf stem in a cup of water, almost accidentally. A few weeks later, noticed it had a wad of roots and new growth. So your leaves might root too.
Sidney

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

bumping this thread because I can't copy it...not sure why-was trying to show it to someone

Weedville, PA(Zone 6a)

Thank you for bumping this. I had lost the thread too. This time I'm saving it to my favorites!!

Heather

Gazelle, CA

So -- are you just using regular potting soil to put the cuttings in?

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

No I use a soiless commercial sterlized mix-like pro mix, it is peat, vermiculite and perlite...better drainage

Gazelle, CA

Oh -- that makes sense. I've just ordered 8 coleus, and I'm excited to take LOTS of cuttings from them!

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

I use fresh potting soil and have never had any problem. I however am not the pro that Tigerlily is.
Some of those soiless mixes are the devil to get wet again if they ever get dried out.
Sidney

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

You are right, Sidney, they are harder to get wet again...the key, I think, is to go over the pot 2-3 times slowly and then again the next day. But I think I would rather have a medium that stays on the dry side then one that is hard to get dry. Roots grow better in dryer soil-more oxygen, and they do most of their growing at night which is why you always try to water in the am. If I have dry plants at night-I wait until the am to water-unless they are so dry they are going to croak or suffer leave damage. Sure has happened to me lol

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Would someone PLEASE educate me on these different soil mixtures. I'm hearing about MG. Then there's the vermiculite, perlite, and peat. What's that stuff they pack the bulbs in? Looks like they put styrofoam in it. It's all powdery and gets up your nose if you breathe too hard.

HELP ME! HELP ME! (say this in the tiny voice Vincent Price used in the the movie, "The Fly!")

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

sugarweed- i had forgotten to watch the thread so I am just now seeing your response. guess what....one of them, my Festive Dance did take root. You won't believe how I know this.... I was carrying the pot to a shadier location and had about umpteen other things in my hands and dropped the little baby. after cussing at myself and picking up the pot and the plant it had made little wad of roots too. I guess it was a way to see if it had taken root or not. lol. I put it back in with the soil watered it, misted the leaves (which I have been doing everyday) and this morning I saw it had new growth. YAY!

The night that I was just experimenting and before I had seen tigerlily's excellent instructions I tried to root 3 different coleus. Only this one worked. So not bad for just playing around now knowing what you are doing.


Gymgirl- I used MG soil because that is what I had on hand. It was there when I needed it. I think probably the better stuff to use is the soil used to start plants. If you go to Home Depot, Walmart, etc you will see bags and bags of different kinds of potting soil. I think that tigerlily is suggesting you use one that is labeled to be used for cuttings or for seeds. I see some bags labeled for this use.
Good luck and have fun.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

If your soil is warm, like mine most of the year, I put the cuttings right in the ground under something so it's in the shade. And away we go!!

Hap

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

I root mine like Hap does, only I just keep containers of MG Potting Mix sitting around. Just cut one and stick it in and let 'er rip! That's one reason I don't post pictures.....they have all kinds just mixed together, no rhyme or reason. Like Topsy, they just growed.
Pati

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

So, Pati,
What you're saying is that your plant arrangements are more of a kalaidscope or a panorama of colors?

Yukon, OK(Zone 7b)

Oh Pati, I'd love to see some of your pics. Last year I was running late (can you believe that?) and I had struggled with my plans of what to plant with what. Well.....I got all flustered and just started sticking things in pots. I had some beautiful pots of coleus and when they were all grown up they were smashing, just absolutely smashing!

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

LOL @ gymgirl....yes, that's what I was trying to say...but I couldn't spell it!!!

Ah Brinda, now you know the secret, there's really no such thing as an ugly container. Mother Nature seems to stick her greern thumb in and make it beautiful.
Pati

Moose Jaw, SK(Zone 3b)

Thanks tigerlily123.......with the cost of those babies here ($4.50/plant) for the ones that they brought in from Florida I sure want to propagate as many as I can.

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