Three- leaves- on- a- node- rush

Londerzeel, Belgium

Maybe not the best title I could think of, but I wanted to share some pictures of a strange sporting behaviour of my Coleus plants.
Usually Coleus plants have two leaves on each node, and mine were all like that when I got them from friends or garden centers.
But... since april this year they're all turning into the form which has three leaves on each node.

I'm not complaining about it because it looks much nicer than the 'normal' coleus plants, but I'm very surprised and wondering what causes my plants to sport into this new form.
Maybe it has something to do with the Belgian climate, geographic position or certain endemic bacteria or fungi causing all of my Coleus to mutate in this new three leaves- shape.
Anyway, these are the pictures of this very remarkable phenomena:

1. Black dragon: not really a sport because it was that particular seedling in the red circle only (unfortunately all eaten by snails)

Thumbnail by Cumulus79
Londerzeel, Belgium

2. This one is also a seedling from an unknown cultivar. The regular form at the right side and the three leaf shape on the left

Thumbnail by Cumulus79
Londerzeel, Belgium

3. This one is Rose Explosion (if I labeled it correctly). At a certain moment it had both the new and old leaf stance on the same plant but I have isolated the mutated stem.

Thumbnail by Cumulus79
Londerzeel, Belgium

4. I discovered this one this afternoon. It's a mutated Flamingo. Three leaf stance in the middle and the regular shape left and right side, on same plant.

This message was edited Oct 9, 2009 6:16 PM

Thumbnail by Cumulus79
Londerzeel, Belgium

5.This one is also labeled as Rose explosion, but one of them is Pink Chaos because I can't find the label with Pink Chaos anymore. Also two stances on the same plant.

Thumbnail by Cumulus79
Londerzeel, Belgium

New batch of Coleus cuttings, ready to fight the long and hard battle against the Winter Season. Which one will be the next one to sport into the three leaf- form or... die??

I'm also wondering if these Coleus can be considered as new cultivars where I'm owning the rights of because they all developped in my own greenhouse, or are these still property of the hybridisers/growers who created the two leaf- form? Are there other people who got similar mutations on their Coleus?

This message was edited Oct 9, 2009 6:30 PM

Thumbnail by Cumulus79
Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi, Cumulus,

There have been several 3 leafed babies in the yard. It just happens. But with all that you have, how far do you live from a nuclear plant? JUST KIDDING. For some strange reason, coleus love to do their own thing. When one plant sends out a shoot that's different from the rest of the plant it is called a "sport". Sometime they can be cut off and you have a new plant, but other times the new plant just goes back looking like the mother plant.

It's always some new with these kids.

Hap

Stockholm, Sweden

Hendrik,
great photos!

During my 16 years of coleus collecting, I've also had some three-leaved coleus every now and then, but alas - when they grew older and bigger, they all switched to normal shape with two nodes. It will be interesting to see if yours are going to grow different "all the way". Anyway, it is always interesting to see coleus play with nature!

PS: Hi Hap!!!

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi, Alice!

Plus, I think I got you beat. I had my first coleus about 62 years ago. Kept in in a glass in the kitchen window.

Hap

Londerzeel, Belgium

Well, to be honest, I have beaten Alice too because I got my first Coleus plant in 1992 (17 years agoo).
It was on the first year of my secondary school when the teacher took us into the school's greenhouse every month. We had to learn the names of 10 plants each time, and during the first greenhouse visit I fell in love with a Coleus plant standing in the rather big collection.
I took a small cutting when nobody was looking and started to grow it at home. After a couple of weeks it died, but the next month we had to go there again for learning the next 10 plants. I took another cutting but it died again after half a month. I kept trying it each time (once every month) we went in that greenhouse but there wasn't even a single plant I could keep alive. Probably I kept them too dark because I could only grow them indoor at that time. After two full years I had to give up because I switched from horticultural studies to biochemistry and there weren't greenhouse visits anymore and I couldn't take new cuttings from their Coleus.
I gave up until may 2006, when I discovered the same Coleus plant in a garden center. I bought the whole plant at once and this time I could grow it succesfully in the garden and my greenhouse.
And then there was internet, Daves Garden, Alice and you know the rest of the story :)
The school's Coleus was probably the Wizard Rose, which was the starter of this colorful hobby.

Hap: That was probably the reason why there's so much discussion about dismantling the nuclear power plants in Belgium ;)

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

wow

Stockholm, Sweden

:-)))) Okay, okay - so you both have beaten me timewise. But I probably have way MORE coleus than youuuuuu! nananananana-na.

Hendrik, what an interesting story about you not giving up when the coleus died for you over and over, it's heartwarming. So glad you finally found out how to make a coleus survive.

This message was edited Oct 14, 2009 9:47 AM

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

It's just because I'm old, Alice!!

Hap

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

whats "old" just a state of mind.

Londerzeel, Belgium

> So glad you finally found out how to make a coleus survive.

Well, actually I still haven't found out how to make a coleus survive, but there are allways a few alive at the end of the winter ;)

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I always over produce my cuttings for that same reason.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Me, too!

Denville, NJ(Zone 6b)

me three!!

Londerzeel, Belgium

Same story here, I took nearly 150 cuttings last year to play it safe and there were 18 or 19 coleus left when winter ended. Most of them died on january 11 because they all stood in the greenhouse and the temperature dropped to 24F that day while it was -15F outside. The survivors were standing on a stone shelf with oil lamps beneath it so they didn't get frozen.
Now I have around 50 Coleus at my working place, 50 Coleus at home inside and another 50 in the greenhouse, so there should be more surviving.
Most of them are still in big jugs of water because I ran out of pots to plant them :s
Hope they'll survive in water until I can find new pots somewhere...

Thumbnail by Cumulus79
Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Is the flowering plant a Gloxinia?
Its beautiful.
My grandmother loved them.

Londerzeel, Belgium

No, it's a Streptocarpus cultivar.
The white flowers with pink shades is called Branwen, and the purple- blue flowers are Bethan Blue.
I'm very happy about them because I can keep them flowering almost 6 months a year. They do great in dappled shade but start wilting and stop flowering when exposed to summer sun.
Most people who visit the greenhouse love them, and even the mealy bugs are very attracted to those cute flowers (didn't knew they have green thumbs too ;) )

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

WOW lovely.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Cumulus,

About 62 years ago I was given coleus to grow on my mother's kitchen window sill. They grew about forever and we just kept changing the water. When they would get too leggy, we'd cut them down and start over. Heaven only knows which ones they were, but they were mine and I loved them. So don't worry about the water.


Hap

Fenton, MI(Zone 5b)

Hey Cumulus,
Do you grow your cuttings in clay balls only? Or do you have a mix there?
Looks very clean must keep out the bugs and molds.
Please advise. Do you do anything else special or different with watering etc....
Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.
I also have lots of coleus cuttings overwintering. About 10 flats.
Just want to here other secrets and stories.
Julie

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

10 flats!? Now I feel SO much better.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Simmer down pirl.....that doesn't mean you can do more just to keep up. LOL

Hap

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'm content with the 350 I have but we will not discuss how many cuttings I have of each of them, okay?

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

My ears are sealed!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

You're the best!

You did get me started long ago with coleus cuttings. I hope you remember!

Thank you!

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Yes, I do, sweetie. I does seem long ago.

BTW, you would have a couple of India Frills in your playpen? I'd pay postage. Lost mine a couple of years ago and HD, etc., have just about stopped selling coleus. Go figure.

Hap

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/37773/

I don't have names for all of them but tell me which photo on Plant Files you feel meets the description of it for you and I will look at mine. NO postage required!

I really do know that they are all photos of India Frills!

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Arlene.

Thanks. The first photo is what looks the most like of what I had.

Nancy

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'll look in the morning when the lighting is better, Nancy. I know I have similar ones but can't be sure of an exact match.

Beaumont, TX(Zone 8b)

Hi,

Hap, I have India Frills still growing. I too would be happy to send some your way (no postage). They are much lighter now than when I took those photos in the plantfiles. It's the very same plant as shown in the photos though. I was amazed at how well that one did in the many holes coleus pot. That and inky toes were the only ones to survive over the last winter with no protection at all. What really amazes me is that it started out as a little cutting and practically took over the ground below it this year.

Londerzeel, Belgium

Julie,

Those coleus are growing on pure clay pebbles. No soil at all.
I found out that they grow up to 4 times faster than the other bunch of coleus growing in regular soil, so I can gather fresh cuttings at a much faster rate.
To feed the plants there are two big containers of water in the geenhouse. The first one contains goldfish (shubunkins) which are fed by algae and/or duckweed I put in it at regular times, or occasionally with fish food when I run out of duckweed. The second container is where I put the eggs of the fish in when they are pregnant. This prevents the big fish to eat the small fish and eggs. When they grow older the fish of the first container goes in the garden pond where they replace the fish I lost by cats, heron birds or old age. Then I put the fish of the second container in the first one so I can put new eggs in the second one at the next spring.
Now, what has all of this to do with the coleus?
Well, I water them with the 'fish water' of the containers and I refill the containers with fresh rainwater. That way the fish have allways fresh water while the Coleus get nutrient rich fish water. Sometimes I need to add plant fertilisers because there's not enough fish to feed all my plants when too many coleus survive the winter (doesn't mean that I don't want them to survive ;) ) .

This system works very good. Most hydroponical gardeners use Tilapia as fish, but I have choosen for Shubunkins because they don't need warm water and I can get free replacements for the fish I loose in the garden pont.
Concerning diseases, I never have to deal with nematodes and other bugs in the plant roots, but aphids and mealy bugs are a pain, just as plants in regular soil. In stead of nematodes I have to deal with root fungus, so I don't think hydroponic or regular soil are better when it comes to diseases.
However, if you can keep the roots above 60F there is no root disease at all and you'll have a slight advantage against soil culture.

I hope this information was useful for you :)

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Its usefull to me too

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Thanks kids, and I will say yes.

Cumulus, that's quite an operation you have going there. Don't know if I would remember which is tank #1, tank #2, etc. Keeps you on your toes for sure.

I live on a small lake and my sprinkler system takes from it, so every time it goes on, all my yard and my gardens, which are larger than the yard, get the fish emulsion water.

Blessed here.

Hap

Londerzeel, Belgium

Finally, I made it to put all the Coleus in pots. Just in time, because the ones standing in jugs of water were rotting.
Now I have 117 Coleus in the greenhouse, 35 Coleus inside and 35 Coleus at my working place (will be extended to 50)
Guess how many Coleus plants will be left next spring (may 1st) and you get free cuttings from me. (must be higher than 0)

The ones who want to try hydroponics, it doesn't need to be that complicated: use a liquid fertiliser at 30% strength and water the plants with it. They will grow too without need of the fish circulating system

Thumbnail by Cumulus79
(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

What purpose do the candles serve? Just curious.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

The candles are adorable. Arlene, ever hear of bottom heat? Bet you that's their way.

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