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Growing coleus from seed.

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Project by Iris43 posted 08-09-2011 12:09 PM 4839 views 3 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started in the early spring, thinking I’d do a project re. growing coleus, even took a few pics. Then with the growing season in full swing it got shelved. With MsDeb’s new ‘Gateway’ subject this morning, it reminded me of my project.

So here’s all you wanted to know (and maybe some you’re not interested in knowing) about my experience growing coleus….from seed. :D

Last year, 2010, I decided to try and grow some coleus from seed. For some reason, I had this feeling that coleus was difficult to grow…...probably from the price you pay for one plant at the nurseries. But after seeing GardenTender member, Louise’s wonderful garden full of coleus, I really wanted some of those beautiful plants in my gardens.

I picked up a pkg of seed at a local nursery, McKenzie’s New Brilliant Mix. It had maybe a thousand seeds in the pkg. (they are tiny). I think every seed germinated! You would have thought that would have given me a hint of how easy these are to grow. But just in case I had a major die-off, I coddled and planted every one of those seedlings! Needless to say, they were a huge success and every friend, relative and neighbour received seedlings for their gardens. I’m surprised I still have friends…...but they came back for more this year. LOL

With that success under my belt, this year I decided I wanted more variety. During the winter, I kept my eyes open for a selection of coleus at any of the seed stands I came across. If I had ordered from seed catalogues I could have found more variety but I resent having to pay almost $8 in postage and handling for a $2 pkg of seed.

One of my local nurseries carries many of the more reliable seed suppliers, such as, Burpees, McKenzies, O.S.C. and Livingstons. I picked up the following pkg.

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I started the seeds in a good growing medium, in a cell tray with a humidity dome around the last week in March. Once again, I had good germination. I think every seed germinated….you think I would have remembered and saved some of the seed for next year. This picture was taken after I had started to remove the seedlings from the tiny cells, where there were upwards 10 seedling in each cell. (well, I told you the seeds are tiny!)

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The coleus still in the cells in this pic is New Brilliant Mix. The empty cells are from where I have already transplanted, Wizard Mix and Watermelon.

I transplanted each seedling into it’s own large cell.

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As soon as the weather began to warm up I began harding-off the seedlings by putting in the doorway of my garage. From there I can move them outside on warmer days and back into the garage on cooler days. I close the garage door during the cool spring nights.

This picture shows just a fraction of the seedlings I had started. I gave many away to new homes as soon as I coud so I would not have to ‘baby-sit’ them myself. :)

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Even though I was able to find many adoptive homes for my seedlings I still had lots to plant for myself. And I planted, and planted…..

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And then I planted some more…....

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But I have to admit, I’m satisfied with the results…..as are many of my friends. And I’m all ready to do it again next year!

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-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'



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Iris43

3811 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 5a

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14 comments so far

View sharad's profile

sharad

1648 posts in 1934 days
hardiness zone 11

posted 08-09-2011 01:23 PM

Iris, fantastic pictures of your successful growing of coleus from seeds. They are so decorative or ornamental that every garden should have them. They can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. I will include them in my terrace garden.

Sharad

-- Bagwan-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View jroot's profile

jroot

5088 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 08-09-2011 03:18 PM

Beautiful foliage! I planted some from seeds this year also, but not nearly as many as you did. They have done well for me. You have inspired me to seek out some of the truly different ones for next year.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View justjoel's profile

justjoel

1063 posts in 2098 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 08-09-2011 06:16 PM

Okay, that’s going to be top on my seed purchase list for next year. Lovely, Iris43.

-- "We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 08-09-2011 08:53 PM

You’re right, Sharad, the coleus is easily propagated through cuttings if I was trying to save some through the winter. But since I go away during the winter for 4 weeks or more, I would need someone to ‘baby-sit’ the plants. This is why I find starting from seed works best for me. The seed is relatively inexpensive and so far my friends and relatives have been happy to relieve me of any excess seedlings I produce.

Jroot, I’d be interested in seeing pics of the coleus you are growing. Do you think you will try and save seed from them? I am going to try and catch the seed from some of my favorites from the New Brilliant Mix. There was such a lot of variety in that pkg of seed…...and some were different from the ones I grew last year.

Joel, while coleus is strickly an ordamental plant, I think you will enjoy growing it. I’ll be looking for them in your pictures next year. :)

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View jroot's profile

jroot

5088 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 08-10-2011 07:22 AM

Iris, the coleus I grew this year were nothing spectacular. It was interesting though, just to try. Next year …

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 08-10-2011 07:42 AM

I understand, jroot. I know you have other priorities with the brugs, dahlias and geraniums.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View jroot's profile

jroot

5088 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 08-10-2011 03:52 PM

Iris, here is a quick shot of my seedlings – taken tonight after work, and before company arrives.

Nothing special. Just nice shade plants under the tree and behind some miscanthus sinensis malepartus ornamental grass.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View justjoel's profile

justjoel

1063 posts in 2098 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 08-10-2011 04:13 PM

Are coleus sun or shade loviing. How does it handle the heat?

-- "We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 08-10-2011 04:36 PM

Jroot, your coleus are beautiful! Are they from McKenzie’s ‘New Brilliant Mix’? I think your setting is perfect for them with the delicate-coloured impatiens in front and the long grasses behind. Very nice!

Joel, I find the new varieties of coleus are very tolerant of the sun, although they do still require some shade. They need to be kept well watered, but otherwise did well in the extreme heat we experienced this summer.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View Methane's profile

Methane

33 posts in 1293 days

posted 08-12-2011 01:10 AM

Perfect information. I hope it really work out. Nice explaination with pics also.

-- http://www.hellotrade.com/tenders/

View Cynthia's profile

Cynthia

651 posts in 2123 days

posted 08-13-2011 11:43 AM

Iris: I found your blog very informative. Each year, I buy a couple of Coleus as I love their bright colours. Jroot and Sharad have both said that they are easy to grow…I think that I will try starting them from cuttings and from seed. But just a few seeds as I do not want to have too many! Thank you for the info! I want to grow some red ones and start some of the bright green and white that I already have. So, thank you again.

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4308 posts in 1980 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 08-14-2011 06:51 AM

Great post, Iris. I really like the bright variety of colors you can find in coleus leaves. They can really brighten up a shady area in the garden. If they were only perennials or would only reseed themselves right in my garden…. Instead I will just enjoy the photos that you and Jroot post.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 2497 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 08-14-2011 09:48 AM

I love the way you have mixed all the different colors of the coleus together Iris.They look really great.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

3 posts in 2596 days

posted 08-16-2011 11:49 AM

Very nice information!!! Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Never time to do it right but always time to do it over....grrrrrrrrr!

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