This very popular plant from the family Lamiaceae (Lamiaceae) came to us from the tropical regions of Asia and Africa. Botanists attribute it to the genus Coleus, and among flower growers it is known as nettles, since the leaves and shoots in shape are very similar to dioecious nettle.
Varieties of coleus hybrid with variegated leaves from cream and lemon yellow to dark red and almost black tones are common in culture, which, in addition, can vary in shape and size.
Coleus flowers are small, light lilac, gathered in spike-shaped inflorescences. Despite the fact that the plant is extremely simple in maintenance and care, there are some subtleties of agricultural technology, not considering them, it is difficult to achieve a high decorative effect.
This tropical perennial in the open ground in temperate latitudes is used only as an annual, but with constant maintenance in room culture it has to be rejuvenated annually.
Coleus needs a lot of sunlight. With its deficiency, the leaves lose their color, become smaller, the stem stretches. During the autumn-winter period, the plant loses its bright painted leaves, the stems are exposed, so in the spring, when the shoots start to grow, the tops of them are cut into cuttings. They easily give roots in water, after which they are planted in a light substrate and watered abundantly. The second time and in the future they begin to water only after the top layer of the earth has dried.
© Andrey Korzun
You should not worry if, during the whole time of rooting, the leaves on the handle remain sluggish, and the old lower ones gradually fall off. After the stalk planted in the ground is properly rooted, it is necessary to pinch its top so that lateral shoots begin to grow from the axillary buds. It is better to form a coleus with a bush, pinching the second or third pair of leaves on the newly emerging shoots.
© Derek Ramsey
Cuttings are planted in small pots, and then, as necessary, are transferred to a more spacious bowl. After 1-1.5 months, the base stem is lignified and this protects it from decay in the event of overmoistening of the soil. Despite the fact that Coleus needs abundant watering in the summer, the formation of “swamps” in the pot should not be allowed. The root ball should be slightly moist, but not too saturated with water or too dry. Even short-term drying it often leads to the death of the plant, and once the hanging leaves of their original position are no longer accepted.
© Rufino Osorio
Peduncles are removed when they appear or when they will be no more than 1-1.5 cm long. If this is not done, then the leaves, starting from the bottom, will soon begin to fall off, their color will fade.
© Derek Ramsey
Coleus is best fed with fertilizers for flowering plants (in my opinion, the Dutch Pokon fertilizer has proven itself best). This will give an impetus to the appearance of a large number of peduncles, after the removal of which the color of the leaves becomes brighter. The pot with the plant must be rotated 180 ° once a week. This will prevent the shoots from being pulled toward the light.
© Derek Ramsey
In summer, he can be planted in a garden pot or in a drawer on the balcony. And, of course, he is unusually good at mixborders, and flower beds from his various varieties are magnificent against the background of the lawn.
© Cole Shatto
- I. Dmitrieva. Moscow. - Flower grower, No. 4-2007