When to cut back coleus?

Coleus Plant Has Flower Spikes: What To Do With Coleus Blooms

There are few more colorful and diverse plants than coleus. Coleus plants do not withstand freezing temperatures but cool, shorter days do spur an interesting development in these foliage plants. Do coleus plants have flowers? Coleus plant flowering begins as a signal that winter is coming and the plant should produce seed to continue its genetic dynasty. Flowering often leads to a rangy plant, however, so it is best to learn what to do with coleus blooms if you want to keep a compact, thickly leafed plant.

Do Coleus Plants Have Flowers?

Many gardeners are charmed by the spikes of tiny blue or white flowers produced on coleus at the end of the season. These little blooms make a charming cut flower or may be left to enhance the beauty of the plant. Once a coleus has flower spikes, though, it may become leggy and develop a less attractive form. You can stop this in its tracks with a little word of advice or enjoy the new display made by the energetic blooms – whatever you prefer.

Coleus are often thought of as shady foliage specimens that brighten up the dark corners of the garden. While this is somewhat true, the plants can also grow in full sun with some protection from noontime searing rays. The age of the plant and stress can contribute to the formation of blooms on your coleus.

Stress can come in the form of excess heat, dry conditions and late season cold nights. The plant knows it will die if continued exposure to unfavorable conditions continues, so it blooms to produce seed. Coleus plant flowering signals the end of the plant’s life cycle, and plants usually die soon after they are allowed to produce blooms.

Flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies and occasionally hummingbirds and add a significant color punch to the plant in hues of blue, white or lavender. You can just leave them on and enjoy the plant as an annual or take steps to encourage thicker growth and continued life in a greenhouse or cold frame.

What to Do With Coleus Blooms

What you do with the flower spikes is up to you. Leaving the flowers tends to cause less foliar development and leggier stems, probably because the plant is directing its energy to flower formation.

You can pinch off the spikes just as they are forming and redirect that energy back into leaf formation while helping create a more compact, thick form. Trim the stem back to the first growth node before the spike forms. Use scissors, pruners or just pinch off the growth on slender stems. Over time, new leaves will sprout from the cut area and fill in the space left by the spike.

Alternately, you can let the blooms grow and produce seeds. If a coleus plant has flower spikes, simply wait until the petals fall off and a small fruit is formed. Seeds are tiny and will show themselves when the capsule or fruit splits. Save these in a plastic bag until you are ready to plant them. Coleus plants are easy to start from seed, either indoors or outside when temperatures are at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C.).

Sowing Coleus Seeds

Coleus may be started with cuttings or seeds. If you saved your seeds, you can plant them at any time if growing them indoors. If you intend to use them outside, wait until soil temperatures have warmed up and all danger of frost has passed, or sow them indoors in flats 10 weeks before the date of your last frost.

Sow the seed into moistened sterile medium in flats. Cover the tiny seeds with a fine sifting of the medium. Cover the tray with a plastic lid and keep moist in a warm location until sprouting occurs.

Thin the seedlings and transplant them to larger pots when they have two sets of true leaves. Grow them on in containers indoors until outdoor temperatures are at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C.) and then gradually harden them off before transplanting them to containers or prepared garden beds.

In this way, the flower spikes can adorn the plants for added appeal and provide a new generation of the plants for years to come.

It’s time to cut the coleus — again

  • Chartreuse coleus glows in its winter pot Chartreuse coleus glows in its winter pot Photo: Contributed Photo/Colleen Plimpton, Contributed Photo

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Reader Joe Cunningham of Ridgefield asked what to do with his potted coleus plants, rescued from the cold of last autumn. They’re growing too tall on his windowsill and he wonders about taking cuttings and repotting. Funny he should ask … I’ve also been examining my vacationing coleus and have decided the time has come for drastic action.

Overwintering coleus is easy, and a terrific way to keep a favored annual going. Before first frost in autumn, snip a 2- to 8-inch tip from the healthy plant you wish to perpetuate. Make the cut near a node (where the “branches” join the stem). Strip lower leaves, grit your teeth and trim any hefty foliage in half.

This will spare the new plant-to-be the distress of supporting large leaves instead of expending its energy making roots. Examine closely to assure there are no Freddie the Freeloader hitchhiking insects that you don’t want to host in your home.

If you wish, dip the cut stem, up to and including the nodes, in powdered rooting hormone, and shake off any excess before planting. However, my cuttings do fine sans hormone. Plants want to grow, after all.

Place the cutting, dipped or not, in fresh, good quality potting soil. I like to use Miracle-Gro, with the fertilizer already incorporated. Gently tamp down around the baby, give it a slurp of water and place in a shaded spot indoors for a day or two until the newbie is acclimated.

Then gradually bring it into a sunny window where it’ll likely live until its debut in the spring garden. Water consistently; I give mine a good drink every Wednesday and Saturday.

That’s really all there is to it. Except … you’ll most likely have to repeat the process at least one time during the winter, lest your cuttings get too gangly. In my west-facing bow-window garden the time is now. Despite the harsh winter, the indoor cuttings are pot-bound and crying out for horticultural help.

So I’ll be spreading out the tools of my trade by the basement sink and repotting the teenagers into larger receptacles. However, some of the coleus have grown too big for their britches and will soon run me out of room, so I’ll take cuttings and start them anew. Whether or not you do this depends on how sizeable a plant you want for the spring.

One more thing. If you’ve kept your annual in the same pot from last year instead of taking cuttings, do it a favor and repot in fresh medium.

When the weather warms in May, harden off your vacationers. This means easing them into the wind and weather of the porch or patio a step at a time, over a week or so. But watch the temperature. You don’t want to lose your babies to a cold snap.

Joe presented a good, timely query, one that’s shared by many gardeners on the cusp of spring. Do you have a question I can help with?

Contact Colleen Plimpton with gardening questions at [email protected]

Herbology class is taught by Professor Sprout and will reward up to 100 empathy attribute points depending on class duration (1, 3, or 8 hours). Additionally gold, gems, energy, and more attribute points will be reward during the class. Please view our general Hogwarts Mystery Class Guide for more information and strategy on classes.

As you progress through Herbology class one of three random mini-games will need to be completed: stopping an expanding circle within a specific location, tracing a shape with your finger, and answer a question from a professor or fellow student. Each question will have 3 multiple choice selections with 1 correct answer. There is a pool of general questions which are covered in our Class Guide while questions which we have specifically encountered in Herbology Class will be covered below. Correct answers are in Green.

Herbology Class Questions

These questions are specific to Herbology.

Dittany is used primarily for what purpose?
Healing

Wiggentrees are guarded by what creature?
Bowtruckle

Which of these plants bloom instantly?
Puffapod

Mimbulus Mimbletonia secretes what substance?
Stinksap

What plant helps you breathe underwater?
Gillyweed

Which of these plants is a class-C non-tradable substance?
Venomous Tentacula

Where do first-years have Herbology Class?
Greenhouse One

What plant’s pus clears up acne?
Bubotuber

What is the best way to extract juice from the Sopophorous Bean?
Crush it

What part of a Mandrake is potentially fatal?
Its scream

What covers the distinct nettle leaf?
Stinging Hairs

Where are the highest quality Shrivelfigs grown?
Abyssinia

What’s another name for Belladonna?
Deadly Nightshade

Screechsnaps are capable of doing which of the following?
Move & Make Noise

General Class Questions

The following are general questions which we have encountered in Herbology class, vew our Hogwarts Mystery Class Guide for a full list of questions.

Who previously held Snape’s post?
Horace Slughorn

Who is the conductor of the Frog Choir?
Filius Flitwick

Who is the Histroy of Magic professor?
Professor Binns

Who is the Potions professor?
Severus Snape

Who is the Caretaker of Hogwarts?
Filch

Who is the Gamekeeper of Hogwarts?
Rubeus Hagrid
Who teaches Care of Magical Creatures?
Silvanus Kettleburn

What is the name of the Wizard village near Hogwarts?
Hogsmeade

Please let us know if we missed any questions. Good luck in your quest to discover the Cursed Vaults!

Start from Year 3 , by Professor Sprout

Question by Professor Sprout

Q: Professor Sprout is the head of which Hogwarts house?
A: Hufflepuff
Q: What covers the distinct nettle leaf?
A: Stinging Hairs
Q: What plant helps you breathe underwater?
A: Gillyweed
Q: Where do first-years have Herbology class?
A: Greenhouse One
Q: Which of these plants bloom instantly?
A: Puffapod
Q: Which of these plants is a Class C non-tradeable substance?
A: Venomous Tentacula
Q: Which part of a Mandrake is potentially fatal?
A: Its scream
Q: Which plant’s pus clears up acne?
A: Bubotuber
Q: Which potion does not contain Valerian Sprigs
A: Polyjuice Potion

Question by Tonks

Q: What does Professor Vector teach?
A: Arithmancy
Q: What is the name of Filch’s cat?
A: Mrs Norris
Q: What is the name of the Hogwarts poltergeist?
A: Peeves
Q: Where did Rowan Khanna grow up ?
A: A Tree Farm
Q: Who is the Caretaker of Hogwarts?
A: Filch
Q: Who is the Gamekeeper of Hogwarts?
A: Rubeus Hagrid
Q: Who is the Transfiguration Professor?
A: Minerva McGonagall
Q: Who previously held Snape’s post?
A: Horace Slughorn

Quick link to others class

You’ve taken great care of your air plant and finally got to enjoy the beautiful flowers that a blooming air plant produces. Yay! But what happens next? Will your air plant bloom again? Is there any special care that a plant that has bloomed needs? We’re here to answer all your questions, and if you have one that isn’t answered below, feel free to email us [email protected]

First, air plants only bloom once, which may seem like a bummer, but is actually pretty cool; because you get to anticipate what the flowers might look like. Some air plants have blooms called an inflorescence or bloom spike that can last for many months, while others have short lived blooms that only last a couple of days. Some have one delicate flower, while others have multiple flowers that come from one bloom. So no, your plant might not bloom more than once, but they sure are stunning when they do bloom! Next up, they have a very exciting thing that happens; pup formation!

We have a blog post all about the blooming process you can read HERE, so to summarize, pups/offset are formed after a plant blooms. You might notice that after blooming your plant may be a little dry or wilted. During blooming the plant sends most of its energy and nutrients to the bloom, and now it will spend its time sending most of its energy to the pups that it is working hard to grow. The best thing that you can do after an air plant blooms, is to continue watering it and giving it adequate sunlight. Now is also a good time to fertilize as this can help with pup growth. Soon you might notice tiny “pups” under the leaves of the mother plant. On air plants that have a bloom bract, stem, or inflorescence its advisable to remove the stem to allow the next phase of growth to start and allow the plant to push all its energy to the creation of offset.

Once there are a few pups that have formed, you might notice that your air plant is dying off, which is perfectly normal. The pups will continue to grow and the cycle will begin again!

So to answer a few questions:

-Can you leave the dried flowers on the air plant plant? Yes absolutely. You can also remove them for cosmetic reasons if you prefer. To do so, you can gently snip a bloom spike off of a plant, or pull the dried flowers from the blooms. Snipping a bloom spike will actually help spark pup formation as the plant will focus its energy on the pups rather than the bloom.

– Will the mother plant die? Eventually, yes. With proper care, they can last for a long time though, and if the pups are left to grow, they might even form a clump. Over time the new offset will take over, and the mother plant will slowly die off as it gives its energy to the pups.

-How long does it take for an air plant to bloom? Some plants take longer than others, and can grow for months or even years before they bloom. These larger, slower growing varieties include the xerographica, harrisii, fasciculata, etc. All of these plants will emit a bloom spike that can last months! Some plants such as the stricta, aeranthos, houston, etc. bloom quicker than others and all have stunning blooms.

That being said, with proper care, plants will bloom when they are ready, no need to rush it. You can fertilize to promote blooming, but the wait is part of the fun of collecting air plants!

Have you had any of your air plants bloom? Did they form pups afterwards?

Feel free to share photos of your plants in bloom with us on Facebook or Instagram @airplantdesignstudio

How To Propagate Coleus From Seed Or Cuttings

The shade-loving coleus is a favorite among shade and container gardeners. With its bright leaves and tolerant nature, many gardeners wonder if coleus propagation can be done at home. The answer is, yes, and quite easily. Taking coleus cuttings or growing coleus from seed is quite easy. Keep reading to learn more about how to propagate coleus.

How to Plant Coleus Seed

Growing coleus from seed starts with getting the seeds. Coleus seeds are fairly easy to find and should be available at nearly any store that sells flower seeds. If you are unable to find them at a store, many companies sell them online. Coleus seeds are typically sold as mixed, which will give you a nice variety in the foliage colors.

Start sowing coleus seed with a flat or container with a damp potting soil. Lightly sprinkle the coleus seeds over the soil. Mixing the seeds with fine sand before sowing can help you to spread the seeds more evenly with a bit more of a gap between the seeds.

After you have spread the coleus seeds, cover them with a fine layer of potting soil. Cover the container with plastic and place in a warm spot in bright, indirect light. You should see seedlings in about two weeks.

When you see the coleus seedlings, remove the plastic. Keep the soil moist as the seedlings grow. You will find it is less damaging to the coleus seedlings to water from below.

Once the seedlings are large enough to be handled (typically when they have two sets of true leaves), they can be transplanted to individual containers.

How to Root Coleus Cuttings

Equally as easy as growing coleus from seed is taking coleus cuttings to root and grow. Start this method of coleus propagation by finding a mature coleus plant. Using a sharp. Clean pair of scissors or shears, cut off as many coleus cuttings as desired. The cuttings should be between 4 to 6 inches. Make the cut for the cutting just below a leaf node.

Next, remove all of the leaves from the lower half of the cutting. If desired, dip the cutting in rooting hormone.

Prepare the soil you will be rooting the coleus cutting in by making sure that it is thoroughly moistened. Then stick a pencil into the soil. Place the coleus cutting into the hole made by the pencil. The soil should cover at least the bottom most leafless node. Push the soil back around the cutting.

Place the rooting container in a plastic zip top bag or cover the entire container with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic is not touching the cutting. If needed, use toothpicks of sticks to keep the plastic off the cutting. Place the container in bright, but indirect light.

The coleus cutting should root in two to three weeks. You will know it is rooted when you see new growth on the coleus cutting.

Alternately, another method for how to root coleus cuttings is in water. After taking your cuttings, place them in a small glass of water and place this in bright indirect light. Change the water every other day. Once you see roots grow, you can transplant the coleus cuttings into soil.

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