Did you know that you can grow coleus indoors as a houseplant with ease? And even better, do it entirely for free simply by taking a cutting from an existing coleus plant – or by saving an entire potted coleus plant from your outdoor porch, patio or deck?
Coleus has become one of the hottest plants of all for growing in the summer landscape. With varieties that can grow foliage in a seemingly endless rainbow of bold, near neon-like colors, they are perfect for filling flowerbeds, containers and hanging baskets with big interest.
But unfortunately, in most climates, coleus grows as an annual. And a very tender one at that! Coleus plants are extremely vulnerable to the slightest bit of cold weather. In fact, so vulnerable, that they usually are one of the first plants to shrivel and die off from even the lightest of frosts.
But here’s the good news – just because a cold snap might spell the end of your coleus plants outdoors – it doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying the beauty their foliage can bring through the long, cold winter months. That’s because coleus just happens to grow great indoors as a houseplant too.
And when spring and summer happen to roll back around next year – you can have ready-to-grow coleus plants for your flowerbeds or containers – all for free!
Coleus As A Houseplant – How To Grow Coleus Indoors
When it comes right down to it, coleus actually makes for a perfect houseplant. Native to Asia and the Australian coast, they are actually a perennial in warm or tropical environments.
As long as coleus is not subjected to freezing temperatures, it will grow for several years without issue. As a member of the mint family, it can grow in less than ideal conditions. Much like other plants in the mint family, it also handles container growing with ease.
The colorful plant doesn’t require long hours of light to grow. Nor does it need a tremendous amount of soil fertility to produce its signature foliage. In fact, all you really need to grow coleus indoors is a warm room with a sunny window.
But perhaps best of all, creating your own coleus houseplants couldn’t be easier! Or more economical for that matter. If you happen to be growing coleus outdoors in the summer, they are surprisingly easy to save as a houseplant.
You can actually save entire potted plants by bringing them indoors for the winter. Or, if your plants are too big or happen to be growing directly in flowerbeds, you can easily take a small cutting from an existing plant to create your houseplant.
And what if you don’t happen to have existing plants? No worries at all. Coleus plants also happen to be extremely easy and inexpensive to start right from seed indoors. With that in mind, here are the ins and outs of growing coleus indoors – from existing plants, cuttings, or by growing from seed!
Saving Potted Plants – Growing Coleus Indoors As A Houseplant
If you happen to have a potted plant on your porch, patio or deck, as long as you move it indoors before your first frost, it can be quite easy to grow and maintain as a potted houseplant.
Locate existing potted plants where they can receive at least 6 hours of light each day. Placing them near a southern facing window is ideal. A southern facing window provides the best opportunity to capture the sun’s winter arc.
Coleus does not require excessively warm temperatures to survive indoors. As long as the room stays above 60 degrees (F) the plants should perform well. Coleus likes moist, humid conditions. Be sure to water regularly and keep the soil moist.
In addition, keep plants away from drafts and heating vents to keep the plant from drying out. Finally, as when growing coleus indoors or outdoors, remove any bloom stems that appear. Not only are the blooms small and less than showy, they also take massive energy away from the plant.
Creating Coleus Houseplant From A Cutting- Growing Coleus Indoors As A Houseplant
When growing outdoors during the summer months, coleus plants quite often grow overly large. This can often make bringing an entire plant indoors nearly impossible. In this case, taking a cutting from an existing plant is the answer!
Coleus plants propagate amazingly well from cuttings. Cuttings are not only a great way to create a houseplant, but to create tons of new plants during the summer to fill flowerbeds for free. All you need is a mature coleus plant, a pair of scissors and a small container filled with soil or water.
To take a cutting, first look for a long mature stem that has an apical stem. It sounds fancy, but the term apical simply means a mature stem that has a bud on the end of it. Next, cut the stem off at the base and remove the first few sets of leaves.
Rooting Your Cutting
At this point, you can either stick the stem into water or directly into soil to root. Both will work well, although placing the plant in water first will usually develop roots a bit faster. Coleus roots so easy, there is no need to use a rooting hormone.
If rooting in water, as soon as the coleus has developed roots a few inches long, the start can be transplanted into its final container. If starting in dirt directly, simply keep the soil moist while the plant roots.
Cuttings are an excellent way to keep the same line of plants going year after year. Not only does it save big on your garden budget, it allows you to keep your favorite colors alive and well with ease!
Growing Coleus From Seed- Growing Coleus Indoors As A Houseplant
If you are not fortunate enough to have coleus already growing, you can start your own houseplants from seed without any trouble at all.
Growing from seed has a lot of advantages for gardeners. First, it allows you to find unique and vibrant varieties that can be hard to purchase as plants in stores. But even more, you can start a lot of plants with a minimal investment in seed. Seed Link : Rainbow Mix Coleus Seed
Plant coleus seed directly into your container and place in the warmest room of your house. To keep humidity high and to speed germination, place plastic wrap over the container until the seed sprouts. Once the plant germinates, move to a sunny windowsill, keeping the soil moist with frequent watering.
It really is that easy to save and grow coleus indoors! Here is to trying your hand at growing coleus as a houseplant this year, and to having plenty on hand to plant next spring. And speaking of saving plants in the fall, be sure to check out our article on how to save your potted Asters inside as well : How To Save Potted Asters – Keeping Asters Alive Over Winter
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