Ask a Question forum: Wintering Coleus

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Sparta, GA (Zone 7b)
Sep 8, 2016 3:55 PM CST
Someone recently gave me two coleus in pots and told me that this particular one will reseed itself. I planted several different kinds of Coleus last year and none of them reseeded themselves. I live in Georgia and did not expect them to. Is there something I'm missing? Should they all have reseeded? I do believe these will... But should I leave them in the pots or plant them in the ground? If I do keep them in the pots do they need to come in when it gets too cold?

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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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Sep 8, 2016 4:32 PM CST
Hi and welcome! We need to know the city in Georgia you live in - climates are pretty drastically different from Savannah to Atlanta to the western mountains. So if you were in Savannah, your Coleus might overwinter outside with some protection. But not inland where it freezes more often. Fill in your location on your profile so your city will come up in all your posts.

I took Coleus to my daughter's garden in Salt Lake City a couple of years ago. She keeps the plants on her windowsills indoors through the winter, then plants them out in the garden after it's warm in late spring. Then in the fall (oops, I'd better remind her now!) she takes cuttings before the plants get knocked back by frost, and starts new small plants indoors again. Coleus root very easily in just a glass, jar or vase of water. They'll be showing roots within a week or two after you cut them. Pot them up with fresh sterile potting soil and you're on your way to spring again.

This way, even the ones that don't re-seed themselves can be carried over the winter indoors, without bringing in pots and soil, or having huge unwieldy plants.

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Name: Suzanne
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Sep 9, 2016 12:33 AM CST

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I don't think it's a coleus. That looks more like a Perilla frutescens, a member of the mint family. Does it have a fragrance?
They are considered a perennial in zone 10-11, annual elsewhere. It's reported to freely self-seed in the garden. I suppose you could collect seed and sow them the following year after last date of frost. You could also overwinter the pots inside and also take cuttings.

Here is one from our database, not sure if it's the same variety.
Beefsteak Plant (Perilla frutescens 'Atropurpurea')
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[Last edited by Calif_Sue - Sep 9, 2016 12:36 AM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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Sep 9, 2016 8:22 AM CST
HI & welcome, CYM! Agree, your plant looks like Perilla frutescens, but isn't purple. Yours is probably the plain species.
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Sparta, GA (Zone 7b)
Sep 18, 2016 11:45 AM CST
Thanks guy! I'm in Sparta which is central... About 25 miles South of I-20. It would make sense that it is not Coleus. I think I will bring them inside for the winter and plant them next spring. The lady who gave them too me lives close by and said that they have reseeded all over her yard so I'm hoping mine will too! The deep purple will make a great accent to my color scheme.

I, too, rooted some Coleus last year and plan to do the same again. I've also heard you can dry seeds out from the bloom. Does anyone have any tips for that? I would love to cross breed some and see what happens. Thanks again for the help!

Just for fun I uploaded a photo of my coleus graveyard. Ive taken any stems that have broken off over the season and stuck them in. I guess the results shouldn't surprise me so much. They are so resilient!
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