Ask a Question forum: How to revive Coleus that I thought was dead for 3 weeks

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San Jose, CA
craigsc
Dec 14, 2016 1:12 AM CST
Hi,

First off, I'm a total novice.

I had this Coleus plant that seemed to die quite abruptly in mid-late Nov. I left it outside on my apartment porch for a few weeks and today I went out to look at it. All the branches and leaves are hanging completely limp over the sides of the pot, but I see vibrant green leaves growing at the ends of the branches, which I don't think were there before (but I can't remember 100%).

Questions are
1. Am I correct in assuming if the plant was truly dead, the green leaves wouldn't remain after weeks of leaving it outside without watering it. Do I have hope for this plant
2. What is the best strategy to rehab it (Sorry if this is a newbie question. I researched, but it seems there are different strategies depending if the cause of issue was disease, overwatering, etc. I'm not sure how to determine what the cause was)

I am attaching several photos of the plant. There is one photo of the dead leaves that I picked off to show the contrast between those and the green leaves. Temperature outside has been around 60F daytime 40-50 nightime

I've brought the plant indoors for now

I appreciate anyone's guidance. Hopefully by interacting on this forum, I will be able to upgrade my planting knowledge.


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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Dec 14, 2016 5:45 AM CST
Coleus is generally easy to root from cuttings. This will be tough, though, as there is not a lot of healthy stem to plant.
I have had coleus struggle with some condition that makes the stem turn brown gradually, from the soil up, as if a disease. Hard to say if the brown stems here came before or caused the death of this plant, or came after.

It may not be worth the effort, but you could try cutting the tips off and planting them, keep them warm and bright,not direct sun, hope they root. Even failure is a learning experience.
You will learn a lot by reading about others experiences and trying things. Welcome (if you are new)!
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Dec 14, 2016 8:57 AM CST
I'm with Sally - try to root the ends by cutting them off and either sticking the ends of the stems in moist soil (keep it moist until you see growth) or just lay the cuttings on top of the soil and see if they make some roots.

Coleus are a terrific plant for novice gardeners, as they really are very hard to kill. Your plant made babies off what was left of the fleshy stems here.

I wouldn't use the soil in that pot you have, though. Buy some new potting mix to try and root the growing stems. As Sally mentioned, it might be a fungal infection that killed your plant from the bottom up (IF it wasn't the lack of water for 3 weeks). Btw. Coleus will do much better and have nicer colors in your warm dry environment if you keep it in some shade.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
San Jose, CA
craigsc
Dec 14, 2016 12:55 PM CST
Thanks to both you for the advice.

Possibly it was an infection because I had a few other plants have issues that were in the same area.

Ok so I won't use the same soil as dyzzypyxxy said. I assume because soil carries the infection.

And I will cut the stems (keeping only green healthy stem) and reroot them in fresh soil.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Dec 14, 2016 12:59 PM CST
I have a similar problem with a Coleus on my back porch. I snipped off a few ends and put them in a jar of water for a couple of days and they perked right up (the leaves were VERY droopy looking). You can also root them in water. I've had better luck with water than soil for rooting Coleus, but that could just be because I don't keep the soil moist enough.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
San Jose, CA
craigsc
Dec 15, 2016 12:47 AM CST
I just cut the stems. They're really short. Not sure how that affects things (pictures included)

I also cut another really short stem and put it in a bowl of water as woofie suggested. The stem is so short, so the leaves are basically floating on top the water.

So I guess I'll monitor and see if it starts to root.

Thanks for the help!



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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Dec 15, 2016 6:57 AM CST
Those stems are just fine, in length. Now Crossing Fingers!
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Dec 15, 2016 7:44 AM CST
Did you enclose the pot and cuttings in something that will keep the humidity level higher? With no roots many cuttings will not survive unless the water loss from their leaves is minimized by enclosing in a plastic bag, dome or something like that.

Propagating Plants by Cuttings from Missouri Botanical Garden:
http://www.missouribotanicalga...
[Last edited by sooby - Dec 15, 2016 7:45 AM (+)]
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Dec 15, 2016 10:18 AM CST
Putting some sort of dome over them is most important for the cuttings in soil. I did a test once using petunia cuttings, and the covered ones did MUCH better. I haven't noticed a difference with cuttings in water. But you do need to change the water often. Oh, and if you do use a cover of some sort, make sure it doesn't touch the leaves.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
San Jose, CA
craigsc
Dec 15, 2016 12:31 PM CST
Oh no. I didn't put a covering over it. Since Sally said the stems are long enough and woofie said putting in water is better , I think I'll put a cover over 1 stem and 1 stem I'll put in water.

At first I was going to ask if it's okay that the leaves are touching the water. But i just did some googling and I see how some people use a paper and poke a hole, then stick the stem through the hole so that the leaves stay above water. So I'll do that

Thanks again everyone
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Dec 15, 2016 12:55 PM CST
Coleus root very quickly, too. Just be careful potting them up when they do root. Those roots that form in water are rather delicate.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Dec 15, 2016 1:16 PM CST
They do root fast, but I would have removed maybe two more pairs of leaves on the lowest part of each cutting. It needs to focus its energy on root formation.
San Jose, CA
craigsc
Dec 27, 2016 11:31 PM CST
Here are pictures of my two rerooted stems. After I changed from tap water to bottled water, they started doing better. One of them has much stronger growth than the other, so for the slower one, I removed a couple leaves on the bottom as Tarev said

Thanks for helping get my first reroot project under my belt!

I saw some pictures of larger plants permanently growing in water in clear glass flask vases which looked really cool, so I may try to just grow more stuff in this fashion


Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Dec 27, 2016 11:39 PM CST
craigsc said:Here are pictures of my two rerooted stems. After I changed from tap water to bottled water, they started doing better. One of them has much stronger growth than the other, so for the slower one, I removed a couple leaves on the bottom as Tarev said

Thanks for helping get my first reroot project under my belt!

I saw some pictures of larger plants permanently growing in water in clear glass flask vases which looked really cool, so I may try to just grow more stuff in this fashion




I don't see any pictures, but it's possible that my network blocks them.

For what it's worth, coleus is one of the easiest plants to root. I have the same tricolor version that I've been rooting since last spring. I love how fun they are to grow.
Keep going!
San Jose, CA
craigsc
Dec 28, 2016 12:02 AM CST
Whoops, here's the 2 pictures


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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Dec 28, 2016 12:03 AM CST
Awesome! Those look like with some careful attention they'll be fine. Coleus is wonderful.
Keep going!
San Jose, CA
craigsc
Dec 28, 2016 12:03 AM CST
God I'm horrible. I posted the same picture twice. Here's the other one
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Dec 28, 2016 12:06 AM CST
Hah. No worries. :)

Just curious, have you ever grown coleus from seed? I have found that doing so is relatively easy. And you get all sorts of random colors and leaf forms that you can't predict. Every year I buy one of those cheap "coleus mix" packets and see what happens.

This past year I got this odd three-color version with big, bulky, leaves.
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Keep going!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Dec 28, 2016 6:37 AM CST
congrats, thanks for the update Thumbs up
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)

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