Ask a Question forum: Best way to root coleus cuttings

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GrammaChar
Nov 16, 2017 2:11 PM CST
I recently saw a post where a member had several coleus cuttings rooting in water. Eureka! I was excited!

Thumb of 2017-11-16/GrammaChar/19e1ab

I have several large plants that won't survive the winter, so this seemed like the answer! Sure enough, the stems rooted right away.

Thumb of 2017-11-16/GrammaChar/75a291

So what's the problem? Well, during some late-night research, I read that "water roots" won't adapt when planted in soil. Oh. Now I'm perplexed. As an experiment, I also stuck some cuttings in potting soil under fluorescent lights.

Thumb of 2017-11-16/GrammaChar/20c8cf

Can't tell if they've rooted yet. My question is: which way do you think is better? I'd like some advice before I do a lot of whacking. Thanks for your help.
GrammaChar
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Nov 16, 2017 3:20 PM CST
Yep! I've done that. And, most of the time, the transition is made without much problem. Unless the fact that the cutting has to root all over again is a problem... Smiling

The best way is to slowly replace the water in your jar with potting soil. Get the potting soil wet and pour it in. At first, the soil will swirl down and mix with the roots without much work but as the water is replaced by soil, it becomes more and more difficult. Try not to disturb the roots or move the cuttings in your container as plants can't root in shifting soil. You might want to move your cuttings to a container that you can gently lift the plants out of after the new roots have grown. Otherwise, you will be breaking canning jars (been there).

The cuttings you have in soil will not put on new top growth until they are rooted. As long as they don't wilt or rot, all is well.

When rooting in soil or in water/soil try to find potting soil without added fertilizer. After your new plants are established and growing, feed with 1/4 strength fertilizer.

Have fun!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Will Creed
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WillC
Nov 16, 2017 3:30 PM CST
When moving water-rooted cuttings to soil, it is important to maintain a delicate balance between moisture and oxygen around the fragile roots as they make the transition. Use small pots with a porous mix of 3 parts peat moss and 1 part perlite. Then keep the soil damp but not wet or dry. They require constant monitoring until the transition is made. Experimentation and experience help a lot.

BTW, I know the conventional wisdom is to discard Coleus at the end of summer. However, they can be maintained quite nicely indoors through the winter. In the fall, they do start to fade as the daylight is reduced. However, if you prune them back sharply, keep them on a sunny windowsill and maintain the soil moisture they will come back nicely and quickly and look good through the winter.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 16, 2017 4:02 PM CST
I tend to sound like a broken record on the subject of rooting cuttings. I prefer the Forsyth Pot method. (Lots of information all over the internet.) I use Vermiculite as the medium and, after the cuttings have formed roots, I do not remove any Vermiculite that adheres to the roots. Just plant the rooted cuttings in your preferred type of planting medium and...no problems yet.

I first learned about this method from zuzu'spetals when I was a member of PlantSwap.net:
http://www.plantswap.net/forum...

https://www.extension.umn.edu/...

By the way, the originator of this method...his surname was Forsyth...not Forsythe. And of course, he was Scottish. Hurray!
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Nov 16, 2017 4:48 PM CST
I was thinking about the Forsyth method but couldn't remember the name or exactly how to do it. Glad you popped in Greene.

I understood GrammaChar's problem to be that she had already rooted the cuttings and was wondering what to do next, hence my solution.

Coleus are perennial - I have kept them as house plants for years. They take a lot of pruning to keep a reasonable size.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 16, 2017 5:16 PM CST
DaisyI said:
Coleus are perennial


Yes, Coleus aka Solenostemon scutellarioides are perennials in a tropical climate, sold and grown as 'tender perennials' in some areas, and in many areas are sold to be grown as annuals. Yes, we can keep them alive by bringing cuttings into the house. Thumbs up

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Texas (Zone 8a)
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GrammaChar
Nov 16, 2017 5:34 PM CST
Thanks to all for your replies.
@WillC - The coleus *could* be discarded, but there are several colors that I might not be able to replicate next spring. Plus I'm cheap....I mean thrifty. Smiling And I hate to see a plant go to waste.

@Daisyl - I have not yet done any major pruning because I wanted to experiment first with just a few cuttings. Having never done coleus before, I was worried about ending up with a bunch of mushy stems. Your note about "house plants for years" has given me hope.

@greene - BRILLIANT! I'm off tomorrow to buy vermiculite. I am very excited to try this method!!! I tip my hat to you.

You guys are great! What a wealth of information! I appreciate all the good advice

GrammaChar
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Nov 18, 2017 5:27 AM CST
I keep some Coleus cuttings in water until spring. They fit easily on windowsills that way. This allows me to have hundreds of plants to use in the spring.
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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
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lauriebasler
Nov 21, 2017 12:46 AM CST
I stick them in water and in soil. Both work. If you want to grow to plant in soil, leave only 4 or 6 small leaves. If you are growing in water to enjoy, they can keep a large amount of leaf. Both methods work very well.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Nov 21, 2017 12:50 AM CST
I stick them in water and in soil. The ones in soil become plants as pretty as they were outside, but bloom so much I remove most of the flowers because the blooms are larger than the stems, and I fear the plant would grow better without that competition. The ones in water are lovely too.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Nov 21, 2017 10:20 AM CST
Yes, the other cuttings of mine that aren't in water (which are only some) are stuck directly in pots.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Luda
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
mishkab
Nov 21, 2017 11:18 AM CST
I grew up in Moscow (huge city with cold winters and no soil). The only gardening was indoors. Coleus was one of the most easy plant to grow. We used water rooting. No hormones, no vermiculite, and no problems in transition to soil. What I like about water method is that you can put whole bunch of cuttings in a jar and they can sit there for couple months. Yes the roots will be huge, but it saves a lot of space. Now I use just water for clematis and roses. It works!
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Nov 23, 2017 1:24 AM CST
Thank you for the process @Greene. I will be trying this one. Finally I have a use for some vermiculite in the shed. Sounds like the smoothest method of all.

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