Houseplants forum: Houseplant not in its best shape.

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parikishi
Feb 19, 2018 2:49 PM CST
Greetings community.

1. Can someone help me identify my house plant? (I know it's tropical)
2. The leaves are turning yellow and brown, I'm not 100% certain on what I should do to help it. (Been this way for 2 months now)
My plant has access to sun and shade.
3. I thought leaving water in the saucepan of a houseplant was healthy, as, they take water as needed. I'm reading mixed comments about whether this is healthy to do for a plant. Can someone clarify?

Sending my thanks and appreciation for your time.



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[Last edited by parikishi - Feb 19, 2018 2:50 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 19, 2018 3:29 PM CST
It looks like you have a Coleus. This plant is usually grown outdoors in cooler climates as an annual and discarded when the weather gets cold. However, it can also be grown as an indoor houseplant.

It requires a lot of direct sunlight indoors to do very well. Keep it on your sunniest windowsill.

Very few potted plants do well with their pots left sitting in water and this is not one of them. Water it from the top as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. Add enough water so that a bit trickles through the drain holes.

Yours is badly overgrown and needs to be pruned back sharply. Cut back all of the stems to a height of a few inches. That will remove the leggy stems and also most of the leaves. It will look terrible, but that's okay. It will get lots of healthy new leaves that will grow on the stems just below where you cut them back to. In a few weeks, you will have a much shorter, but more compact and less leggy plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Feb 19, 2018 6:24 PM CST
Yes, your plant looks like a variety of Coleus (Coleus scutellarioides)

I've never attempted to grow one as a houseplant so I can't offer advice on care but I agree, giving it more light and pruning it back as WillC suggested is a good idea. Many people root healthy stem cuttings for additional plants.
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parikishi
Feb 19, 2018 6:58 PM CST
Thank you for your time.
The tips you've provided was just what I needed in order to make this plant happier.
I'll look up how to trim stems as I've never done that to a plant before.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 19, 2018 7:11 PM CST
You don't really need to do research on how to do it because it is so easy. That hard part is getting up the courage to actually do it. Cut all of the stems down to a height of several inches above the soil. Use sharp scissors and make sharp cuts. You really cannot do it wrong. Just do it!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Feb 20, 2018 10:21 PM CST
@parikishi, yes Will is right. Most people who winter this plant over find that they just whack it down within a few inches. They root easily. I put a glass in south window with coleus starts with kitchen sink for humidity.

You really should give should try rooting the stems as well. Here is one way.

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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 23, 2018 10:31 AM CST
Cutting it that short defeats one purpose that one might have of bringing a Coleus inside for winter, that of being able to start spring with a BIG plant instead of a little seedling or small cutting. For a plant that has been inside for a few months, it does not look terrible at all, just stressed.

If that was your goal, or part of it, there is no need to cut anything if you do not want to, or you could do anything in-between doing nothing & cutting it down to a few inches. I'm happy to expand if you would like more information about this.

If a trim occurs, removed pieces can take root easily in water or soil to start new plants if interested.

If the roots have run out of room to grow, no amount or type of pruning/cutting of the above-soil parts can help them to be more healthy. If the soil is getting too dry at some points, &/or water is sitting in the drip tray at times, either situation could also cause the roots to be less than perfectly healthy. Whenever roots are not as healthy as they could be, the foliage will reflect this, any plant can only be as healthy as its' roots.

If the root ball can slide out of the pot and stay in the pot shape, and a
lot of roots are visible, that is when I repot a plant by removing the old soil, trimming any roots that are too big to fit back into the pot without bending, and replacing the soil back to the same level that it was before. Often plants fit easily back into the same pot, it just depends on the size of the root mass found once the old soil is removed.


Whenever plants of mine are going to be put in direct sun outside, I try to avoid dark colored pots if at all possible. Dark pots cause roots to become much hotter than necessary, pots become too hot to touch where I am, causing unnecessary stress to plants. Depending on your location, that would more or less of a concern.





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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Feb 23, 2018 12:48 PM CST
Oh, I was not clear. I meant when they go outside in spring. Not when they come in in winter. My bad.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 23, 2018 3:14 PM CST
Pruning back a plant is always optional. It is often the best and only way to eliminate bare, leggy stems.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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