Last spring I bought several Coleus plants. Thru the summer they got pretty
tall and bushy. How does winter effect them? We live in the Inland Empire of
Southern Calif. and freezing temps and frosts are not all that common,
however last winter we did have several nites of 32 deg. or so. I like the
Coleus but don't want to dig them up and toss them every winter. Thanks.
Around here (Western NY), coleus plants issue painful visual warnings when
the temps get close to 32 at night. The warnings mean "You should've taken
cuttings yesterday". :-) Below 32, they're history, and they get ugly,
fast. Very tender plants. If the weather report suggests that you're about
to get temps that low, and then not again for a month, you could use some
heavy plastic to create a tent over the plants just for that one "event".
Make sure there are a few inches between the leaves and the plastic. Be sure
to remove it before the sun shines on it for very long in the morning, or
you might cook the plants.
But by far the best way to deal with tender coleus plants is to plant
them in containers. Move them in when it's cold, put them back out in
warm weather. Coleus cuttings root great in containers anyway, so create
containerized arrays (remembering that bright coleus need more sun than
dark coleus do).
Coleus is not hardy, it is very tender so temps much below 40 effect
it. You can snip off some of the healthiest part of the plants and
make cuttings and keep them over winter in a sunny window. Always
pinch out the flowers, they drain the plant. Do a search how to root
cuttings of coleus.
If you suspect it will frost coil a string of christmas lights under
and around the plants. Works for me (plug'em in, of course). It's
also a good way to check your lights, unless you leave'em up all
Coleus can not tolerate any frost. Most areas use them as annuals. I
have coleus with the original cutting from my 6th grade school
teacher. When predicted temperatures fall below 40 degrees, take a
few cuttings indoors to root in water (or better yet, vermiculite). I
never dig them up. Pot them up a month before the expected last
possible frost date (Jan to March), then transfer to the outdoor
garden. I like to use peat pots. Coleus do not make very good indoor
plants and are sensitive to various conditions. Also, during the
summer months, I frequently trim them back to avoid the leggy
appearance. Cuttings root very easily.
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