Artistic and democratic
There are plants that everyone is accustomed to, consider them unremarkable. But one day you suddenly discover that you absolutely do not know the most familiar flower.
Both spring and summer passed under the sign of coleus, that same “nettle” that always served to plug gaps on government window sills. Before, imagining ever-elongated, half-bare stalks with purple small leaves, I hung on the coleus the label of a “garbage” plant. And then she planted an amazing variety Scarlett Wizard red with a yellow border, and besides, they threw me a bunch of seedlings from the mixture.
I was lucky with the mixture of seeds: it really was a mixture, and not packed up on the basis of "from what was." Coleus grew with spots of various shapes and sizes, and colors - from green to lemon yellow, raspberry and maroon (I'm not talking about brick rust, this was not even seen in the pictures). The seedlings did not have a great variety of leaf shapes, but then they presented me with a coleus with a fancifully cut leaf plate. Now the wealth of choice is such that coleuses may well compete with whimsical crotons (dear croton lovers, please do not throw rotten tomatoes at me).
Coleus really deserve a lot of respect. Judge for yourself: high-quality planting material is obtained quickly - both by cuttings, and sowing seeds. The plant is undemanding to the soil, although greasy soil allows you to grow just luxurious specimens. Cutting the cuttings in the spring, you can get seedlings for flower beds in the open ground with minimal expenditures of both effort and finance, where the coleuses are decorative, unlike, say, balsamins, not only near, but also at a distance.
But coleus, like a sheepskin, is worth dressing only if you decide to grow a really Beautiful Coleus. Because depending on his care, he is able to change the look from the Beauty of the Windowsill to the Perfect Lash! With insufficient lighting, all the charm of this plant will be lost. The colorful pattern will disappear, the leaves will be crushed, the stems will become thin and weak, the internodes will lengthen ...
In addition to a stream of sunlight (with sufficient watering, it will hardly burn in the south, but hardly in the middle lane), regular watering is needed (otherwise the stems will quickly become bare, and the plant will bloom), top dressing (be careful with phosphorus-potash ones, they can stimulate flowering, nitrogen should prevail). Fertilizers are better to take complex for decorative leafy, organic or just nitrogen. I did not really like the influence of the Emerald, it really "restores the original greens and freshness of the yellowing leaves," as promised in the instructions. But alas, top dressing turned out to be too effective, the content of chlorophyll in leaves of yellow-leaved forms clearly increased, which I, who did not believe in advertising, did not expect at all. From now on I will use Emerald only for its intended purpose, for green-leaf forms.
© Andrey Korzun
But if you do not feed and drink Coleus for slaughter, then it blooms. It is better to break out the flowering tops, otherwise the plant will immediately lose its beautiful and neat appearance. You can, of course, give it a blossom if you intend to collect seeds for fun or you want to make sure that the coleus stamens grow together to form a “case” (the name of the genus is translated from Greek).
Coleus is sown superficially without instillation, and creates increased humidity (it is easiest to put a bowl in a holey bag), the seeds germinate quickly, usually within a week, germination is about 100%. A prolonged lack of seedlings indicates poor seed quality and the need to buy new ones. In early spring, the first few pairs of leaves in my seedlings were completely green (do not be alarmed if the mixture initially seemed uniform), and closer to summer, the pattern to some extent manifested itself even on cotyledons. Despite the demanding of coleuses for lighting, their early sowing is justified: seedlings begin to branch early, you can manage to choose and cut the most beautiful ones.
Coleus can be planted only after frost, as this tropical species does not tolerate them. When the colds were below 10 degrees this spring and it even snowed in one day, only two plants froze on my open balcony: basil and coleus. Overgrown, of course, then, but still it was insulting. In autumn, it is better to take the most beautiful coleuses for wintering in an open room, since the cuttings give roots in the water very quickly and at any time, because it hardly makes sense to drag plants that have grown over the summer. The propagation of coleus by cuttings, in addition to guaranteeing the same color, also gives a higher quality planting material: the root system of the accessory roots is not so powerful, it inhibits growth and inhibits flowering.
So, if the sun peeks into your room for several hours, you love fast-growing, cheerful plants, you have a summer cottage, you are happy to share cuttings with friends, are able to boldly renew the plant, are a fan of mosaics and decorative painting, coleus is your plant. Coleus is artistic and democratic by nature, any beginner grower can cope with it, and you can always get cuttings for planting, and even a connoisseur of orchids will not throw a scornful look at a beautiful, well-groomed coleus.
- E. Modestova