Coleus plants are tropical that can’t take the cold, and will die at the first touch of frost in the fall. But don’t worry, overwintering coleus indoors is pretty easy, and there are a few ways you can do it. That means you can grow your favorite coleus varieties year after year without spending a dime buying new plants each spring.
Coleus plants are one of the most colorful plants you can grow in the garden, and they add a wonderful tropical feel. They come in all kinds of color combinations, and one of the things I love the most about them is that coleus plants add lots of color to a shady garden.
If you’re growing coleus in pots, you could overwinter them as houseplants by bringing the whole container inside for the winter. But rather than overwintering containers, I find that it’s less work to take cuttings of my coleus plants to overwinter indoors. Coleus plants root in water, and it’s easy to overwinter coleus cuttings.
How To Overwinter Coleus Cuttings
1. Take Coleus Cuttings: It’s best to take cuttings of your coleus plant before it starts to get cold out, and you’ll definitely need to do it before frost destroys the plant. You can take coleus cuttings from anywhere on the stem, but make the cuttings several inches so they are long enough for rooting in water.
2. Remove lower leaves: Pinch or trim the lower leaves off the coleus cuttings before putting them in water. When you put the coleus cuttings into water, you want to make sure there aren’t any leaves touching the water, so keep this in mind as you take your cuttings.
3. Soak coleus cuttings in water (optional): This is an optional step, but I like to soak my coleus cuttings in water to kill any bugs that may have come inside on the cuttings. Soaking the cuttings for about 10 minutes will drown any pests insect that are on the leaves. You may add a squirt of mild liquid soap to the water to help kill pest insects (I use Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Liquid Soap).
4. Rinse coleus cuttings: Whether you decide to soak the coleus cuttings or not, I recommend rinsing them off. This will help to remove bugs, dirt and debris from the cuttings, and any soap that is left over after soaking.
5. Put coleus cuttings in water: Put the stems of the coleus cuttings into a vase of lukewarm water. I like to use a clear vase so I can see the roots as they start to form, but any vase will work. Once you put the coleus cuttings in the vase, remove any of the lower leaves that are touching the water. The coleus cuttings may droop or even drop a few leaves after you put them into the vase, this is normal and they should pop back after a few days. Put coleus cuttings in a sunny spot, but keep the vase out of direct sunlight. Coleus cuttings will take several days to root in water, and the warmer the room is the faster the cuttings will root. You should start to see signs of root growth within a week or two.
Successfully Overwintering Coleus Cuttings
You can leave coleus cuttings growing in water all winter long, or you can pot them up into a container once a thick mass of roots have formed. If you choose to overwinter coleus cuttings in the vase of water, check the water periodically to make sure it’s not slimy or evaporating too quickly.
Keep the water level above the roots all winter, and never allow the roots to dry out. If the water becomes slimy, dump it out and wash the vase with soap and water. Rinse the roots in lukewarm water before placing them back in the vase of fresh water. If you choose to overwinter coleus cuttings in a pot as a houseplant, place the pot into a sunny window and keep the soil evenly moist.
One of the biggest challenges of overwintering coleus indoors is controlling houseplant pests. In my experience, coleus are very prone to houseplant pests like aphids and spider mites, so check them regularly for signs of infestation. To help control any houseplant pests that might show up, you could spray your coleus with a neem oil solution. Neem oil is an organic product that prevents houseplant pest infestations, and helps make it easier to control houseplant pests. It’s a bit spendy, but I highly recommend it – it’s totally worth the price. Otherwise, try these tips for controlling houseplant pests.
You can also use a solution of soapy water and spray it on the leaves of the infested houseplant (I use 1 tsp of Dr. Bronner’s Baby-mild Liquid Soap per 1 liter of water). If the plant is small enough, bring it to the sink or shower and wash the leaves with this soap and water solution. Keep in mind that soap can damage the plant, so it’s best to test it on a few leaves before spraying the entire plant.
Coleus are pretty easy to overwinter indoors as cuttings or houseplants, and it’s worth the effort to save yourself money every spring.
More Posts About Overwintering Plants
- Overwintering Sweet Potato Vine Cuttings
- Overwintering Tender Bulbs
- Storing Dahlia Bulbs For Winter
- Overwintering Brugmansia
- Overwintering Tropical Plants Indoors
- Hot Plants for Cool Climates
- Winter Houseplant Care
- Houseplant Pest Control
- Plant Propagation Made Easy!
For more indoor gardening tips about overwintering tropical plants, click here… Overwintering Plants
Have you ever tried overwintering coleus cuttings before? Tell me about your experience in the comments below