|Coleus are one of the easiest plants to grow from cuttings. With a few simple steps and minor after-care, you can grow wonderful plants that will give you months of pleasure.|
Coleus are easy to grow from seeds or cuttings, but I wanted to explain my method of growing them from cuttings. The first step is to choose a plant that is healthy and to make sure there does not appear to be any pests or diseased plant material you will be working with. You should also make sure that the plant you choose is not patented. If in doubt, you can check into that part online.
In this case I chose a well branched coleus named "Elfers"; it is one of my favorites and is large enough for me to cut up and still have a nice growing season with the rest of the plant.
Always be sure to use clean scissors or pruners so you don't contaminate your plant with a disease. I clean mine with alcohol wipes before making any cuts. Your containers should also be clean as well.
I will make my cut right above a leaf node, which is where the leaves come out of the sides of the stem. Where you make your cut, the plant will produce two stems from where the old one was, making your plant bushier.
Now at this point you could just simply cut off the lower leaves and pot this whole big piece up, but I will show you how to get 3 cuttings off just this one piece.
First cut off the top section right above a leaf node as you have done before.
Then make your cut where the middle piece will have a few sets of leaves. The bottom section will only have the two sets of leaves left.
Starting with the first piece, cut off the side leaves, leaving an exposed stem. On the middle section cut off the lower sets of leaves as well.
You can also root these tiny tip cuttings where the arrows point, just remove the larger leaf next to it.
I chose to just leave the bottom piece the way it was.
When I am starting seeds or rooting any sort of plant cutting, I use polymer gels, but only in the very bottom of my cell or container. In my opinion, it will act like bottom watering and keep the moisture level even. But you can skip this step if you do not have gels available. When you take them out of the package or container they look like small crystals.
I always expand the gels prior to use. Take a plastic container, like one left over from soup, and put a small amount of crystals in the container, then add water. It will take a half hour or so for the gels to fully expand. I always keep some expanded on hand because I don't like to wait. Once the gels are fully expanded they will look like this:
I also use coconut coir for my planting medium. You can use whatever medium you prefer or have on hand: perlite, peat, vermiculite, seed starting mix, or any combination of these materials. Just choose something light that drains well and does not have large chunks of soil in it. I will take a small amount of coir and place it in the bottom of my cell or container.
Then add a bit of the polymer gel.
Fill the container to the top with your medium and press down to be sure any air pockets are gone. Next you have to make a hole for the cutting to go in, by using a dowel, stick, or your finger like I have done.
At this point if you have rooting hormone you can dip the cutting, shake off the excess and place it in the hole you made. If you do not have any rooting hormone, it is not a necessary step, but using it does give you a little more insurance that the cutting will take.
Fill the hole by pushing back your medium. Be sure to firm the medium around the base of the cutting by pressing your fingers down and around all the sides of the cutting. Give your cuttings a bit of water and keep them in the shade until well rooted. If the weather is hot, be sure to water a few times a day, and you can also mist with a spray bottle. In warmer weather it can take only a week to produce roots; you can also add a heat mat under your containers if the weather is cooler. As long as your cuttings do not dry out, you should have big healthy plants within a month or so. Happy growing!!