In the past, we would bring the Coleus indoors for the winter and put them on the floor in front of windows in a room upstairs. We had maybe 20 plants at the most back then, and most of them would die. After that, we would bring them in and give them haircuts so the ends wouldn’t get so long and spindly. They still got long and spindly reaching for the light. The last couple years we put them on shelving units with fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling, and a row of lights on the bottommost shelf. The success rate was better, but the middle shelves didn’t get much light. Still, I only lost about a dozen plants out of about 60, which is an 80% survival rate. Not bad, but I want it to be 100%.
This year, we plan on doing something different. We will get lights for each shelf level, and instead of bringing in the large pots, we are going to trim down the plants to stumps (making sure there’s enough leaves left at the base so it can make photosynthesis), and trim the roots so they will fit in a 4 inch pot. This way, the smaller size plant will fit better under the lights. 12 plants fit in a tray, 3 trays fit on a shelf, and there are 4 shelves on a unit, and we have 2 units, plus another smaller plant shelf that I’m not even counting. That’s room for over 288 plants. I only have about 200. (Only! LOL!)
A lot of people say to take cuttings from the mature plant and overwinter the cuttings. I tried that. I had both cuttings and the mature plants, and the survival rate was better on the mature plants than the cuttings. Cuttings do well in the summer outside, but to try to start new plants inside during the colder seasons just doesn’t work as well for me.
I’m hoping this won’t be a total disaster. But if I keep them short to stay under the lights, they should retain a sturdy, thick growth. The sturdy plants are easier to adapt to the outside come spring. It’s the wimpy thin inside winter growth that has the most problem adjusting to outdoor conditions.