When we came back from our trip, our Coleus had grown to really big, healthy sizes. A week later, we started cutting them down to about only 6-8 inches high, prepping them to go indoors under lights as soon as the weather gets below 40 degrees at night. Cutting back exposes the undergrowth of smallish leaves, and since they still have a few weeks of outdoor sun, hopefully exposing these formerly hidden leaves will make them grow and get better color, as well as promote branching from the nodes at the bottom.
Not only are the tops of the plant cut off, but the roots are trimmed so they can fit in 3 inch pots. The pots are put into 13×17-inch trays that contain 12 of the small pots. We can fit 3 trays on each shelf, and each shelving unit has 4 shelves. And we have 2 shelving units plus a smaller etagere for more. Let’s see, 12 x 3 x 4 x 2= 288. That’s enough for 288 plants, not counting the small etagere. I hope that’ll store all my plantlets!
I’ll cut them back even more once indoors and once I see signs of basal growth. I’ll keep them small throughout the winter and early spring. We’re getting two extra lighting units so each shelf will have light directly above the Coleus. This will hopefully promote bushy growth rather than the usually palid legginess.
After a season of outdoor growing, Coleus that were former mysteries are now revealing themselves. Even though the mystery plants don’t have tags, usually due to my own stupidity in past years, I am fairly certain I’ve identified some of them now.