Choleus, also called chintz, is one of those plants that even the least amateur gardening enthusiast readily admits having seen numerous times. It is a very easy to care species, widespread in many countries as an indoor plant.
If you want to know more about the characteristics and care of choleus, keep reading us in this article in which we are going to learn more about this beautiful and resistant plant, ideal for beginners or amateurs without much time.
Scientific name Solenostemon sp, Coleus is a semi-shrubby plant, which outdoors can reach up to one meter in height but in a pot, as it is usually grown, it rarely exceeds half that size. Are tropical plants, which have their origin in Southeast Asia, which is why they are treated here as indoor plants, since they do not tolerate exposure to low temperatures.
The most striking thing about choleus are its variegated leaves, velvety in texture and highly appreciated for its great aesthetic and decorative value. Currently there is a large number of hybridizations and types of choleus, with different shades of leaves or different arrangement of these, and it is one of those plants that shines not for its flowers, but for its precious leaves.
These are not complicated care plants but, as always, if you want your plants to be as beautiful and healthy as possible, you will need to know well what they need.
This plant, as with many other species of tropical origin, does not tolerate either low or excessively high temperatures, which is why it is almost always located indoors. However, if you live in an area with mild temperaturesMaybe you can grow it outdoors or, at least, take the pot out in some seasons.
Choleus is in its optimal condition at a temperature of around 20 ºCAlthough it can withstand exposures up to 10ºC without too much trouble. Only when carefully acclimatized can it resist exposures close to 0 ºC, although it is always a risk to subject it to this type of temperature.
The best thing is to always put it in the house when the outside temperature drops to 10 ºC or below and avoid displeasure.
Light is probably one of the most important care of this plant, which needs a very bright environment and for many hours, but whenever indirect light or with light filtered by suitable curtains. Ideally, leave it near a window, but be careful that the sun's rays do not reach it directly, with the added magnifying effect of glass.
If you have a coleus with limp or dull leaves, it is probably because it is not getting enough light, while if its leaves appear dry or burned, it may be receiving intense direct sun.
It is also important to locate your pot in an area away from sudden changes in temperature such as near an air conditioner or a heater, as well as to protect it from drafts.
The other key to caring for this plant is its watering. In this case, the risk of choleus should be measured but frequent, without ever allowing the substrate to dry completely, but also avoiding flooding it at all costs.
In winter, on the other hand, it is better to let the plant enter vegetative rest, spacing the frequency of waterings so that the cold and humidity do not rot their roots either.
Choleus also requires a certain level of humidity, but we do not recommend spraying water on its leaves. Instead, it is better to use the gravel bed method: place a plate of water under the pot, and cover it with gravel or stones enough so that the pot and its drainage holes are not in contact with the water. In this way, the humidity will rise towards the plant without puddling the earth or affecting its leaves due to excess water.
The most important thing with the substrate of this plant is that it has a drainage as best as possibleSo a universal mix of equal parts coconut fiber, peat, and worm cast, with the addition of a handful of vermiculite and perlite, will work great.
Regarding the compost, it is very important, and it needs a good contribution of organic matter or liquid fertilizer during its growth period and the months of activity.
The only pruning this plant needs is that of pruning maintenance once a year to remove the parts in poor condition, although, sometimes, it is also recommended to prune the flowers when it gives them, since they are not very beautiful and thus save energy.
Regarding transplantation, transplant a coleus It is not necessary often, although the plant is fast growing and if you want it to continue to grow in size, you will have to do it every time it fills its pot completely, which will often be the case.
A dull or badly damaged coleus will require a transplant to a new pot, something bigger, with nutrient-rich soil and ones adequate humidity levels. If your area is very dry, you can use the method of the plate with gravel and water under the pot, and thus you will not have to water as often, avoiding the risk of rotting its roots. If you do this and locate it properly, in just a few weeks your plant should recover quickly.
Here you can read more about How to revive a plant.
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