1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Coleus

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COLEUS, a genus of herbaceous or shrubby plants belonging to the natural order Labiatae, chiefly natives of the tropics. They are very ornamental plants, the colour of their leaves being exceedingly varied, and often very brilliant. They are of the easiest culture. The cuttings of young shoots should be propagated every year, about March, being planted in thumb pots, in sandy loam, and placed in a close temperature of 70°. After taking root shift into 6-in. pots, using ordinary light loamy compost, containing abundance of leaf-mould and sand, and keeping them near the light. They may be passed on into larger pots as often as required, but 8-in. pots will be large enough for general purposes, as they can be fed with liquid manure. The young spring-struck plants like a warm growing atmosphere, but by midsummer they will bear more air and stand in a greenhouse or conservatory. They should be wintered in a temperature of 60° to 65°. The stopping of the young shoots must be regulated by the consideration whether bushy or pyramidal plants are desired. Some of the varieties are half-hardy and are used for summer bedding.