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Fred's Garden Blog

After a nearly five year hiatus, Fred's Garden Blog is back! Now you can enjoy and experience the gardening exploits and adventures of Fred in his quest to hybridize brugmansia and keep his jungle and nursery under control.

Just what I need, another garden vice...
Sommer Gardens / Thursday, October 31, 2019 / Categories: Hybridizing, Coleus

Just what I need, another garden vice...

...and colorful coleus is it!

Every since I was a kid I've always loved colorful coleus plants. My mom and my grandmother always had coleus igrowing in their flower gardens, and early on I learned how easy it was to root coleus cuttings in water. I was fascinated by the colorful foliage and the ease in which coleus could be grown. Last year I read an article about the coleus hybridizing program at the University of Florida and was amazed at all the new varieties of coleus, with very unusual leaf patterns and colors, that were now available.  I knew that coleus set seeds easily if you let the plants flower, and I loved the fact that coleus is not too difficult to grow from seed and you don't have to wait long to see the results of your crosses. So I figured I would try my luck at hybridizing coleus.  

Somehow during the course of the summer I ended up with over 50 named coleus cultivars and dozens of unamed ones. Locally, all the big box stores just carry the common varieties of coleus so I had to search online nurseries across the U.S. to find the more colorful and unusual cultivars. That was no easy task in the summer as most nurseries that specialize in coleus base their production on spring sales. Currently I'm letting my coleus plants grow out and flower in hopes of gathering open pollinated seeds to plant this spring. I also purchased some coleus seeds from Tawain to grow out and add a few additional plants to my gene pool. Coleus are like brugmansia in that they do not grow true to seed. That means that they may or may not look like their parents, and you could end up with some new beauties that are completely different from their parents. Next year I'll plan some specific crosses, but for now I'll let the creatures do the pollinating.      

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