Pinch back coleus to keep them looking their best

If you read these weekly articles or follow GardenLine on Facebook, you already know I’m a big fan of using coleus for color in summer landscapes.You can get caught up on these versatile plants and their caladium and copper plant cousins HERE.

But this week’s tip is about keeping them looking good through the simple task of “dead-heading” or pinching back the blooms. With coleus, they’re also called flower spikes. Since the leaves have such striking colors, we really don’t ever need them to bloom. That means the earlier you pinch off the flower spikes, the better.

This video is under two minutes long and shows you exactly how to do it:

The more you pinch back any leggy stem, the fuller the plant will become lower down. Skip pinching back, and the sketchier they look. The pictures here show the difference between flower-filled leggy plants and ones that are well-maintained and more rounded.

Photo: Getty Images; Flower and Plant, Horticulture and Green Space Information Center (INSET)

Just as you take time to walk the dog, check the mail, or pick up the paper on the front lawn (Wow, I’m dating myself – who still gets a newspaper delivered?), make pinching back your coleus part of your weekly routine. They don’t have to be pinched back daily - just once a week should do it.

And remember to feed them with some good, old-fashioned slow-release blooming plant food. Nelson’s ColorStar or Nitro-Phos Color X-Press soaked in with any liquid organic will keep them vibrant and healthy for a few extra months.

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