In the month since I last wrote about our overwintering coleus, the eight (out of 12) cuttings that survived the initial transplant have thrived in the warm, bright environment in our upstairs bonus room. Under 24 hours of full-spectrum light each day, the three coleus varieties ('Twist and Twirl', 'Religious Radish' and 'Trailing Dark Heart') had grown to 7-8 inches tall, brushing their upper leaves against the fluorescent bulbs. Since I had run out of room to raise the light, it was time to take cuttings and transplant again.
I set up shop on the kitchen floor, spreading newspaper out to catch the potting soil that would inevitably fall in the transplanting process. Armed with a sharp pair of scissors and a bottle of rooting hormone (Gardentech Rootone), I took each of the eight plants and snipped them into 3 or 4 cuttings. After removing leaves along a 1-2 inch section of stem, I dipped each cutting into the rooting hormone, then inserted each into its own cup full of MiracleGro Potting Mix. In about 30 minutes time, I turned eight plants into 29 cuttings.
With at least twelve more weeks until the weather is warm enough to use these coleus in outdoor containers, I hope to do one more round of cuttings and turn these 29 into perhaps 70-80 plants for use throughout our landscape next summer. At this rate, I'll likely have some to share with local gardening friends as well.
Getting dirt under my fingernails, coupled with a healthy dose of sunshine through our windows today, was the perfect antidote to the cabin fever I've been feeling lately. While it's not unusual to be pulling out the party cups on Super Bowl Sunday, this year they're filled with a different kind of cheer -- one that will last long after the today's game clock ticks down to zero.