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Love Your Outdoor Coleus Plants? Propagate Them For Indoor Living

Red, green and purple leafy plants
The coleus plant can do well in a variety of conditions: In sun, shade and even inside your house.

You might see this shade garden plant so often as you stroll around your neighborhood that you might be inclined to not notice it. But the coleus is just the sort of plant that you should take note of, because of how versatile it truly is.

Coleus is exploding in popularity because there are now versions that not only tolerate sun, they adore it. You can also propagate them and keep them as houseplants for winter!

The good news is, if you can grow basil, you can grow coleus. It's an old-fashioned-yet-versatile plant that has benefited from a facelift over the last decade. Some varieties can now grow to small shrub size while others will creep in your garden or container.

Some new types to try of course have creative monikers, like "Red-diculous," which comes in a deep burgundy red color. Another, "Lime Time," brightens up a shady garden, and "Sedona Sunset" comes in burnt orange. The leaves can even come in burgundy, green and  yellow, like "Chocolate Drops."

The latter variety is a creeper whose leaves cascade out of a container or pot.  They will grow in fertile, well-watered soil in either full sun or shade. From there you can take 4-6 inch-long cuttings, remove the bottom leaves, dip it in rooting powder, then into soil in a sunny room and wait for it to root and grow.

It will live happily in your home till you replant it outdoors next spring!

Q: I am part of the Lawn to Lake group that is currently supporting the "Raise the Blade" campaign. Would Charlie Nardozzi be interested in discussing the benefits to grass as well as to soil of allowing the blades to grow longer than the traditional 2 inches or shorter that we often see in groomed lawns? — Karen, in Essex Junction

Lawn to Lake is a local group, dedicated to promoting practices that don't pollute Lake Champlain and help preserve good water quality.

This campaign asks homeowners to mow their yards less and in turn, the taller lawn grass creates deeper roots into the soil. This allows more water to be absorbed during storms, and that means less run-off into the lake. Plus you'll have a tall, lush and weed-free lawn!

A thin grey line.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch by tweeting us @vprnet.

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