Winterizing the Double Wide Coleus

Inky Finger Coleus

Inky Finger Coleus
aka Double-Wide

My beautiful ‘Inky Fingers’ Coleus has been busy.  Unlike its tall neighbor, this Coleus is growing out instead of up. I’ve nicknamed it Double-Wide.

Double-Wide makes me smile when I walk up the patio steps. The colors are spectacular. I’ve grown fond of this plant and hope to winterize it if possible. I grew a spectacular Coleus in the same area last year.  It even garnered compliments from our landscape designer.  Sadly, as soon as the temperatures dropped, the leaves dropped too.  I thought it might come back the following year, but apparently when it’s done, it’s done.

Some brave souls bring their plants indoors for the winter, but I’m leery of what might move in with them.  After a summer dealing with aphids, scale, wasps and thrips, I’m reluctant to go that route.

This year I want to create a localized greenhouse for the two plants to see if they’ll make it through the winter.  I’ve done a bit of reading today, and learned that Coleuses grow as a perennial in Zone 10, an area quite a bit inland from our Zone 15.  I also learned that you can take multiple cuttings from the plant in late summer, and start next season’s plants indoors.  The challenge is lack of humidity in a dry, winter house.

Fall is still a few weeks away, so I will enjoy the plant outdoors for as long as I can.  I don’t have a green house so I would have to improvise with PVC pipe and heavy-gauge plastic.  Gardener’s Supply Company catalog sells garden quilt fabric and plant protection tents good to 24°F,  also possible options.

Do you plan to winter over some of your garden plants?  Have you had success in the past?  Tips welcome!  Please reply in the comments section below.