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With its variegated leaves in intense shades, Solenostemon scutellarioides, the stinging nettle, has established itself as an extremely popular houseplant. The mint family not only shines with attractive panicles of flowers over the summer, but also with leaves in warm shades ranging from an intense green to a bright copper red. When keeping the plant, many owners ask themselves whether it is possible to overwinter the plant outdoors or whether the variegated leaf is hardy at all.

Is the colored nettle hardy?

No, Solenostemon scutellarioides is in no way a hardy plant. On the contrary, the plant is extreme sensitive to cool temperatures and should by no means have to survive the winter outdoors. While you can even plant the plants in the garden at around 24 °C over the summer, you have to bring them back inside at the end of autumn. The following points with regard to temperatures must be observed:

  • preferred temperature: 18 °C - 24 °C
  • 15 °C - 18 °C are tolerated
  • below 15 °C: growth stops
  • Consequences are withered leaves and leaf shedding
  • below 7 °C: the plant gradually withers

tip: the plant is doing a little better if you live in a region where wine is grown. Since the temperatures here remain in the pleasant range for longer during the autumn, the umbellifers do not have to move to their winter quarters so quickly, but they are still not hardy.

Hibernate stained leaf: instructions

Overwintering the colored nettle requires sufficient preparation so that it can get through the cold season without any problems and can be planted again in the garden in May or given a suitable summer spot on the balcony or in the house. The following guide will give you all the information you need to prepare an effective winter quarters for your specimens:

1st time

The timing of moving into the winter quarters is very important. As described above, you should not wait too long to bring the coleus into the house, otherwise problems can arise. Therefore, check exactly when it gets too cold for you and bring the plant into your living space beforehand. Also, pay attention to the wind temperatures in your region. Cold wind can severely affect the plant and should be avoided at all costs. If there is a risk of winds below 15 °C, it is better to move the colored nettle to its winter quarters a little earlier.

2. Cut back

You should cut back the coleus before potting. The cut ensures that the plant can store more nutrients for the winter. Therefore, use sharp scissors that you clean beforehand. With this you shorten the colored nettle by about 60 percent in size one. This allows the umbelliferae to rest over the winter and immediately sprout again the following spring.

3. Stew

In most cases, specimens of Solenostemon scutellarioides are kept in beds, as they can develop their full character there. That means you have to dig up and pot the plant beforehand. The following is suitable as a substrate for keeping as a houseplant:

  • classic potting soil
  • enriched with compost
  • low in lime
  • fresh
  • wet
  • nutritious

Some gardeners use the soil from the bed for the winter, but there can be numerous insect eggs- and hide larvae that multiply easily over the winter. Therefore, a complete new substrate particularly well. The bucket should offer the plant enough space. It should also be made like this:

  • drainage hole at the bottom
  • Lay out a drainage layer of gravel
  • Don't plant the stinging nettle too deeply
  • otherwise there is a risk of rot on the root neck
  • Press the substrate lightly when filling
  • this closes cavities

Now the plant is potted ready to go to winter quarters.

4. Location

Now place the plant in a suitable location within your living rooms. This must be like this in order to please the coleus:

  • Light requirement: sunny to bright
  • tolerates direct sun even in winter without any problems
  • no draft
  • Room should be ventilated

Although drafts are not recommended, you should make sure that the room can be ventilated. Fresh air is important for the vitality of the plant over the cold season and protects against infestation by pests. Therefore, never place the plant in the immediate vicinity of a window or door, but in one of the brightest locations in the apartment.

5. Temperature

The temperature of the site must not fall below 18 °C throughout the winter. Yet it should not too dry because the tropical plant prefers a higher humidity of 60 to 80 percent. If you find it too dry, use a spray bottle or an electric humidifier to help.

6. Casting

Don't forget to water the plants throughout the winter. However, you must be careful not to water too much, otherwise waterlogging and root and root collar rot can quickly occur. Likewise, the plant must not be exposed to longer periods of drought, as this would affect it too much. Check the substrate at regular intervals using a finger test check for dryness and top up with lime-free water. The root ball must never dry out.

7. Fertilize

There is no fertilizer throughout the winter. You stop adding fertilizer as soon as you bring the plant indoors and don't fertilize again until April. Since the variegated leaf goes into hibernation, it does not require any further fertilizer additions.

8. Plant out

If the plant has survived the winter, plant it at the earliest after the ice saints Back in the garden in mid-May. Before that, the risk of frost is simply too high.

tip: if you do not have space in your four walls for the colored nettles to overwinter, you can easily use cuttings from your previous plants and grow new specimens over the winter. Although this is not an optimal solution, since the colored nettle grows for several years, it means that you can supply yourself with fresh specimens almost free of charge every year.

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