Culture Report: Coleus ‘Main Street Beale Street’
Coleus ‘Main Street Beale Street’ is the first coleus ever to win the All-America Selections award. The results of four years of breeding, selection and testing, Beale Street is a significant improvement on a classic, true red coleus. This easy-to-grow garden plant adds character and reprieve from bloom-heavy gardens while remaining colorful and aesthetically pleasing.
Entered in the 2019 All-America Selections trial, ‘Main Street Beale Street’ was proven to be the only true red coleus to tolerate full sun conditions across North America with no scorching, bleaching or flecking in the pure red foliage color. AAS winners are trialed at gardens and arboretums throughout North America and must outperform other similar varieties on the market to receive the winning designation. ‘Main Street Beale Street’ not only held an intense color but was the latest to flower, maintaining a healthy habit in the landscape all summer long.
The Main Street series of coleus is a program developed in collaboration with Dave Clark at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Dümmen Orange has been selecting stable red-colored varieties during the last four seasons and testing them on characteristics of branching, fading, sun tolerance, mildew resistance and retail shelf life. The testing process occurs over two spring-summer cycles in outdoor beds and containers, always in full sun locations in Florida, North Carolina, Texas and California.
Beale Street has been the clear winner out of more than 30 solid red selections and in comparison with existing varieties. Beale Street also fits nicely into the Main Street series for vigor, late flowering and habit.
Beale Street is a beautiful standalone container plant or paired with Wall Street or Chartres Street in mass plantings for significant color impact in the landscape. The Main Street series is known for its sun tolerance and being late to flower. Once well established in the garden, Main Street coleus can withstand extreme heat and sun conditions. Main Street varieties are very late to flower, helping them keep a full and robust habit throughout the season. Flowers do appear in autumn, adding beautiful blue flower spikes to contrast the vibrant foliage colors.
From a growing and cultural perspective, all varieties in the Main Street series can be treated similarly during propagation, growing on and finishing. Beale Street is available as an unrooted cutting during the spring and summer shipping seasons. Propagation is efficient with one cutting per cell and a standard misting regime. Fertigation during propagation is not necessary, nor is the use of rooting hormone.
Plan for coleus to be sufficiently rooted and ready to remove from propagation mist within five to 10 days with the total propagation time, including pinch and toning at three to four weeks. Avoid excessive mist to control stretch.
All Main Street coleus varieties are well branching naturally — but to achieve the sturdiest liner for transplant, a pinch is recommended either manually or with PGR. Florel can be used 10 days after stick to promote branching.
Tone liners with high light levels (greater than 4,000 foot-candles). Transplant on time to minimize stress and stretch in the liner stage. Once the liner is transplanted, a thorough watering is necessary. Coleus will flag when nearing drought and are not easy to recover.
When established with roots reaching the edge of the container, maintain a moisture level of 2. Allow the media to dry moderately between irrigations. Fertigation is beneficial, but the nitrogen requirement for coleus is low. The recommended EC for coleus is 2.0 to 3.5.
Main Street coleus varieties are well matched in vigor and can be finished in almost any container size when the finishing time is adjusted to the ready week. Production of premium packs is best from a direct stick. Quarts and gallons can be finished with just one liner per container, while baskets and larger containers benefit from multiple liners. It is important not to overschedule your Main Street coleus crop.Too much time for finishing results in additional measures to control growth and diminishes quality.