previous
  • 20 Gardenworthy Self-Sowers
    20 Gardenworthy Self-Sowers
  • Get your FREE Everyday Roses download now!
    Get your FREE Everyday Roses download now!
  • 10 Combinations for Shade
    10 Combinations for Shade
  • Pantone Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid
    Pantone Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid
  • Homegrown / Homemade
    Homegrown / Homemade
  • Using Containers as Elements of a Design
    Using Containers as Elements of a Design
  • How to Grow Mustard
    How to Grow Mustard
  • NEW Video Series: There's a Better Way
    NEW Video Series: There's a Better Way
  • Bold and Beautiful Zinnias
    Bold and Beautiful Zinnias
  • Garden Design Basics
    Garden Design Basics
  • Plant Finder: Spring Plants
    Plant Finder: Spring Plants
  • Rex Begonias
    Rex Begonias
  • 3 Ways to Design with Containers
    3 Ways to Design with Containers
  • Black Plants Done Right
    Black Plants Done Right
  • Pick Plants for Fragrance
    Pick Plants for Fragrance
  • Planting the Right Way
    Planting the Right Way
  • DIY A-Frame Veggie Trellis
    DIY A-Frame Veggie Trellis
  • Indoor Seed Starting Materials List
    Indoor Seed Starting Materials List
  • Building Better Borders
    Building Better Borders
  • Go Green on the Patio
    Go Green on the Patio
  • Rhodies to Treasure
    Rhodies to Treasure
  • 10 Seed-Starting Tips
    10 Seed-Starting Tips
  • Seed Starting in Speedling Trays
    Seed Starting in Speedling Trays
next

Genus Plectranthus

Plectranthus Plectrantus amboinicus Photo/Illustration: Jenkins Farmer
plek-TRAN-thus
Grown for foliage and flowers, Plectranthus is a genus of about 350 species of annuals, evergreen perennials, semi-succulents, and shrubs from Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Australasia, and Pacific islands. They are useful in a cool greenhouse or conservatory or outdoors in hanging baskets, containers, or sunny borders. The foliage is often ornamental, with decorative margins and a fuzzy appearance. The flowers are small but are often borne in good-size racemes of tubular, 2-lipped flowers in shades of purple, pink, white, or blue. Plectranthus are part of the mint family and closely related to Solenostemon (coleus).
Noteworthy characteristics: Many species are fast-growing. Attractive, aromatic, soft foliage which often has scalloped, toothed or wavy edges. 
Care: Plectranthus needs well-drained soil of moderate fertility in dappled shade. If grown indoors, provide full light but with protection from hot sun. Water freely and fertilize monthly during active growth, but keep just moist in winter.
Propagation: Divide in spring, or take stem-tip cuttings any time. Rooted branches of trailing species can be removed. To grow from seed, sow ripe seed at 66° to 75°F.
Problems: Mealybugs, spider mites, leaf spots, and root rot can sometimes be problems.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Plectranthus

Plectranthus amboinicus Plectranthus amboinicus
(Mexican mint, Indian borage)
Be the first to rate this plant
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Prized largely for its foliage, this spreading evergreen perennial is grown as an annual or under glass.

Plectranthus argentatus Plectranthus argentatus
(Silver spurflower)
Be the first to rate this plant
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Grown mainly for its velvety gray succulent leaves, this Australian native shrub can reach 3 feet high and wide.

Plectranthus forsteri 'Green on Green' Plectranthus forsteri 'Green on Green'
(Swedish ivy)
Be the first to rate this plant
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

As the name implies, this plectranthus has green leaves with lime green edges. Some of the leaves are entirely lime green. It looks great mingling around the feet of perennials, shrubs, and annuals.

Plectranthus purpuratus Plectranthus purpuratus
(Purple Swedish ivy, Vick's plant)
Be the first to rate this plant
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Soft, fuzzy, purple-tinged leaves make this Plectranthus a good companion plant in containers.