The genus Plectranthus
is a member
of the mint family and commonly grown for its interesting foliage.
(The common name is also plectranthus.) These plants have large,
succulent, toothed leaves on thick, branching stems and frequently
reach 3 feet or more in length. Flowers may not be their strongest
ornamental feature but some newer cultivars like ‘Mona Lavender’
can have striking floral displays. Plectranthus
is an adaptable
and variable genus grown for use as tender perennials in hanging
baskets or houseplants. Some species, such as Swedish ivy, are
grown specifically for container gardens. Plectranthus
is closely related to coleus and salvias.
species are beautiful plants that are very
frost sensitive and must either be brought indoors for winter
or have cuttings taken for rooting. Plectranthus
adaptable for garden use. They perform best in well-drained and
amended soils where they can establish good root systems, especially
if fertilized periodically with a complete, water-soluble product.
Poorly drained soils will quickly lead to root rot and overall
plant decline. To promote bushy growth, pinch the tips of the
shoots occasionally during the early part of the growing season.
seem to perform best in protected areas that
do not receive direct sun all day. Although they can grow in full
sun, their foliage color and plant habit will be at their best
with some shade.
The majority of Plectranthus
species are easy to propagate
from cuttings. Take cuttings in the early fall and root small
plants to overwinter indoors. Pest problems for Plectranthus
are rarely found but can include whiteflies, aphids and red spider
mites during summer months. Diseases include leaf spots, stem
rots and root rots.
species are becoming more popular as landscape
plants and the JC
often has some of the best
of the new as well as the more familiar in their gardens. These
are generally found in the Entry Bed along Beryl Road.