Plectranthus fruticosus

Plectranthus fruticosus

PLECTRANTHUS sp.

Family: Lamiaceae (mint family) Common name: Spur flower

The forests of the KZN midlands are an enchanting picture at the moment, carpeted in the pretty Plectranthus verticiliatus and the dainty deep blue Plectranthus dolichopodus. Along the forest edges, the white flowers of the tall annual Plectranthus grallatus, are beginning to fade.

Plectranthus saccatus

Plectranthus saccatus

Plectranthus are popular garden plants, most familiar being Plectranthus ¬†ecklonii and Plectranthus fructescens and the “stoep Jacaranda”, Plectranthus saccatus.¬† These shrubs vary in size from 0.5m to 2m and provide a spectacular display of flowers ranging from pale pink to deep purple, white and many shades in-between during autumn. The fragrant foliage is attractive for much of the year with many of the leaves having contrasting purple undersides or prominent veins.

Plectranthus

Plectranthus verticiliatus

Plectranthus are very easy to cultivate. Being forest edge plants, they enjoy well-composted soils, a thick layer of mulch and are ideally suited to growing in the shade of trees. They are pretty drought resistant and aalthough they are frost tender, plants affected by frost can be cut back at the end of winter.  Actually, most make better, more attractive shrubs if they are pruned at the end of winter before the new growth begins in spring.

Plectranthus are exceptionally easy to propagate. For best results, take cuttings during spring and early summer although cuttings will root at any time of the year. The ground cover species roots readily wherever they touch the ground.

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower