Growing Plectranthus (Plectranthus)

Latin Name Pronunciation: plek-tran'-thus

This unfussy genus in the Mint family is native from Africa to Asia and the Pacific Islands. The varied species can be grown as houseplants, outdoor annuals, or as perennials in zones 9-11. They are vigorous growers in full sun or partial shade (required in warm inland areas of the West) with some being shade tolerant. Grow in organically rich, evenly moist soil. Plants should not be allowed to dry out, but can tolerate brief periods of drought. Pinch as needed to keep bushy and compact in annual containers or beds.

Plectranthus Velvet™ Lady can be wintered over indoors where it makes an attractive houseplant, along with P. 'Emerald Lace.' Provide bright indirect light and day and night temperatures of 50-80°F year round. Water when the top 1" of the potting mix is dry to the touch. Withhold fertilizer while your plant is in flower during the short days of the year. After flowering has finished, feed every 2 weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer that is lower in phosphorus (such as 20-10-20) mixed at ½ strength. Keep your plant compact by occasionally pinching off the tips of new shoots. This allows side branches to develop. Cut off flower stalks when their blooms have faded. About once a year, repot into a larger container (one that is 1-2" wider than the current one), using a well-drained potting mix.

For information on planting and care of annuals, click Annuals.