Plectranthus verticillatus is a perennial groundcover native to Southeast Africa. Plants reach 4-12 inches (10-30.5 cm) tall with a spread of about 2 feet (60 cm) spread. The light to medium green leaves are somewhat succulent, and stems are square in cross section. Leaves will reach to about 2.5-3.5 inches (6.35-9 cm) across and marginally toothed. They are very easy plants to grow whether they are used as a groundcover or in hanging baskets and are fairly fast growing. They should be treated as annuals in all zones except USDA zones 10-11.
Blooming: Plants in the greenhouse bloom sporadically all season long, with the best flushes in the spring and late fall. Bloom colors can range from mauve to rose to white.
Culture: Plectranthus verticillatus needs full sun to partial shade with a rich, well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand. Plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. It has been my experience that if you keep the plants too wet they develop root rot. We fertilize the plants monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months in the greenhouse, water is somewhat restricted and the use of fertilizers is stopped.
Propagation: Plectranthus verticillatus is propagated from stem cuttings and from division of large plants.
Plectranthus verticillatus was featured as Plant of the Week September 11-17, 2009.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.