Some species of PLECTRANTHUS are difficult to identify because of a LACK OF CLEAR-CUT MORPHOLOGICAL CRITERIA TO DICRIMINATE NOT ONLY AMONG SPECIES WITHIN THE GENUS BUT ALSO AMONG THE CLOSELY RELATED GENERA. This has resulted in NUMEROUS TAXANOMIC PROBLEMS IN THE NAMING OF SPECIES with the result that species have often been placed in several closely related genera like Coleus, Solenostemon and Englerastrum. In addition, some species formally placed in Plectranthus, are now recognized as the more distantly related genus Isodon.
Because of these taxonomic issues, different names have often been used for the same species of Plectranthus and thus it has been DIFFICULT TO COLLATE INFORMATION about the ethnobotanical uses of this genus. Furthermore, the most commonly used medicinal species of Plectranthus have a high degree of synonymy.
PLECTRANTHUS HADIENSIS is a semi-succulent, herbaceous perennial plant with ERECT TO DECUMBENT STEMS that can become MORE OR LESS WOODY it can grow 10 – 150cm tall.
The plant is HARVESTED FROM THE WILD FOR LOCAL USE AND ALSO TO PROVIDE MATERIAL FOR COMMERCIAL COSMETICS. It is cultivated on a garden scale for medicinal use in India and Sri Lanka, and is sometimes grown as an ornamental in S. Africa
GROWS IN SAVANNA AND DRY FORESTED REGIONS. It is used to TREAT INTESTINAL UPSETS. The flowers are white to light purple, and exceptionally ATTRACTIVE TO HONEY BEES. Give this one room, as it can spread to three of four feet across. Prune back by half every six months to reduce woodiness. Has a strong camphor aroma overlaying. Excellent in herb mixtures (usually very hard to find). VERY FAST GROWING – ideal for filling empty spots.
The plant PREFERS DRY CONDITION, VERY DROUGHT TOLERANT.
MORE INFORMATIONS ABOUT PLECTRANTHUS HADIENSIS
- PLECTRANTHUS HADIENSIS is a perennial, succulent-like herb or branched subshrubs with aromatic leaves spreading approximately 50-75 cm round. It is COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE “VICKS PLANT” for its leaves that smell like Vick’s Vap-O-Rub or mentholatum when crushed. It looks particularly beautiful when cascading from a hanging basket where it shows nice plumes of blue-violet flowers.
- HABIT: DECUMBENT, FREELY BRANCHED.
- STEMS: Variably hairy, squarish, succulent, without a tuberous base and the lower stems can become very woody.
- LEAVES: Variable, succulent, opposite, bright green, broadly ovate to suborbicular, 4-10 cm long 3-9 cm wide, velvet/fuzzy textured, densely covered with short hairs and aromatic, crenate-dentate with 6-15 pairs of teeth.
- INFLORESCENSES: Spaced sub spicate clusters 8-28-ﬂowered on single terminal racemes.
- FLOWERS: Individual flowers sessile (or very shortly stalked), l – 3 cm apart, 8 – l3 mm wide, lavender, deep violet, purple, light blue variably hairy. Bracts broadly ovate to orbicular, early deciduous, to 4 mm; tube about 5 mm long, deﬂexed in the middle and expanding to the throat; Four stamens lie in the lower elaborately curved lip of the corolla.
- BLOOMING SEASON: EARLY SPRING AND AGAIN IN AUTUMN.
CULTIVATION AND PROPAGATION
PLECTRANTHUS HADIENSIS are of EASY CULTURE, NEED LITTLE ATTENTION and are QUITE HARDY in a COOL, WELL LIT CONSERVATORY OR GLASSHOUSE, but GROW WELL IN A BRIGHT SPOT IN THE HOUSE TOO, NEED FULL SUN TO PARTIAL SHADE OR HIGH INTERIOR LIGHTING WITH A WELL DRAINED SOIL MIX. They do well OUTSIDE IN PARTIAL SHADE WITH GOOD DRAINAGE.
EXPOSURE: FULL SUN, this species thrives in DRY, SUNNY LOCATIONS. When grown UNDER SHADY OR PARTLY SHADY CONDITIONS, IT BECOMES SCRAGGLY AND UNATTRACTIVE
WATERING: The plants are REGULARLY WATERED and ALLOWED TO DRY BEFORE WATERIG AGAIN, pay attention DON’T OVER WATER AS SWTEMS MAY ROT AT THE SOIL LINE. Some suggest to WATER JUST ENOUGH to keep the leaves from SHRIVELING this keep the plants more compact and enhances the leaves scent. If too much water is used, the leaves will turn yellow and get mushy. DURING THE WINTER MONTHS, keep them QUITE DRY OR ONLY WATER ENOUGH TO KEEP THE LEAVES FROM or only water enough to keep the leaves from SHRIVELING.
FERTILIZATION: Fertilizer is APPLIED ONLY ONCE DURIG THE GROWING SEASON AND IT IS DILUTED TO HALF STRENGTH.
HARDINESS: AVOID FREEZING TEMPERATURES.
MAINTENANCE: The plants will vine but can be pinched to keep compact.
PROPAGATION: From soft-wood cuttings at ANYTIME DURING THE GROWING SEASON. Rarely grown from seed because the plants seldom flower and set seed.
USE: The scented leaves are used like Vick’s Vap-O-Rub. Inhaling the steam from crushed leaves infused in hot water will open airways and relieve congestion.
HOW TO GROW AND CARE
- PLECTRANTHUS SPECIES are easily cultivated and require little extra attention or SPECIAL TREATMENT. They enjoy WELL COMPOSED SOIL and, AS A RULE, thrive in SEMI SHADE OR COOL POSITIONS on SOUTH FACING aspects. These plants are ideally suited to grow under the shade of trees. They are generally shallow rooted and ENJOY ADEQUATE WATER. However, PLECTRANTHUS DO STORE WATER IN THEIR STEMS AND ARE RESISTANT TO RPOLONGED PERIODS OF DROUGHT.
These plants are often grown for their ATTRACTIVE FOLIAGE, flowers, or both and vary in their growth forms from dense prostrate ground covers to sub shrubs and large shrubs.
Although they are frost tender PLECTRANTHUS are usually grown in shady, protected places, and as such as, are afforded some protection from frost. Because they flower at the END OF GROWING SEASON, frost does not affect flowering. If the plants are affected by frost, they can be cut back the end of winter and will grow out rapidly. Once the plants have been established FOR A YEAR OR MORE, they become WOODIER AT THE BASE and are MORE RESISTANT TO FROST DAMAGE.