Plant Talk – Plectranthus

Plant Talk – Plectranthus

posted in: Other Tidbits | 2

Bet you’re wondering what this plant is! Well, it’s a Plectranthus…pronounced just like it looks…plek-TRAN-thus. Keep reading to see which one it is and to be inspired to use these versatile plants!

There are some 350 plants in this genus of plants, but I’m only going to talk about the ones I’m familiar with and have used:

  • Plectranthus Madascariensis
  • Plectranthus Nicoletta
  • Plectranthus Ciliatus
  • Plectranthus Nicodemus
  • Plectranthus Variegata
  • Plectranthus Mona Lavender

The first 2 (Madascariensis and Nicoletta) are used as fillers and spillers;  The 3rd one (Ciliatus) is a spiller. And the last three (Nicodemus, Variegata and Mona Lavender) are upright plants and make a nice thriller/filler, depending on the size of your pot. The thing they ALL have in common is that they are super EASY to grow!!!

If you are unfamiliar with how these plants grow, you would most likely not pick them at the nursery, especially when you’re wanting some flowers. But hopefully after you read this, you will give them a try!


Plectranthus Madascariensis is also known as Iboza and that’s how it will be labeled at the nursery. It grows great in sun or shade and gets nice and full over the season! It’s a filling vine so it will also trail over the pot. It’s a vigorous grower and will need to be trimmed to keep it in proportion to the other plants. I know that some people like their plants to grow with abandon, but I don’t like my plants to touch the ground. 🙂 That’s how vigorous it is! The variegated leaves give a fabulous contrast to other plants and provides a sort of backdrop so they stand out better.


Plectranthus Nicoletta has thick, furry, silvery leaves and grows as a robust filler. It is good in sun or shade.

Plectranthus Ciliatus is a vine that is great in shade pots. It has a purplish cast to it, so it goes especially well with reds, pinks, oranges and whites. It usually comes in small pots which is perfect…I usually add 3 to a pot using my 2-5-9 rule*.

Ciliatus and Nicodemus

Plectranthus Nicodemus is a medium sized mounding plant that works very well in shade. It has a variegated leaf. In this pot on the left, we used 2 varieties of Plectranthus for a nice shade combination!

Variegata – Photo Courtesy of Proven Winners

Plectranthus Variegata is a medium sized mounding plant and is best in the sun. With its contrasting leaves, it gives the same effect to a pot as the Iboza, but without trailing.

Mona Lavender

Plectranthus Mona Lavender is an upright plant that gets about 2′ tall and wide and is best in part sun. It has a bluish tint to it, so it can be tricky to find other plants that look good with it. I use it as a filler because it doesn’t do much until late summer, but it does make a nice filler! When it blooms in late summer, you will be amazed! It’s the one at the top of the post!

All of the other varieties will also bloom at the end of the season, but I use them for their foliage!

So give at least one of these plants a try this year! You will be happy that you did!

* The 2-5-9 rule is what I use to place ivy and other trailers in a pot. You never want to give a pot “ears” with vines, so use 3 and then space them out like the numbers 2, 5 and 9 on a clock (or 3, 7 and 10 when flanking pots are used!)

Learn, Create and Enjoy!!!


2 Responses

  1. Marybeth

    Awesome information!

  2. Donna

    Thank you, Marybeth!

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