Thursday, June 3, 2010

Plectranthus "Mona Lavender"

At GRDN the other day, I asked Susanne, the owner, whether she would be getting any plectranthus in...She didn't know this one, but found it in a catalogue after I'd waxed lyrical about its virtues, and called today to tell me she had some waiting for me.

The plectranthus genus is native to South Africa, and the Mona Lavender cultivar was born at Kirstenbosch, the national botanical garden in Cape Town.

My mother's garden is home to several native species, from groundcovers to massive shrubs, all happy in shade and dappled shade, making their late summer flowers at the same time as the autumn anemones (like mine, below) when most others have given up.

Here we plant it as an annual. It grows tall, about eighteen inches plus, and puts out gorgeous lavender flower spikes, conspicuous against dark leaves, in late summer, lasting for weeks and weeks, if not months. They last well indoors, too, as cut flowers, and are an imposing alternative to impatiens impatiens impatiens, when shade intimidates us and makes us run for what we know. Pink pink pink white pink.

I haven't grown it for two years (as evidenced by these photos: 2008, pre-all-red-terrace) - couldn't find it last year - and will have to find some space. I think the terrace's denizens may have to expand to the building's stoop; rotate some things out there every now and then. I'm stuck with the lilies, which are now 6' plus, and can't be moved, the hosta is taking over the world, and I'm beginning to look at the Japanese forest grass with a jaundiced eye.

I could have worse problems.


  1. You could have bindweed and a highly diseased Don Juan rose crawling up the side of your house in all its yellowed leaf glory.

    Congrats again on the AT shout out!

  2. Yes, congratulations on the Apartment Therapy recognition. I'm sure the cat is taking credit for his significant role in your success.

  3. Keep mentioning things that like shade! I am taking notes.

  4. I stumbled across a new Plec this spring - looks like 'Mona Lavender' but blooms deep pink. Forgot the name - sorry. Not sure if it's an improvement or not, but I love options.

  5. Have seen the plectranthus in pots but didn't know what it was. Thanks for the info.

  6. Hey - I have this in my courtyard! Didn't know what it was, we just bought it because it looked pretty, and it's been extremely rewarding.

  7. Not to interfere or anything, but I think it is time you finally acknowledged the one missing piece in your otherwise masterful terrace design: you have neglected thus far to take one critical color component into account - one that carries tremendous emotional value and whose impact on the terrace is strengthened by its typical foreground positioning.

    The cat's dress.

  8. I had not seen it before, for the red coat he often wears, I just wonder...Is there like a white star on Don Estorbo's neck?
    Seeing him n this photograph reminded me of "Minette" the cat I used to have way back when...

  9. can plectranthus Mona Lavender seeds be got, i wonder? i start as much from seed as i can.


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