The plant, also called Plectranthus, is part of the Labiate family. According to various sources, this genus includes from 250 to 325 species. The Latin name for the flower "plectranthus" is derived from two Greek words translated as "cock's spur" and "flower". It was from these words that the second name was formed - "bristle flower". Under natural conditions, such a plant is found in tropical and subtropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere, namely: on some islands of the Pacific Ocean, Madagascar, Indonesia, Australia, as well as in areas adjacent to the Sahara. Spurs are grown as decorative, medicinal and aromatic plants, and the foliage of such a flower is used as a food spice. Some of the species are cultivated at home.
Brief description of cultivation
- Bloom... Cultivated as a decorative deciduous plant.
- Illumination... Grows best in partial shade, but can also be placed in a place with diffused and bright light.
- Temperature regime... During active growth - from 18 to 25 degrees, in winter - from 12 to 16 degrees.
- Watering... Moisten the soil mixture in the pot often and abundantly immediately after it dries out about 20 mm deep.
- Air humidity... On hot days, as well as in a room with working heating devices, it is recommended to moisten the foliage every day with water at room temperature; instead, you can pour wet pebbles into the pallet and put a container with a flower on it.
- Fertilizer... During the growing season, once every 15 days, for this, a complex fertilizer for deciduous plants is used. At other times, it is not necessary to feed the bristle flower.
- Pinching and trimming... In spring, the stems are shortened by ½ part. And during active growth, the upper parts of the shoots are systematically pinched.
- Transfer... Until the plant turns 4 years old, it is transplanted regularly once a year, and older bushes are subjected to such a procedure only if necessary. The transplant is carried out at the beginning of the growing season.
- Reproduction... Dividing the bush and grafting.
- Harmful insects... Mealybugs, aphids and spider mites.
- Diseases... Downy mildew (downy mildew).
- Properties... In some species, foliage has a diaphoretic, analgesic, choleretic and laxative effect.
Features of plectrantus
Home plectrantus, which is also called room mint, is a herbaceous perennial or evergreen shrub, reaching a height of 0.6 to 0.8 m. The root system is fibrous, and the branched stems can grow vertically or be creeping. A rich green or brownish-red ribbed stem has a slight pubescence. Fragrant ovoid or oval leaf plates, which are located opposite, are densely pubescent or bare, their edge is finely toothed. On the surface of the foliage there is a variegated pattern or a relief of veins. Flowering is observed in the summer, a lush short apical panicle inflorescence appears on the bush, which includes bisexual flowers of lilac, blue, white or purple. After ripening, the fruits open themselves, they contain 4 nuts.
Plectranthus. Home care and maintenance
Plectrantus care at home
Indoor plectrantus grows well in diffused bright light, remember that direct rays of the sun can harm delicate leaf plates. Better yet, the flower grows in a shaded area. There is no need to highlight the plant additionally; only a few hours of bright light per day is enough for it.
During intensive growth, the optimum temperature for the hedgehog is from 18 to 25 degrees. In summer, it is recommended to move the bush outside, for example, to the balcony or garden. In winter, the bush should be kept cool - from 12 to 16 degrees. If for the winter you cannot rearrange the flower in a cool place, then it will need additional lighting.
Plectrantus can grow in almost any humidity. However, in winter, in the room where the heating devices work, the air humidity is very low, so the bush will have to be moistened daily from a spray bottle. In order not to spray it too often, moistened expanded clay or pebbles are poured into the pallet, and a container with a plant is placed on top. Sometimes a flower needs a warm shower, which will help remove dust from the foliage and also saturate it with moisture.
Watering should be abundant and frequent. It is necessary to moisten the earthen mixture in the pot only after its surface dries to a depth of 10 to 20 mm. When watering a bristle flower, remember that it can be harmed by both overdrying of the substrate and stagnation of moisture in the root system. For irrigation, take water that has settled well for two days, the temperature of which should be close to room temperature or slightly warmer.
During intensive growth, fertilizer is applied to the potted soil mixture once every 2 weeks. To do this, use a complex fertilizer for ornamental deciduous plants. In the winter months, if the bush is at rest, then it is not fed, but if it does not sleep, then in this case, fertilizers are applied to the substrate only once every 4 weeks. They begin to feed the plectrantus again only with the beginning of the growing season.
The stems of this plant are fast-growing, however, over time, their lower part is exposed, which has an extremely negative effect on the decorative effect of the bush. To make the flower always look neat and compact, it is systematically pruned. As a rule, pruning of the bristle flower is carried out in conjunction with its transplant in the spring. Shorten all the stems by ½ part, and then during the growing season carry out a systematic pinching of their tops. Thanks to this, the bush will be lush and very effective.
Until the plant is three or four years old, it is transplanted every year. Older specimens are transplanted once every 2 or 3 years. Such a procedure is carried out in the spring at the beginning of the growing season.
A fertile substrate for growing bristles is taken with a pH of about 6.0. Its approximate composition: sand, turf, humus and leafy soil (1: 1: 1: 1). The depth of the pot should be such that the root system of the flower can fit in it. A thick layer of drainage is made at the bottom of the container, the thickness of which should be equal to 1/3 of the depth of the pot.
Plectrantus can be propagated by cuttings or by dividing the bush. It is possible to divide the plant during transplantation, and it must be borne in mind that on each separated part there should be stems and well-developed roots. The first few days of the cut must be protected from direct sunlight.
To propagate a flower by cuttings, take pieces of stem shoots from 50 to 60 mm long, they root perfectly in a glass of water. After rooting, the cuttings are planted in small, separate pots. To make the bush more lush, several cuttings are planted in one pot at once. If desired, after cutting, the cuttings can be immediately planted in the distribution boxes, where they will grow roots after 15–20 days. Then the rooted cuttings are transplanted into small pots, reaching from 70 to 90 mm in diameter, to fill them using a substrate consisting of sand, leafy, humus and sod soil (1: 2: 2: 2).
Plectrantus, or Indoor mint - home care
Diseases and pests
Sparrow is highly resistant to pests and diseases. However, if the bush is in a cool room with high humidity, then it can be struck by downy mildew, due to which gray specks form on the foliage. Sometimes mealybugs, aphids and spider mites settle on such a plant. To cope with peronosporosis, repeated treatment of the flower with a solution of a fungicidal preparation will be required, and those stems that are very affected are recommended to be cut. Ticks, aphids, as well as worms can harm foliage and young shoots, as they suck out cell sap from them. To cope with spider mites, acaricidal preparations are used, and insecticidal preparations are used to get rid of other sucking harmful insects.
Remember that those flowers that are highly resistant to both diseases and pests can only suffer from them if you do not take good care of them for a long time or do not provide them with suitable conditions. For example, due to the fact that the bush grows in unsuitable conditions for it, its foliage may begin to fade or fade. This happens when the flower is exposed to direct scorching rays of the sun for a long time. Yellowing and flying around the foliage is observed if the plant is cold, or pests have settled on it, or liquid regularly stagnates in its root system. If the room is too hot and dry, then the flower wilts, and from stagnant water in the substrate, especially with poor lighting and coolness, rot appears on the shoots and the root system, as a result of this, the foliage begins to fly around, and flowering also does not occur.
Types and varieties of plectrantus with photos and names
This species is one of the most popular indoor plectranthus. A meter high, the shrub has tetrahedral straight shoots, on the surface of which there is pubescence, they are decorated with fleecy leaf plates, reaching 80 mm in length, their edge is crenate. One of the varieties of this species, Marginatus, is the most widespread: it is a variegated bristle flower with a white border along the edge of green leaf plates.
Shrub Plectranthus (Plectranthus fruticosus)
Or a molar tree. In height, such a branchy shrub reaches about 100 cm, there is pubescence on the surface of its stems. Green leafy plates are broadly oval and with a pointed tip up to 100 mm long, they have a sharp mint aroma. The bush blooms lushly with fragrant flowers of a light blue hue. Since the plant has a pungent odor, it is often used as a moth repellent. Under natural conditions, such a plant can be found in the subtropical humid forests of South Africa.
This species is a spectacular herbaceous perennial plant with creeping stems about 0.4 m long. The length of the greenish-brown leaf plates is about 60 mm, they have a rounded-wide ovate shape and a blunt apex. The front surface of the foliage is decorated with stripes of greenish-white color, and the back is decorated with light red pubescence. The length of racemose inflorescences is about 0.3 m, they consist of white or pale lilac flowers. The following varieties are most popular with florists:
- Limelight - foliage has a golden color;
- Uwongo - on the front surface of the leaves of such a plant, it is as if an equal spot of a greenish-silvery shade is spilled.
Or Plectranthus verticillatus, or Plectranthus nummularia, or Swedish ivy. This original plant is distinguished by its unpretentiousness. Its drooping weak stems are decorated with rounded leaf plates with long petioles. The leaves have a deep green color, and both their surfaces are smooth and glossy, as if covered with wax. This species has a very low odor. It is often cultivated as an ampelous plant.
Felt Plectranthus (Plectranthus hadiensis)
Such a shrub reaches a height of 0.75 m, its trunk lignifies with age. On slightly drooping stems, there are greenish fleshy leaf plates of a wide ovate shape. The surface of foliage and shoots is covered with short hairs, as a result of which the bush looks soft and fluffy. The color of the flowers is purple.
The height of this creeping plant is about 0.6 m, its shoots are covered with purple hairs. On the front surface of the elliptical or broadly ovate foliage, there is also rigid pubescence, and on the seamy side, painted in purple, there are hairs only on the edge. Flowers can be part of brushes or be single, they are painted in pale purple or white.
Fragrant Plectranthus (Plectranthus amboinicus)
Or fragrant plectrantus. Under natural conditions, such a branched shrub reaches a height of about 200 cm. Its tetrahedral shoots are colored greenish-purple. Broadly ovate opposite leaf plates have a cordate or rounded base, as well as a rounded or obtuse apex. Their petioles are pubescent, and there are glandular hairs on the seamy surface. The inflorescences consist of fragrant flowers of a pale blue hue.
Ernst's sparrow (Plectranthus ernestii)
Or plectranthus caudex. This species is represented by a perennial shrub, which reaches a height of about 0.5 m. Its shoots in the lower part form a rounded thickening. During flowering, whitish or lilac-blue flowers appear.
The erect shoots of such a plant are fleshy. Dark green leathery leaf plates with a serrated edge have a shape similar to oak leaves, their surface is covered with silvery pubescence. Tearing off a leaf and rubbing it between your fingers, you can feel a pungent coniferous smell.
Plectrantus Mona Lavender
This upright shrub is a hybrid. Its shoots, painted brownish-brown, are decorated with ovoid leaf plates serrated along the edge, their seamy surface is purple and pubescent, and the front one is dark green and shiny. The dense, long inflorescences consist of bluish-purple flowers with a tubular blue speck.
The height of such a hybrid plant is about 0.85 m. Its herbaceous shoots are lignified at the roots. Both surfaces of the round foliage of an emerald hue are velvety, the top of the plates is elongated and pointed, and the edge is serrated or jagged. There are also varieties of Blum's bristle flower with a different color of foliage and with a characteristic pattern.
Plectrantus properties: benefits and harms
Useful properties of plectrantus
All plants such as Spanish or French thyme, Mexican mint, Cuban oregano, or Indian borage are considered to be a variety of spurs and are often cultivated as leafy greens. The benefits of such a plant are primarily due to the fact that it contains vitamins A, C and E, phenol and quinine compounds, terpenoids, alkaloids, glycosides, tannins and ursolic acid. Sparrow has a diaphoretic, analgesic, choleretic and laxative effect; it is used to soothe heartburn, stimulate appetite, relieve constipation and treat rheumatism and gastritis. The aromatic plectrantus type is used in the manufacture of cardiovascular agents, ointments and drops.
Sparrow is not a pharmacopoeial plant, but it is widely spread in alternative medicine.For example, tea made from plectrantus foliage is used during the treatment of fever, the initial stage of rheumatism, colds, respiratory diseases, irritable bowel syndrome and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. This plant also has expectorant properties, and it removes phlegm and mucus from the lungs quickly and easily, and it also has a beneficial effect on the nervous system. It is also widely used for diarrhea and helminthiasis, and the tincture helps to relieve joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis. Outwardly, such a plant is used to combat childhood allergic diathesis, skin eczema, diaper rash and ulcers. It can also eliminate swelling and itching after an insect bite. For the treatment of enuresis in a child, baths with dry or fresh foliage of such a plant are used. Sparrow is widely used in India to stimulate lactation and treat malarial fever, and an infusion made from its foliage can relieve dandruff.
You can not take orally products made on the basis of a bristle flower, as well as drink tea made from its foliage for children under 12 years old and pregnant women, as well as women who are breastfeeding. If a person has sensitive skin, then after contact with the foliage of this plant, he may develop a mild degree of dermatitis. Plectrantus also poses a danger to people with varicose veins, with individual intolerance and hypotensive patients. If you have no contraindications, then you must adhere to the recommended dosage and not abuse the products made on the basis of such a plant.
Superstitions and omens
Many growers do not know for sure whether it is possible to grow plectranthus in their home. Many signs and superstitions are associated with this plant, so it is believed that it is capable of absorbing negative energy, as well as attracting good luck and wealth to the house. At the same time, the bristle flower can bring good luck both to its owner and to the person who has courted him at least once. In this regard, such a plant is perfect for both an apartment and an office.
Plectrantus (Indoor mint). (Part 4)
Plectrantus home care
Plectrantus are light-loving plants, although they can tolerate slight darkening, when grown in indoor conditions, they prefer intense light. Plants feel best on windows of east and west orientation.
If, nevertheless, the plant is placed on windows with a southern orientation, then the plectranthus need to be darkened from direct sunlight, due to the fact that under intense lighting the shoots and leaves become smaller and lose their decorative appearance. The plant also needs access to fresh air.
The plant can be taken out to the balcony or garden in the summer, remembering to provide the plant with intense, but at the same time, diffused lighting. The plant adapts to new conditions very quickly, and it grows well. In winter, the plant must also be provided with bright light, with a lack of it, the plectrantus bloom worse.
These plants also need an optimal temperature regime, in spring and summer it fluctuates between 18 and 25 degrees, and in winter this limit is reduced from 12 to 16 degrees. If it is not possible to provide the plant with the optimal temperature, then you need to provide the plectrantus with good lighting, due to the fact that lack of lighting and high temperatures will lead to overgrowth of the plant.
Plectrantus care at home
Before buying a plectrantus, it is worth finding out whether it will be possible to create habitual living conditions for it. We must try to make the room correspond to the climatic conditions to which the shrub is accustomed. To be sure of everything, you should familiarize yourself with all stages of care.
Transplant: choosing a pot, soil
It is worth choosing pots proportional in depth and width, because the root system of the shrub is quite powerful. It is not whimsical enough, therefore it does not have serious requirements for the soil. An acidic and porous medium is suitable for plectrantus.
It is permissible to prepare the soil for transplanting yourself or to buy a special substrate.
- deciduous humus
- coarse sand.
It is necessary to mix all the components in the appropriate proportions. Two parts of peat and one part of humus with earth, then add half a portion of earth and sand. Before replanting the plant into a new pot, drainage is required. Crushed stone, brick chips and expanded clay are suitable for him.
It is recommended to replant young shoots annually until the age reaches 3-4 years. Next, you need to monitor it and transplant it into another pot no more than once every four years. So that the half-bush does not lose its attractiveness, it is worth pruning the stems.
Reproduction: two ways
It is believed that this species reproduces very quickly. There are two ways: division and cuttings. The first is good for transplanting. Then a part is separated from the mother bush, where there are stems and a well-developed root system. It is recommended in the early days, to hide the separated branches from direct sunlight.
For cuttings, shoots 50-60 mm long will do. Place them in water to take root. As soon as the result is visible, you can proceed to transplanting the cuttings into separate pots. If you want to achieve a more lush growth of the shrub, it is better to add several cuttings to one pot.
In young representatives, the stems grow quickly. They are beautiful and curvy. but over time, exposure of the lower part is observed. This is a natural process. To achieve a beautiful appearance, you need to trim.
Usually, the bristle is pruned in the spring. This process is combined with a transplant. All stems are shortened in half. While the growing season is going on, pinching of the tops is carried out.
When the plant grows intensively, top dressing is required. Fertilizers are applied to the soil once every fourteen days. During the winter, there is no need to nourish the bud when the bush is sleeping. If it develops, then the supplement is added once every four weeks. Fertilization resumes during the growing season.
For home-grown plectrantus, fertilization is characteristic from spring to autumn. As a top dressing, a universal remedy for indoor flowers or a special composition for flowering species is chosen.
We strongly recommend that you take into account the correct dosage. An excess of it is just as harmful as a lack.
Remember that the shrub is native to the humid forests of South Africa. It is necessary to provide the plant with similar conditions at home, so you should monitor the soil. During the period of active growth, the soil is abundantly moistened. make sure that the earth does not have time to dry out to half. In winter, the bush is dormant, but in the period from spring to autumn, watering occurs when the top layer is completely dry.
When placing Swedish ivy on or near your windows, choose southeast and southwest directions. If this is not possible, you have to choose a southern direction. In this case, the pot is placed in partial shade so that the diffused light breaks through.
Plectrantus poorly tolerates not only direct sunlight, but also shade. Find a middle ground to ensure lush flowering and healthy stem growth.
In winter, additional artificial lighting will be needed.Lighting in winter
A heat-loving plant that feels comfortable at temperatures from +18 to +27 ºC. In fact, the flower is capable of withstanding higher temperatures, but in this case, timely, abundant watering must be ensured. The bush feels worst at low temperatures. A critical mark of +8 ºC on the thermometer leads to freezing of the root. The plant may die if it stays in such conditions for several days. You should be careful with sudden changes in temperature.
In nature, plectrantus loves high air humidity. At home, nothing changes. It is clear that it will be difficult to provide 70% humidity in a residential building, so we proceed as follows. It is necessary to often spray the foliage with water, place containers with liquid next to it, water the soil.
Bush pots are not placed near heating devices and in rooms where air does not come in.
Mistakes in caring for plectranthus: diseases and pests
The main enemies include mealybugs and scale insects. Sometimes aphids attack the plant. It turns out that pests are not always detected quickly because of the special structure of the leaf. On its back there is a lint that hides parasites from our eyes. If you find them, it is advisable to buy a special preparation in a flower shop that can quickly cope with insects and diseases.
Despite their love for a humid environment, excess moisture gives rise to the development of a fungal infection. A fungicidal preparation will get rid of gray and black rot. It is necessary to not only process the diseased plant, but also transplant it into fresh soil.
To prevent disease, the plant is examined for pests once a month.
Given all the features of the flower, it will be easy to provide proper care for it. Curiously, in some countries it is believed that the plectrantus is able to bring wealth and abundance to the house where it lives. In addition, the flower contains natural oils that promote human health. A decoction is made, which is infused for half an hour. it is taken internally to help with colds, calm the nervous system and ensure sound sleep. Add leaflets to cooking. There, the leaves serve as a decoration for dishes. They go to cocktails as an additional ingredient.
It is worth purchasing one of the varieties of plectrantus for your home. It will not only make the apartment more comfortable and "lively", but also make its inhabitants healthy and wealthy.