Saturday, September 18, 2010

Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'

This gorgeous evergreen, quick-growing, herbaceous perennial is a definite favourite for this dry tropics gardener.  This fabulous showy compact plant belongs to the Lamiaceae or Mint family.  It's a beautiful hybrid of Plectranthus saccatus and Plectranthus hilliardiae, developed in South Africa, and well-suited to a hot, dry climate.
Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' loves to grow in a shaded to semi-shade location with a moist but well drained soil.  It will form a small, dense, rounded shrub, reaching around 1 metre in height if planted out in the garden.  I grow two Mona's as potted plants, and they only reach around half that height!

The foliage of this Plectranthus is so attractive.  It has dark green glossy leaves with a purple-coloured underside ... but it's the dainty little flowers that are simply stunning.  I absolutely love the frothy, frilly purple cloud that appears when it's in full bloom.  'Mona Lavender' produces spikes of lavender coloured flowers that are dashed with purple markings.  They look a bit like cute little mini-orchids!

The flowers usually appear in early Summer and last right through to late Autumn. The plant will die back a little during the Winter here, so it's a great idea to give it a good trim at the end of Autumn, after flowering.  This will help maintain a neat shape and encourage denser foliage.  Fertilise with a slow release fertiliser during early Spring and you will be rewarded with a fabulous display.

17 comments:

  1. i love lavender coloured flowers and these are particularily striking!!

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  2. How nice to see a close-up view of this beautiful plant. I love those little orchid-like flowers. Gorgeous colour! You have such a wonderful collection of plants!

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  3. Arati ... thanks for visiting. I seem to have a lot of purple in varying shades in my garden, but this particular lavender purple is just so pretty.

    Kerri ... nice to 'see' you again. This is a plant I bought for the first time last year, but I've been so impressed with it. I just wish I had room to grow it in a garden bed here.

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  4. Hi Bernie, I posted on this fabulous plant last week, as it's a new one for me. Your pictures are much better :)

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  5. Dear Bernie, Your Plectranthus is stunning! Here it is a tender annual, but it adds trailing beauty to any potted plant. Such a pity it is not a perennial for us. Pam x

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  6. They do look like little orchids. I really like this plant.

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  7. Bernie, I fell in love with this flower and bought it. It is only about 10inches high. Thanks for the information about Mona lavender.

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  8. Cyndy ...I found your post and added my comment. Great post ... and I so loved that window box!

    Thanks Sue! ... and Missy!

    Pam ... yes it is a real shame this plant is only an annual for you. We're so lucky to be able to have this growing all year round. Whilst it doesn't flower all year, the foliage looks great all the time.

    Keewee ... they sure do look like tiny little orchid flowers.

    Lotusleaf ... I don't think you'll be disappointed with your purchase. It will grow quickly and be covered in blooms in no time.

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  9. What a beautiful range of images. Just love your garden.

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  10. Greenearth ... thank you for visiting and I do appreciate your lovely comment. This is a gorgeous plant.

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  11. Bernie,

    This morning at the market, I bought a potted plant with purple flowers. The florist told me it
    was a lavender plant. Later, I image-searched with Google and the image of the lavender plant in your web page looked exactly like mine.

    Thanks for the additional information on how to grow and maintain the 'Mona Lavender. May be after these three years, you can post an update of your Lavender plants.

    Thanks

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  12. I received a cutting from a potter I went to shop at in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. He had no idea what it was he gave me - he just liked it. The cutting is rooting very nicely just in water and I hope to pot it up some time this week. It didn't take me too long to find out what it was; I assumed from the square stem that it was a member of the mint family. The orchid-like flowers are too spectacular to not be mentioned - so I found your posting in a jiffy. No doubt about what it is anymore! I will share your posting with the potter in Gravenhurst - I have no doubt he will be thrilled too! Thanks!
    Petra from Selwyn, Ontario, Canada

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    1. Petra, you've received a fantastic plant. I've been growing them for years now and they have been brilliant. The purple-backed green foliage and those gorgeous flowers make it a truly lovely plant. Sounds like your cutting is doing well, so you'll be able to enjoy the mature plant in no time.

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  13. Bernie, I received the gorgeous plant for Mother's Day. It had no label, name or care instructions. It has taken me a week searching the web to try and identify it. I am so pleased with your pictures and comments. I live in central New Hampshire so I have grave concerns about planting it in my garden with are below freezing winters. Do you think it will not survive here? If so, then I hope I can keep it potted inside. Your suggestions would be much appreciated.

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    1. Hi Paulette. I'm glad I was able to help with an I.D. for your lovely plant. I'm afraid you're absolutely correct. The Plectranthus won't like living outdoors in freezing temps. It won't do very well at all when the weather gets below freezing. It will need to be kept potted indoors. It's very much a tropical or sub-tropical plant and like heat and bright light. If you do plant it outdoors in your garden you would have to treat it like an annual I'm afraid.

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