plant of the month Plectranthus neochilus

Plectranthus neochilus , otherwise known by it’s common names, Blue Spurflower. smelly coleus, blue coleus, lobster flower or the Afrikaans “rotstuinsalie”, is an incredibly fast growing ground cover plant.

It spreads quickly, with each plant growing up to about 50 centimetres high and 60 centimetres wide.

If you have a garden bed where it seems nothing will grow – This is probably the plant for you!

It grows happily in shade and full sun, is water wise, and the only maintenance you may ever have to do is the occasional trim back.

The purple-blue flowers grow profusely from September to April., and when not flowering the evergreen pale green leaves will keep even the most challenging landscape looking fresh!

In its natural habitat, it can be found growing in dry thickets, usually under trees in open and sometimes rocky woodland and among rocks in grassland and in bushveld and is widely distributed in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West , as well as in Eswatini, Namibia ,Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana.

The plants have a strong minty fragrance that can be smelt when there is a breeze or when making contact with them, and are believed to scare away snakes

It is also said that these plants can be effectively used as an air purifier.

It is incredibly easy to propagate – A cutting of 10cm or so can be planted directly into the soil, and with a little water, will establish itself easily within a few weeks, and will cover bare areas of soil remarkably quickly.

It is indigenous, is great for attracting bees and pollinating insects, and is almost indestructible.

If you are looking for a quick fix for an unsightly area, this is probably the plant for you!