The beautiful indoor flower plectranthus does not require much laborious maintenance. For lovers of ornamental plants, it is also known as “molar tree”, “indoor mint” and “Swedish ivy”. A fast-growing, unpretentious plant perfectly landscapes and decorates interiors with its lush and lush foliage.
The evergreen shrub Plectranthus or bristle grows an average of 60-70 cm in height. It belongs to the Labiate or Lamb family and has about 250-320 species. In the wild, it is found in Madagascar, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Polynesia, the Pacific Ocean. Known for its beneficial properties. The leaves are used as a spice in many countries, and the mint flavor keeps insect pests away. Adherents of traditional medicine use it as a medicine for:
- nasal congestion;
- asthma and frequent coughing;
- urinary incontinence;
- diaper rash and diathesis;
- inflammation of the gums and throat;
- insomnia and headaches.
Decoctions and tinctures are made from the leaves, which are used for inhalation and aromatherapy.
The branched branches of the plectranthus spread along the ground or grow vertically. It has a pubescent or bare dense stem with brownish-red or bright green skin, as well as fibrous rhizomes. Oval or ovoid leaves grow on short processes in cross-like pairs. At the edges, they are covered with small teeth and are pronounced by a noticeable network of veins. The foliage exudes a pleasant spice or mint aroma.
Numerous branchy shoots of an ornamental shrub most often hang down under the weight of the foliage, so after buying it is better to immediately transplant the bush into a hanging pot or flowerpot. In summer, during the flowering period, small umbrella flowers (lilac, cream, white or violet-blue, depending on the variety) are barely visible between the succulent leaves. It is better to cut them in order to preserve the high decorative qualities of the plant. If the inflorescences are left, fleshy fruits form in their place, inside which small nuts ripen, which open after final ripening.
Types of decorative flower
Indoor mint or plectranthus comes in many varieties. Some of the varieties are not at all similar to each other:
- Plectranthus blumei (Plectranthus Blume). Hybrid ornamental variety with emerald foliage with elongated or pointed tops. It grows up to 80 cm. Closer to the roots, flower stems often begin to lignify.
- Plectranthus amboinicus (aromatic). In nature, such a branched shrub sometimes reaches 2 meters. Its purple tetrahedral branches are densely covered with broadly ovate leaves with glandular villi underneath. At the beginning of summer, such a bristle is covered with fragrant bluish flowers, connected in small inflorescences.
- Plectranthus ciliatus (ciliate). Purple short hairs are visible on the stems. It is a creeping flower with elongated or broadly ovate leaves with dense pubescence. Light purple or white flowers appear as inflorescences or occur singly.
- Plectranthus hadiensis (felt). Grows up to 70 cm in height. It has fleshy light green leaves covered with fine hairs. In summer, the fluffy flower is covered with small purple flowers.
- Plectranthus australis (southern). An unpretentious bristle flower with bright green foliage, as if covered with wax. Its shoots are rather weak and hang down under the weight of dense foliage.
- Plectranthus fruticosus (shrub). It is also known as the “molar tree”, which exudes a strong mint smell. The plant has broadly oval leaves pointed to the ends and pubescent branches. This variety blooms very profusely with pale blue flowers.
- Plectranthus coleoides (coleus). It is widely used in indoor breeding. The shrub has crenate, fleecy leaves, tetrahedral stems with a fringe and grows up to 1.5 meters high.
Plectranthus looks great in the interior and has thick beautiful foliage. To preserve it, you must adhere to some rules of home care.
Soil and fertilizers
plectranthus feels great, grows actively and guarantees abundant flowering if the soil in his pot consists of garden soil, humus, turf and a small amount of river sand and peat. This mixture should not be too dense so that enough oxygen is supplied to the roots. During active growth in spring and summer, the plant is fed twice a month. For the first time they take mineral mixtures, for the second time – organic matter. It is not advisable to fertilize the soil in the winter season.
Air humidity and proper watering
At home, plectranthus is actively growing and developing without any problems and complex care. It does not need to increase or decrease the humidity level, although it is better not to place it next to a hot battery during the winter season. If there is no other place for the plant, then it is necessary to moisten the fluffy bushes by substituting pallets with hydrogel, wet gravel or pebbles under the pot. Plain-leaved varieties of room mint can be sprayed with clean water several times a week.
In the spring-summer season, the bush is watered abundantly with settled soft water at room temperature, but only when the top layer of the earth has dried up. In winter, the frequency of watering is reduced, once every 3-4 days is enough. But if the flower is provided with additional lighting with a phyto-lamp, and it continues the period of active growth, watering is carried out in the same mode as in spring and summer.
Temperature control and lighting
plectranthus belongs to subtropical crops, but it loves diffused light more than direct sunlight, so it is better to put the pot on the southwest or east windowsill. Foliage increases in volume at a temperature of + 18-23 degrees. In the winter months, in a room with a bush, you need to maintain the air temperature at + 12-18 degrees. So that the shoots do not stretch out, do not become bare, and a thick leaf mass remains, it is advisable to additionally illuminate the flower in the winter season with a special phyto-lamp.
The sparrow propagates by cuttings or dividing the bush. In the latter case, when transplanting a flower into a new pot, it is divided into several parts with large shoots and developed roots. Places of cuts are sprinkled with activated carbon. The seedlings are separated with a sharp knife. After transplanting, each bush is darkened for several weeks, that is, put in partial shade and periodically abundantly moisturized.
For propagation of an ornamental plant by cuttings, shoots 5-7 cm long will be required. In order for them to take full-fledged roots, they are placed in a jar of plain water, but before that, the lower cut is soaked with a rooting solution. After the appearance of root shoots, the cuttings are transplanted into small pots or immediately into hanging pots. They are filled with a mixture of leafy earth, humus, river sand and turf.
All lovers of decorative flowers know that house mint is a fast-growing shrub. In a short period of time, its roots fill the pot, and a transplant is required. Usually it is carried out once a year. A new container is taken deeper and wider. Fresh soil is added. A drainage layer, for example, from small pebbles, is laid out on the bottom of the new pot. After transplanting, watering is carried out, but it is not advisable to fertilize the flower during the first 2-3 months. A perennial slow-growing plant does not need a transplant at all. It is enough just to fertilize it once a year and change the topsoil.
Pests and diseases
Under the bright sunlight, the foliage of the plectranthus quickly fades and begins to fall off if the pot is constantly in the shade. The leaves wither, and the shoots wilt when the root system is not sufficiently moistened. Due to high humidity and frequent watering, the flower becomes sick with powdery mildew. Gray spots appear on it.
Often, the bristle flower affects the spider mite, whitefly, scale insect or aphid, which suck out cell sap and nutrients from the shoots and leaves. They are taken out with special insecticidal solutions, which are sprayed on the bush on the street or on the balcony. It is impossible to manually wash the stems and foliage from parasitic insects, since they are covered with a protective edge.