En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
20 ratings

Wednesday - September 26, 2007

From: Rochester, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens
Title: Plectranthus (native of South Africa) winter care and insects
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was recently given a beautiful plant which is now in a pot in my yard. I live in Rochester, NY and need to know what to do with this plant in the fall. The plant is 'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus pp 13858. Is this an annual or perennial? Should I bring it inside when the weather gets cold? If I do bring it in, do I have to worry about bugs on the leaves or in the soil contaminating my house plants? I would appreciate any advice on this matter.

ANSWER:

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we concentrate on the protection and propagation of plants native to North America. While the Plectranthus is a native of South Africa, we are happy to pass along the information we found on it.

The Plectranthus "Mona Lavender" is the result of very intensive hybridizing in its native South Africa. It is a quick-growing perennial shrub, reaching 24 to 30 inches in height. When it receives sun, it tends to stay smaller and more compact, and does very well in either shaded or partly sunny positions. In your location in New York, you will certainly need to bring the plant in before the first frost. It needs a rich soil, and watering every few days, as well as fertilizing every 6 to 10 weeks. We really can't help you much with whether infestations on the leaves or the soil will damage your house plants. The best practice is to examine it very closely before you bring it in, perhaps using a strong spray of water on the leaves to dislodge any very small pests. If the soil began as a sterilized potting soil, there shouldn't be much danger of pests in that. If you are still concerned, you might "quarantine" it for a while, away from the other house plants, perhaps in a garage, and see if the warmer interior air brings out any bugs.

Since this plant is a native of a much-warmer climate, we don't feel it's necesssary to warn you about allowing the plant to grow in the soil outside. If it can't survive your winters, it's unlikely to escape from cultivation and become an invasive.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Erosion control in Spicewood TX
March 20, 2013 - I am from a small community along the Colorado River a few miles East of Marble Falls. We are looking for a ground cover/grass to prevent erosion on on our beach front. We had planned to use Bermuda G...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of non-native Jerusalem Sage from Marble Falls, TX
October 11, 2010 - What is the best way to propagate Jerusalem Sage? I've located a plant and I want to get some going.
view the full question and answer

Disappearing oranges from Satsuma orange in Austin
June 25, 2008 - I had many tiny future oranges on my Satsuma Orange Tree until a few days ago. Suddenly, all were gone except one. They weren't on the ground and the tree itself seems incredibly healthy. It is gr...
view the full question and answer

Can non-native Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus) be grown in Round Rock, Texas?
July 01, 2014 - Can the Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus) be grown in the Round Rock Texas area or is this area too hot for it?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Bird of Paradise plant (Strelitzia reginae)
November 30, 2008 - I have two Bird of Paradise plants on my lanai (Marion County, FL) and they are both in large pots. Nobody but me seems to like them at my house and I have been asked if I could trim all the leaves o...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center