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 Container Gardens Questions

Native plants for containers
April 22, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have found the website very helpful, but have a few questions of my own. I recently purchased the winecup plant, phlox and cedar sage perennials. I have planted them in ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for 16th floor of condo in Panama City Beach, FL
May 30, 2012 - My husband and I have a COSI on the west end of Panama City Beach, Fl. I love plants and flowers and live out of state. Our condo is on the 16th floor and directly on the gulf. What type of plants ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants with showy flowers for pots in Central Texas
January 14, 2009 - I'm looking for evergreen plants with showy flowers suitable for Central Texas. Plants need to do well in pots.. they will be planted in flower boxes in my very sunny porch. thanks!!!
view the full question and answer

A 3-6 ft. high overwintering container plant
November 08, 2011 - I live in Austin, Tx. and am looking for a plant/shrub that I can keep in a ceramic pot through out the winter. It can grow to from 3 feet to six feel.
view the full question and answer

Why do the leaves of my potted Esperanza plant look droopy?
August 13, 2009 - My Esperanza plant leaves look droopy. I have it in a big pot and have for 3 years.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center