Scientific name: Plectranthus argentatus
Common Name: Silver Spur Flower
Full sun or shade? Can be grown in all day sun.
Plectranthus argentatus is native to the tropical rain-forests and rock outcrops of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Even though it’s native habitat is very different to southern Australia it can be grown successfully in a vast range of weather conditions. It is best grown in a part-shaded position or as a forest floor plant under taller shrubs or trees. They can be susceptible to frost burn in colder and high altitude areas, but they will usually recover in the spring. If plants are frost burnt, prune damaged growth off in early spring and fertilise with an Australian Native fertiliser to encourage fresh healthy growth.
Plectranthus argentatus is a tough, fast growing perennial shrub which is fairly drought tolerant once established. Good watering throughout the first summer, after planting, is ideal to encourage the plant to establish correctly for future success. Adding a layer of sugar cane mulch to the soil surface during dry weather periods can be highly beneficial especially in dry-hot climates. They tolerate root-competition amongst neighbouring plants, thus making them extremely compatible to be grown with a vast range of different plants.
Plectranthus argentatus has a semi-prostrate growth habit making it ideal for covering larger spaces in a short period of time. Growing to a maximum height of 1 metre (3 ft) and 1.5 – 2 metres (6 ft) wide makes this the perfect ‘filler’ for the garden. One of the best features of these plants is the beautiful velvet silver foliage. The foliage is ovate in shape and has a soft hair-like texture. During late summer through to winter, dainty white flowers sit proudly above the foliage. Flowers are borne on racemes that can grow up to 25-30cm in length. The blooms can also be enjoyed as cut flowers! This form can easily be grown by cutting (stem) propagation. Cut a stem, 2 inches long, (from the the tips) and sit in a cup of water until white roots develop. Make sure to refresh the water every day. Cuttings can also be placed into potting mix and roots will develop within a few weeks. It is recommended to prune Plectranthus argentatus once – twice a year to encourage a dense, bushy growth habit. Prune in early spring or after the flowers have finished blooming. By giving these plants a prune it will also encourage an abundance of flowers in the future!
Until next time happy gardening!
By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs