Plectranthus ecklonii is a soft, erect, fast growing shrub
to 3 metres tall. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs on the
square stems, the latter with tufts of purplish hairs along the
nodes. The ovate to ellilptical leaves are fairly large 74-190 x
35-115 mm bearing a wedge shaped base and acute apex.
inflorescence is a terminal panicle to 370 mm long. The two-lipped
corolla is 15-24 mm long, bluish-purple, rarely pink or white with
a straight tube. Plants flower from March to May with a peak in
April. The plant has small nutlets which are 2 mm, black or dark
P. ecklonii has a wide distribution from Somerset east in
the Eastern Cape to Barberton in Mpumalanga. It is confined to moist
coastal subtropical and afrotemperate Forest and forest margins.
Rainfall is mainly during summer ranging between 1 000 and 1 750
mm per annum.
Growing Plectranthus ecklonii
In the garden Plectranthus ecklonii is an attractive and
popular garden subject. Mass planting of the blue, white and pink
cultivars are very striking. P. ecklonii is best grown in
partial shade. It is recommended for gardens where frost is not
too severe. In colder climates it can be grown as a container house
plant indoors. P. ecklonii is a fast growing pioneer shrub
and very suited for shady gardens. It will flower profusely the
first season after planting. Plant about 60 cm apart. Prune back
hard after flowering during midwinter.
are three available cultivars.
P. ecklonii 'Medley-Wood' the common garden cultivar with
P. ecklonii 'Tommy', with white flowers.
P. ecklonii 'Erma', with pink flowers.
P. ecklonii is easily propagated from cuttings or seed.
Cuttings can be planted like perennial grass 'in situ'. Cuttings
should be about 15-20 cm long, with the top leaves kept. Keep moist
and rooting is rapid. Cuttings can also be rooted in sand or other
appropriate cutting medium. The best time to take cuttings is spring
or summer. Keep them in a shady, but well lit terrain.
Seeds can be planted in a shallow standard seed tray in standard
soil. Cover with a thin layer of sand (1-2 mm) and keep moist. Keep
in a shady but well lit environment. Germination is rapid and the
seedlings can be planted out in individual bags as soon as they
are large enough to handle.
Ernst van Jaarsveld