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Coleus neochilus

Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)

Common names: Smelly coleus, Blue coleus, Lobster flower, Plectranthus neochilus (E); Knoffelsalie (A);

Groundcover, Perennial, Succulent
A magnificent, low-maintenance shrublet with attractive purple flowers.

Coleus neochilus

EVERGREEN

FULL SUN

SEMI FROST HARDY

LOW WATER REQUIREMENTS

FAST GROWER

ATTRACTS INSECTS

FLOWER COLOUR:

AVERAGE SIZE:

0.5m x 1m
FLOWERING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Coleus neochilus

DESCRIPTION

An attractive low-growing and spreading groundcover with grey-green succulent leaves.  It bears interesting, lobster-like blue-purple flowers that are borne on angular bracts, carried on tall stems above the foliage.

Even when not in flower, the foliage colour provides interest to the garden.  The strongly aromatic foliage deters pests from the plant and its companions.

A variegated form of this species is available.

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Dry thicket and open woodland.
WILDLIFE & ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
The plant is believed to scare away snakes with the smell of its foliage.
The flowers attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. It is the larval host plant for several butterfly species – Bush Bronze, Garden Inspector, Mocker Blue, Eyed Pansy, the March Commodor and the African Leaf Commodore.
The plant is also reported to be an air purifier.
WATER REQUIREMENTS
Water sparingly to keep the foliage upright. If the plant receives too much water it tends to collapse on itself.
MAINTENANCE
This is a low-maintenance plant which spreads freely and may need to be trimmed back to keep contained.
Water sparingly to keep the foliage upright. If the plant receives too much water it tends to collapse on itself.
LANDSCAPING USES
An excellent water-wise plant for dry areas in a garden.
A useful groundcover to hold the soil on a slope.
It makes a useful container plant as it can sustain long periods without water.
GARDEN THEMES
Country, Formal, French, Grassland, Rockery
FLOWERS
The blue-purple, lobster-like flowers that are borne on angular bracts, carried on tall stems above the foliage. The bracts drop one by one from the bottom upwards to reveal the flower.
FOLIAGE
The grey-green succulent leaves are strongly aromatic are obovate in shape.
The margin is entire from the base and crenate for the upper third with a rounded tip.
Each leaf tends to fold into itself along its central vein, especially if the plant is subjected to dry and hot conditions.
The underside is slightly lighter in colour and the veins are prominent on this side.
Upper surface has fine hairs.
Leaves are opposite with no leaf stalk.
PESTS & DISEASES
Seldom attacked by pests.
CULTIVATION
Easily propagated from cuttings or by lifting rooted stems.

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