How to Grow and Care for ‘Mona Lavender’ Plectranthus


Updated: 13 Sep, 2023

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‘Mona Lavender’ emerges from a botanical lineage, a graceful fusion of Plectranthus varieties hailing from the heart of South Africa. Its inception dates back to the 1990s, a serendipitous union between P. saccatus and P. hilliardiae ssp. autrale ‘Magwa’. This amalgamation births a plant adorned with a harmonious blend of its parental legacies – resplendent lavender blooms and leaves of vibrant hue.

The blossoms, showcasing a fetching shade of purple, unfurl along a regal stem, rising above the glossy, ovate foliage. A verdant crown on the upper side, the leaves don a regal purple cloak on their undersides. ‘Mona Lavender’ demands care akin to its Plectranthus kin, a resilient tropical denizen that flourishes with modest attention.

Etymologically, its botanical name traces its roots to ancient Greece, where “plectron” denoted spur, and “anthos” symbolized flower – a fitting homage to its characteristic spurred blossoms. Nestled within the mint family, it shares familial ties with Coleus and the ubiquitous ground cover, creeping Charlie.

What is the origin of ‘Mona Lavender’?

‘Mona Lavender’ is a hybrid plant originating from a cross between two South African perennial evergreen species: P. saccatus and P. hilliardiae ssp. autrale ‘Magwa.’ This hybridization occurred in the 1990s.

Common NameMona Lavender, ‘Mona Lavender’ plectranthus, lavender spur flower
Botanical NamePlectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’
FamilyLamiaceae
Plant TypePerennial, shrub
Mature Size1-2 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
Sun ExposurePartial
Soil TypeRich, well-drained
Soil pHAcidic
Bloom TimeFall, winter
Flower ColorPurple
Hardiness Zones10-11 (USDA)
Native AreaCultivar, no native range

How to Grow ‘Mona Lavender’ From Seed

Growing ‘Mona Lavender’ from seed can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to witness the entire life cycle of this beautiful plant. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to grow ‘Mona Lavender’ from seeds:

Materials Needed:

  • ‘Mona Lavender’ seeds
  • Seedling trays or small pots
  • Seed starting mix or well-draining potting soil
  • Plastic dome or plastic wrap
  • Watering can or spray bottle
  • Grow lights or a sunny location

Steps:

  • Selecting Seeds: Obtain ‘Mona Lavender’ seeds from a reputable source. Ensure they are fresh and viable for best germination results.

  • Prepare Seedling Trays or Pots: Fill seedling trays or small pots with a high-quality seed starting mix or well-draining potting soil. Make sure the containers have drainage holes at the bottom.

  • Sowing the Seeds: Gently press the ‘Mona Lavender’ seeds into the soil, but do not bury them too deeply. A light dusting of soil over the seeds is sufficient.

  • Moisten the Soil: Use a watering can or spray bottle to lightly moisten the soil. Ensure it is evenly damp, but not waterlogged.

  • Cover for Germination: To create a humid environment that aids germination, cover the seedling tray with a plastic dome or use plastic wrap. This helps retain moisture.

  • Provide Adequate Light: Place the seedling tray in a location with bright, indirect light. If natural light is limited, consider using grow lights set at an appropriate distance.

  • Maintain Temperature: ‘Mona Lavender’ prefers warm conditions for germination. Ensure the temperature remains between 65-75°F (18-24°C) to promote healthy growth.

  • Monitor Soil Moisture: Check the soil moisture regularly. It should remain consistently damp, but not waterlogged. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely.

  • Transplanting Seedlings: Once the seedlings have developed a few sets of true leaves and are large enough to handle, carefully transplant them into individual pots with well-draining soil.

  • Gradual Acclimatization: When the seedlings have grown sturdy enough, gradually introduce them to outdoor conditions if you plan to plant them in a garden. Start by placing them outside for short periods, gradually increasing the time.

  • Planting in the Garden (Optional): If you’re planting ‘Mona Lavender’ outdoors, choose a location with well-draining soil and partial shade. Space the plants according to their mature size.

  • Provide Ongoing Care: Continue to water and care for the seedlings as they grow, ensuring they receive appropriate light, water, and nutrients.

Light Requirements:

‘Mona Lavender’ thrives in bright, indirect light. It can tolerate some morning sun, but it’s best to avoid intense, direct sunlight, especially in regions with scorching afternoon rays.

Temperature and Humidity:

This plant prefers warm temperatures ranging from 60-75°F (15-24°C). It is sensitive to cold drafts, so ensure it’s placed away from chilly windows or doors. ‘Mona Lavender’ appreciates moderate humidity levels, so consider occasional misting, especially in drier climates.

Watering:

Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering. Ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogged roots, which can lead to rot. During the growing season (spring and summer), water thoroughly but allow excess water to drain. In winter, reduce watering, as the plant’s growth slows.

Soil and Potting:

A well-draining, peat-based potting mix is ideal for ‘Mona Lavender’. Consider adding perlite or sand to improve drainage. Repotting is typically needed every 2-3 years or when the plant outgrows its current container.

Fertilizing:

Feed ‘Mona Lavender’ with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to excessive growth without adequate root development.

Pruning and Pinching:

Regularly pinch off spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. You can also prune leggy or overgrown stems to maintain a compact and bushy appearance.

Propagation:

‘Mona Lavender’ can be propagated from stem cuttings. Take a cutting with at least two nodes, remove the lower leaves, and root it in water or a well-draining propagation mix.

Pest and Disease Management:

Keep an eye out for common houseplant pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Insecticidal soap or neem oil can be used for control. Ensure good air circulation to prevent fungal issues.

Overwintering:

In colder climates, bring ‘Mona Lavender’ indoors before temperatures drop below its tolerance level. Place it in a well-lit area away from cold drafts.

Special Considerations:

‘Mona Lavender’ benefits from occasional grooming to remove yellowing or damaged leaves. Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of stress, such as wilting, and adjust watering and light conditions accordingly.

Types of Plectranthus

Plectranthus is a diverse genus of plants that encompasses numerous species and cultivars. Each type of Plectranthus possesses its own unique characteristics, making them popular choices for both indoor and outdoor gardening. Here are some notable types of Plectranthus:

Plectranthus scutellarioides (Coleus):
This is one of the most well-known species of Plectranthus, commonly referred to as Coleus. It is renowned for its vibrant and varied foliage, which comes in a wide array of colors and patterns. Coleus plants are often grown as ornamental houseplants or as bedding plants in gardens.

Plectranthus amboinicus (Indian Borage):
Also known as Mexican Mint or Spanish Thyme, this aromatic herb is native to Southern and Eastern Africa. It is used for culinary and medicinal purposes and is characterized by its succulent, fleshy leaves with a distinctive aroma.

Plectranthus verticillatus (Swedish Ivy):
Despite its common name, Swedish Ivy is not a true ivy. It is a trailing plant with glossy, rounded leaves and is often grown in hanging baskets or as a ground cover in warm climates.

Plectranthus ciliatus (Speckled Spur Flower):
This species is appreciated for its attractive foliage, which is adorned with speckles and spots. It produces spikes of tubular flowers, making it a popular choice for adding color to gardens.

Plectranthus tomentosa (Vicks Plant):
Named for the strong menthol fragrance emitted by its leaves when crushed, the Vicks Plant is commonly used for its aromatic properties. It has fuzzy, gray-green leaves and is often grown as a medicinal herb.

Plectranthus ecklonii (Mona Lavender):
Known for its striking purple blooms and glossy foliage, Mona Lavender is a popular hybrid variety. It is often grown as an ornamental houseplant but can also thrive in certain garden environments.

Plectranthus argentatus (Silver Spur Flower):
This species is distinguished by its silvery-gray leaves, which create an eye-catching contrast in gardens. It produces spikes of tubular flowers that can vary in color.

Plectranthus zuluensis (Zulu Spur Flower):
Native to South Africa, this species features attractive, dark green leaves and produces spikes of tubular, mauve-colored flowers. It is well-suited for garden beds or containers.

Plectranthus oertendahlii (Pink Shield Flower):
As the name suggests, this species is valued for its pink-hued blooms. It has serrated, heart-shaped leaves and is known for its ornamental appeal.

How to Get ‘Mona Lavender’ to Bloom

Encouraging ‘Mona Lavender’ to bloom involves providing the right conditions and care. Here are some tips to help you get your ‘Mona Lavender’ to produce its lovely purple blossoms:

1. Provide Adequate Light: ‘Mona Lavender’ thrives in bright, indirect light. Place it near a window where it receives plenty of filtered sunlight. In areas with limited natural light, consider using grow lights to supplement.

2. Maintain the Right Temperature: ‘Mona Lavender’ prefers warm temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C). Avoid exposing it to cold drafts or extreme temperature fluctuations.

3. Proper Watering: Ensure the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering. Use a well-draining potting mix to prevent water accumulation around the roots.

4. Feed with Fertilizer: During the growing season (spring and summer), feed ‘Mona Lavender’ with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

5. Deadhead Spent Blooms: Regularly remove faded or spent flowers by pinching them off. This encourages the plant to redirect energy towards producing new blooms.

6. Maintain Humidity: ‘Mona Lavender’ appreciates moderate humidity levels. If your indoor environment is particularly dry, consider using a humidifier or placing the pot on a tray filled with water and pebbles to increase humidity around the plant.

7. Prune for Shape and Size: Trimming and shaping the plant can encourage bushier growth and more abundant blooms. Remove leggy or overgrown stems to maintain an attractive appearance.

8. Avoid Stress: ‘Mona Lavender’ can be sensitive to environmental stress. Ensure it’s not subjected to extreme conditions, such as drafts or prolonged periods of low light.

9. Be Patient: Sometimes, plants may take some time to acclimate to their environment and start blooming. Be patient and continue providing consistent care.

10. Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Pests and diseases can hinder blooming. Regularly inspect the plant for any signs of issues and take prompt action if needed.

11. Consider Outdoor Planting (in suitable zones): If you live in USDA hardiness zones 10-11, consider planting ‘Mona Lavender’ outdoors in a location with well-draining soil and partial shade. It may thrive and produce more blooms in the natural environment.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

‘Mona Lavender’ is generally a hardy plant, but like any other, it can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Here are some common issues you might encounter:

Common Pests:

  1. Aphids (Aphidoidea): These tiny insects feed on the sap of plants, causing leaves to become distorted and discolored. They can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

  2. Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae): Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects that appear as small, white, cottony masses on leaves and stems. They also feed on plant sap and can be managed with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

  3. Spider Mites (Tetranychidae): These minuscule pests suck the sap from leaves, causing stippling, discoloration, and webbing. Regularly misting the plant can help prevent spider mite infestations.

  4. Whiteflies (Aleyrodidae): Whiteflies are small, flying insects that congregate on the undersides of leaves. They can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Common Diseases:

  1. Powdery Mildew (Erysiphales): This fungal disease appears as a powdery white substance on the leaves, often in dry conditions. Fungicidal sprays can help manage powdery mildew.

  2. Root Rot (Phytophthora): Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot, causing the plant to wilt and the roots to become brown or black. To prevent this, ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering.

  3. Botrytis Blight (Botrytis cinerea): This gray mold fungus attacks weakened or damaged plant tissues, often in humid conditions. Prune affected areas and ensure good air circulation to prevent botrytis blight.

  4. Bacterial Leaf Spot (Pseudomonas cichorii or Xanthomonas campestris): Characterized by water-soaked spots on leaves, this bacterial disease can spread quickly. Remove affected leaves and ensure good air circulation.

Preventative Measures:

  1. Good Hygiene: Regularly inspect your ‘Mona Lavender’ for any signs of pests or diseases. Remove affected leaves or areas promptly.

  2. Proper Watering: Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering.

  3. Well-Draining Soil: Ensure the plant is potted in a well-draining soil mix to prevent waterlogged roots.

  4. Adequate Air Circulation: Good airflow around the plant can help prevent the development and spread of fungal diseases.

  5. Isolation: If you introduce a new plant to your collection, it’s a good practice to isolate it for a few weeks to ensure it doesn’t bring any pests or diseases into your existing plants.

By staying vigilant and providing proper care, you can help keep your ‘Mona Lavender’

Common Problems with ‘Mona Lavender’

‘Mona Lavender’ is a hardy plant, but it can still face some common issues. Here are potential problems you may encounter with ‘Mona Lavender’ and how to address them:

1. Overwatering:

  • Symptoms: Yellowing leaves, wilting, and waterlogged soil.
  • Solution: Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering. Ensure proper drainage in the pot to prevent water accumulation.

2. Underwatering:

  • Symptoms: Drooping leaves, dry soil, and overall wilting.
  • Solution: Water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. Ensure the water drains through the pot’s drainage holes.

3. Improper Lighting:

  • Symptoms: Leggy growth, pale leaves, or lack of blooms.
  • Solution: Provide bright, indirect light. Consider supplementing with grow lights if natural light is insufficient.

4. Cold Drafts:

  • Symptoms: Wilting, yellowing leaves, and slowed growth.
  • Solution: Protect the plant from cold drafts by placing it away from windows or doors where drafts occur.

5. Pests:

  • Common Pests: Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies.
  • Symptoms: Visible pests on the plant, distorted leaves, or stippling.
  • Solution: Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control pests. Isolate the affected plant if possible.

6. Root Rot:

  • Symptoms: Wilting, yellowing leaves, and mushy or darkened roots.
  • Solution: Ensure well-draining soil and allow excess water to drain properly. Repot if root rot is severe.

7. Powdery Mildew:

  • Symptoms: White powdery substance on leaves.
  • Solution: Improve air circulation around the plant. Treat with a fungicidal spray if necessary.

8. Lack of Blooms:

  • Symptoms: The plant fails to produce flowers.
  • Solution: Ensure adequate light, proper watering, and appropriate fertilization. Consider pruning to encourage blooming.

9. Leggy Growth:

  • Symptoms: Long, stretched-out stems with sparse foliage.
  • Solution: Provide brighter light and consider pinching or pruning to promote bushier growth.

10. Stress from Environmental Changes:

  • Symptoms: Wilting, drooping, or yellowing leaves.
  • Solution: Gradually acclimate the plant to new conditions when moving it to a different location or environment.

11. Nutrient Deficiency:

  • Symptoms: Yellowing leaves, stunted growth, or poor overall vigor.
  • Solution: Feed the plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer according to the recommended dosage.
What are the key characteristics of ‘Mona Lavender’?

‘Mona Lavender’ is known for its striking purple, two-lipped blooms that appear on purple stems. The leaves are glossy and ovate, with green topsides and purple undersides, giving the plant a unique and attractive appearance.

How do I care for ‘Mona Lavender’?

‘Mona Lavender’ requires care similar to other Plectranthus plants. It thrives with minimal attention, making it an easy-to-grow tropical plant. Adequate sunlight, well-drained soil, and occasional watering are essential for its well-being.

What does the botanical name ‘Plectranthus’ mean?

The botanical name ‘Plectranthus’ is derived from two Greek words: “plectron,” meaning spur, and “anthos,” meaning flower. This name reflects the characteristic spurred flowers of Plectranthus plants, including ‘Mona Lavender.’

Is ‘Mona Lavender’ related to any other plants?

Yes, ‘Mona Lavender’ is a member of the mint family and shares a botanical kinship with plants like Coleus and the common lawn weed known as creeping Charlie.

Can ‘Mona Lavender’ be grown as a houseplant?

Yes, ‘Mona Lavender’ is often cultivated as a houseplant due to its cold sensitivity. It thrives indoors in a suitable environment.

In which gardening zones can ‘Mona Lavender’ be grown outdoors?

‘Mona Lavender’ can be planted in outdoor gardens in zones 10 and 11. In these regions, it serves as a perennial plant, maintaining its evergreen foliage and blooming from late summer into winter.

How can I propagate ‘Mona Lavender’?

‘Mona Lavender’ can be propagated through stem cuttings. To do so, take a cutting with a node, place it in moist soil or a rooting medium, and keep it in a warm, humid environment until roots develop. This process allows you to create new plants from your existing ‘Mona Lavender.’

Conclusion

‘Mona Lavender’ stands as a testament to the beauty and resilience that can arise from nature’s intricate tapestry. Its origins, rooted in the crossbreeding of South African perennial species, have given rise to a plant of exquisite charm, with vibrant purple blooms adorning glossy, dual-toned leaves.

Caring for ‘Mona Lavender’ is a straightforward endeavor, mirroring the needs of its Plectranthus kin. This tropical gem thrives with minimal intervention, making it an accessible choice for both novice and experienced gardeners alike.

The botanical nomenclature, derived from ancient Greek, pays homage to the unique spurred flowers that grace this species. ‘Mona Lavender’ finds its place within the mint family, sharing familial ties with plants like Coleus and creeping Charlie.

Whether nestled within the confines of a home as a cherished houseplant or gracing the outdoors in select gardening zones, ‘Mona Lavender’ enchants with its perennial allure. Its evergreen presence and blooming from late summer through winter in zones 10 and 11 are a testament to its enduring beauty.


Mary Lloyster

Mary Lloyster

Mary, the ultimate oracle of indoor gardening! With years of experience and a flourishing indoor expo, Mary has become our go-to expert for all things related to house plants and indoor gardening. Despite her background in Political Science, Mary has discovered a delightful way to blend her full-time job with a touch of relaxation through indoor gardening. Now, she eagerly shares her wisdom and experiences with our readers on a daily basis. If you have any inquiries about house plants, indoor gardening techniques, or caring tips, don't hesitate to leave a comment for Mary in the designated section below!

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