Coleus amboinicus Lour.
Caribbean Oregano, Country Borage, Cuban Oregano, French Thyme, Indian Borage, Indian Mint, Mexican Mint, Soup Mint, Spanish Thyme
Majana amboinica, Plectranthus amboinicus
Coleus amboinicus, formerly known as Plectranthus amboinicus, is a much-branched succulent with decumbent stems and green, highly aromatic leaves, all densely hairy. The stems are fleshy, cylindrical to somewhat 4-angled, and grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long and 0.3 inches (0.7 cm) in diameter. They are green when young, becoming brownish as they age. Leaves are broadly ovate to ovate-deltoid with finely scalloped margins, up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) long and 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide, and attached to the stem with an up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long petiole.
The flowers are lilac, mauve, or whitish and appear arranged in whorls of 4 to 10 along slender, up to 20 inches (50 cm) long stalks from late summer to fall. The fruits are smooth, pale brown nutlets.
Coleus amboinicus is native to Africa. It grows at low altitudes in woodland or coastal bush, on rocky slopes and loamy or sandy flats from Kenya southwards to Angola in the west and, in the east, to Mozambique, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), and the northern KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
The specific epithet "amboinicus (am-boy-IN-ih-kuss) means "belonging to or derived from Ambon" and refers to Ambon Island, part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia, where the species was apparently encountered.
USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Water Cuban Oregano when the top 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of its soil becomes dry. Apply 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water from a garden hose directly to the surrounding ground. Water the plant during mid-morning hours to allow moistened foliage time to dry before nightfall. Never water so frequently that the soil becomes soggy or develops standing water.
Apply 1 tablespoon of 10-10-10, slow-release, granular fertilizer per 1 square foot (930 Square Centimeters) of the Cuban Oregano's soil in spring, just as new growth begins on the plant. Spread the fertilizer in a band around the Cuban Oregano, keeping it 6 inches (15 cm) from the plant's stems to prevent fertilizer burn. Mix the fertilizer granules into the top 3 inches (7.5 cm) of soil with a rake or garden fork. Water the area immediately to activate the fertilizer. Reapply the fertilizer every three months throughout the plant's active growing season.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Cuban Oregano.
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