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Plectranthus prostratus (Succulent Swedish Ivy)


Scientific Name

Plectranthus prostratus Gürke

Common Names

Succulent Swedish Ivy, Pillow Plant, Tangled Hearts

Scientific Classification

Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Ocimeae
Genus: Plectranthus


Plectranthus prostratus is a small succulent perennial, up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall, with creeping, much-branched stems. It displays a profusion of tiny, thick, lime green leaves forming a mat of foliage. Lines of purple form on leaf edges if in bright light. Flowers are small, white with a hint of violet, and appear in leaf axils.


USDA hardiness zone 7b to 10a: from 5 °F (−15 °C) to 35 °F (+1.7 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Plectranthus are easily cultivated and require little extra attention or special treatment. They enjoy well-composted soil and, as a rule, thrive in semi-shade or cool positions on the south-facing aspects. They are ideally suited to growth under the shade of trees. They are generally shallow rooted and enjoy adequate water, but they do store water in their stems and are resistant to prolonged periods of drought. Plectranthus are often grown for their attractive foliage, flowers, or both and vary in their growth forms from dense prostrate ground covers to sub-shrubs and large shrubs.

Although they are frost tender, they are usually grown in shady, protected places and, as such, are afforded some protection from frost. Because they all flower at the end of the growing season, frost does not affect flowering. If the plants are affected by frost, they can be cut back at the end of winter and will grow out rapidly. Once the plants have been established for a year or more they become woodier at the base and are more resistant to frost damage. See more at How to Grow and Care for Plectranthus.


Native to South Africa.


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