white; mauve; April – June; autumn; winter
shade; sun; rockery; slope bank; shrubbery; screen; container; wildlife bees butterflies insects butterfly host
woodland forest; grassland; coastal Eastern Cape; coastal KZN
thicket; subtropical East Coast; Highveld; bushveld savanna
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Plectranthus hadiensis is breathtaking in flower. I have seen little of this Plectranthus species in urban gardens, and its beauty and versatility are a delight. There are three geographical variations of this species, but P. hadiensis var. hadiensis is found through Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In a Midlands garden, the 1,5m high shrubs thrive in full sun on the steep bank, but it grows as easily in partial to light shade. In May the flowering display is outstanding; mauve and white flowers stand well above the foliage, 50 cm long and cover the bush from April to June. The Hairy Spurflower is just as attractive out of season with bright green leaves and serrated edges. When trimmed at the end of winter, the foliage grows thick and compact. The natural distribution is forest and open grassland, often found around rocks. Plectranthus hadiensis requires very little maintenance other than a yearly trim after flowering but does best in high rainfall, frost-free areas, but it may survive a light frost. Rain or irrigation soon revives a wilting plant in a dry season. Propagation is quite successful via cuttings. Frost area gardeners could replace the Plectranthus with other species from the Sage family; Thorncroftia succulenta (Rock Sage), Syncolostemon transvaalensis (Pink Salvia -protect young plants against frost,) or Salvia dolomitica.