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Ocimum labiatum


Water Needs


Ocimum labiatum
Shrub small
Shell Bush; Pink Sage

1,5 x 1,5 m


Light Conditions

shade; semi-shade; sun




pink November to April; spring summer autumn

Garden Situation

screen; sun; afternoon sun; shade; semi-shade; rockery; dry shade; shrubbery; wildlife insects butterflies; narrow spaces; fast-growing easy-care


rocky places; woodland forest; bushveld; coastal kzn; grassland


subtropical east coast; highveld; bushveld savanna

Rain Season


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The Shell Bush, or Pink Sage, is a good choice for a water-wise garden as, once it is established it is relatively drought hardy, and able to cope with moderate frost. Not all water-wise plants need to be succulents! The pink sage is a fast growing small shrub, reaching about 1,5m high. The leaves are a bright green, hairy and heart shaped, and the flowers are long spikes of a pale and darker pink colour, adding colour to the garden from November through to April. It is a great shrub to plant in groups under trees in well composted soils. The leaves are very aromatic as this plant is from the same herbal family as mint, rosemary and sage. The pink sage will help to attract butterflies to your garden and bees and other insects will visit for the nectar it produces. It is small enough for a small town house garden –put it where you can touch the fragrant leaves and see the flowers close up. It will benefit from being pruned back every year or two at the end of summer, by one third. This will prevent it from becoming too woody, and will encourage thicker growth. The new spring growth will be fast and lush. Feed it through summer with an organic fertilizer, and mulch it well. It is easy to propagate from seed and cuttings. This is a lovely choice for an aromatic garden, or for a pot on a patio. A shrub that adds soft beauty to a garden.

Ocimum labiatum
Ocimum labiatum
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