Last month I was lucky enough to win a mona lavender plant. Not only is it beautiful, but it was one that I neither owned nor knew of. time to learn about it.
On the plant label she was called Mona Lavender Plectranthus. None of my gardening books contained descriptions of it. Luckily, the internet offers an amazing array of resources.
In the 1990s, two South African perennials, Plectranthus species (P. saccatus and Philliardiae ssp. Autrale ‘Magwa’) were crossed to produce the hybrid Mona Lavender (Plectrantus hybridus ‘Plepalila’ PP13858). She shares characteristics of both parent plants with bright foliage and lavender flowers.
Its distinctive lavender, double-lipped flowers open on a purple stalk that protrudes above serrated, glossy leaves that are green above and purple below. The lush lavender blooms attract pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds. It belongs to the mint family and is closely related to Coleus (Coleus amboinicus) and Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea).
It can grow 1-2 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide. In the Victoria area, it is a low-maintenance perennial shrub that flowers outdoors from spring through fall.
Mona lavender is sensitive to cold and is often grown as a houseplant. If freezing temperatures are forecast, bring patio containers inside. If your plant is too big to move, take cuttings to propagate indoors.
The light determines both the flower and leaf color. The brighter the light, the richer its color becomes. This fact is particularly noticeable in the more intensely colored leaves.
Protect it from the afternoon sun. Mona Lavender cannot thrive in extreme heat. My mantra for patio plants is “morning sun, afternoon shade”.
As a houseplant, Mona Lavender needs as much bright and indirect light as possible. It prefers temperatures of 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
Mona Lavender needs an acidic, well-drained soil with rich organic matter. It thrives best in evenly moist soil. Like most tropical plants, it is considered a thirsty plant that needs water when the soil feels dry.
It can be fertilized every two months during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. If the soil is alkaline, fertilizing with a more acidic fertilizer will enrich both flower and foliage color.
Avoid fertilizing this plant in the fall and winter. If you fertilize during this time, the foliage will grow instead of flowering. Continue fertilizing when flowering slows and a boost is needed.
In general, it’s a good idea to pinch young plants regularly to encourage fuller, bushier growth. Cut off new stem tips frequently to keep the plant compact in shape and shape. Be sure to remove the inflorescences after flowering.
Aside from common pests, Mona Lavender is relatively trouble-free. However, it can become sparse and leggy. This situation occurs when it doesn’t get enough indirect bright light. To fix this problem, prune back leggy stems and place them in an indoor south- or west-facing window or a sunnier spot outdoors.
Mona Lavender can be grown in containers or hanging baskets and as a colorful bedding plant. As a houseplant, it usually lives for about five years.
Growers recommend repotting mona lavender plants every year or two. Choose containers 1 to 2 inches wider than current pots and use fresh, well-drained potting soil.
A very appealing aspect of Mona Lavender is its color. Lavender flowers represent devotion, serenity, grace, healing and calm. They are also associated with light-hearted, romantic energies.
The green leaves signify balance and peace while promoting calm. For many people, green colors make them feel optimistic, refreshed and closer to nature.
Mona Lavender evokes all these feelings in me and has certainly enriched my plant collection and me.
The Gardeners’ Dirt was written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational initiative of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. Submit your questions to Advocate, PO Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column on VictoriaAdvocate.com.