Plectranthus australis, or Swedish Ivy, is a fast-growing evergreen perennial with a sprawling habit. It is a member of the mint family, with round leaves with scalloped edges. It has fleshy square stems with opposite leaves and produces spikes of white or violet flowers in the summer. It is grown in USDA Zone 10-12 and makes a great ground cover and low-growing shrub that can reach up to two feet in height. Plectranthus australis can also be grown as a small shrub if the plant is pinched frequently to maintain a full habit, up to five feet tall.
Though Plectranthus australis can be grown in full sun, it prefers semi-shady spots. Regular watering is essential to keep the soil slightly damp. Plectranthus australis can be easily grown from cuttings. With clear, deep green foliage and ornamental, deep-colored leaves, this lovely shrub with an annual bloom is sure to be an eye-catching addition to any garden.
Plectranthus australis can grow in containers as well as in the ground, even in colder climates. When planting in a pot, be sure to select a container that is large enough to give the plant enough space for root growth. Poorer soils are best and so be sure to fill to at least two-thirds with a fast-draining soil. Regular watering is important, as with any plant, and also be sure to fertilize and prune as needed. If in a cold region, bring potted Plectranthus australis indoors during cold winter months and keep in a cool, bright spot.