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Products > Plectranthus coerulescens
Plectranthus coerulescens - Ethiopian Spur Flower

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: Ethiopia (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Blue
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [Coleus coerulescens, P. argentifolius form]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Plectranthus coerulescens (Ethiopian Spur Flower) A small low growing compact subshrub to about 1 foot tall spreading to 2-3 feet wide with stems that can drape over a wall or raised planter. It has semi-succulent blue-green leaves whose margins are entire or very finely toothed and in spring has showy pale-blue boat-shaped flowers on spaced stem circling clusters, called verticillasters, that cover the plant in profusion. Plant in full sun to a brightly lit shade in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to very little. We have not tested this plant for hardiness below 32F but most Plectranthus, even ones that come from colder climates than this, are a bit sensitive to a frost and one might want to protect this little jewel. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'plektron' meaning a "spur" and 'anthos' meaning "flower" in reference to the spur that is found at the base of the corolla tube of the type species Plectranthus fruticosus. We received this plant as Plectranthus coerulescens, a plant reportedly collected on limestone rocks at Harar in Ethiopia but the holotype of Plectranthus coerulescens (as Coleus coerulescens) was destroyed in Berlin during World War II, and the isotype consists of only fragments and a drawing of the inflorescence, so the validity of the name has long been uncertain with some references combining this species with the similar Plectranthus argentifolius that was described from Somalia and Yemen but R.H Williamse in 1985 redescribed Plectranthus coerulescens from cultivated material from a Dutch botanic garden to include both the Somalian plant previously known as P. argentifolius and the Ethiopian plant, noting that Plectranthus argentifolius has pedicels hardly more than 6mm long, which flowers of this plant exceeds and is not known from Ethiopia. To make matters even more confusing this name is sometimes listed as a synonym for Plectranthus barbatus var. barbatus. We first got this plant from our friend John Bleck and first offered it for sale in 2014.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Plectranthus coerulescens.