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Products > Teucrium betonicum
Teucrium betonicum - Madeira Germander

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Teucrium betonicum
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: Madeira Islands (Atlantic Ocean)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Rose
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Chamaedrys betonicifolia, T. canescens]
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 3-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Teucrium betonicum (Madeira Germander) - a small evergreen shrub to 3-4 feet tall when in flower and spreading just a bit wider to form a rounded dome of color. It has lightly aromatic sage-green 3-inch-long narrow heart-shaped leaves that are scallop-edged and hoary on the undersides. Over several months from mid-spring to mid-summer appear in profusion the showy upright 6-inch-tall spikes of violet to rose-colored flowers. It can seed out a bit where it is happy but has not proven yet to be weedy.

Plant in full sun or light shade in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to infrequently - it is a "drought tolerant" plant that can go summer dormant in the summer dry landscape but an occasional irrigation during this period prolongs bloom and keeps plant completely evergreen. It is considered hardy to around 20°F, so useful in gardens in USDA zones 9a and above but more testing of this relatively rare plant is needed to know how cold it can go. It has also proven resistant to deer predation. Prune to shape every few years in late winter if needed. This plant is attractive even when not in bloom and can be stunning in flower. With these attributes and its smaller size, Madeira Germander should prove a nice addition to both the smaller and the larger dry gardens.

Teucrium betonicum comes from rocky areas and laurel forests in the elevated central rocky area on the island of Madeira (the central massif) and also on the coastal slopes on the southern side of the island. It was first described by the French botanist Charles Louis L'Héritier de Brutelle in 1788. In the 1808 edition of Curtis's Botanical Magazine (Volumes 28) it was noted as having been introduced into England by Sir Joseph Banks in 1775 from the voyages of discovery through Macaronesia with Captain Cook and by the time of that writing twenty years later it was already considered common in cultivation. The name for the genus has several possible derivations but most likely it is from the Greek name Teucer, a king of Troy, who is said to have used such plants medicinally. The specific epithet is from an old Linnaean name for various plants commonly referred to as Betony such as Stachys betonica and Teucrium betonicum. It is also commonly known as Madeira Sage Germander and Hoary Germander. Our thanks go out to Bart O'Brien of Tilden Regional Parks Botanic Garden who identified this plant for us and shared his experience growing it and to Hope Merkle of Los Osos Valley Nursery for our original stock plant and we grew and sold this plant from 2017 until 2023, only stopping because we lost track of it in production and sold our propagation stock out. 

This information about Teucrium betonicum displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.