Thursday, September 19, 2013

My favorite plant this week: Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata'

My favorite plant this week is a subtle player in the garden.  She stands demurely in the middle of my backyard border, always beautiful but never shouting for attention.  She is Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' (also known as Mint Bush).   According to my records, she's occupied a spot in my garden for one year as of today so it seemed only fitting to celebrate her anniversary.

Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' photographed in the early morning sunshine

This evergreen shrub is said to handle full sun to partial shade conditions.  In my garden, she gets some shade during the hottest part of the day but receives sun in both the morning and late afternoon. The foliage is aromatic but the scent isn't heavy or cloying.

She bears purplish pink flowers in the spring.  Mine bloomed back in April but only near the base.



I'd like to add more to the garden but I'm still looking for the right placement.  This shrub would look wonderful in front of a plant with dark green foliage.

Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' is hardy in USDA zones 9a-11 (Sunset zones 14-17 and 19-24). The Australian Native Plants Nursery says that it will tolerate heavy frosts.  It can wilt if it gets too dry but is said to recover well when irrigated.  Despite a significant number of plant losses to the drought and near-drought conditions in my garden, I've never yet had a problem with this plant.  Predictions as to its height and girth appear to vary widely but the tag that came with my plant says she'll get up to 4 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.

This is my contribution to Loree's collection of favorite plant nominations this week at danger garden.  You can find Loree's favorite and links to other gardeners' selections here.  Thanks for giving Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' an opportunity to strut her stuff, Loree!

17 comments:

  1. On years past with milder winters we used to get away with growing various prostanthera, now only a few reliably sail through in the south of the country at least. I do love the foliage of this one, so dainty and cute!

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    1. Climate change certainly makes hardiness more unpredictable, doesn't it?

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  2. Pretty plant and flowers. I'm always interested in fragrant plants. Too bad it is not hardy up where I live, is it hardy for you?

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    1. I'm in USDA zone 10b so the plant falls neatly within my range. So far, no problems.

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  3. This is a new one for me..I looked it up in Sunset and it appears that it may be hardy for me, but I've not seen it offered around here.The foliage is very pleasing !

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    1. I've had difficulty finding it, as well. Although I believe I got the one featured in this post as a 1-gallon plant, the few I've seen since have been in pricey 3-gallon containers.

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  4. The foliage is lovely, it almost looked like a perennial at first glance. The fact that it flowered only at the bottom probably signifies that it flowers on old wood so a warning to be careful when you prune or you could cut off all the new flowering wood. I see you joined in Foliage follow up, you can also link the post to GBFD which is on the 22nd.

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    1. Yes, Christina, I think you're right that it blooms on old wood. Fortunately, it hasn't needed any trimming to keep its shape this past year.

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  5. What a beautiful plant! I'm trying a non-variegated variety this year for the fist time. Thanks for sharing this, which was a new plant to me.

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    1. Good luck with yours, Peter! Thanks for visiting.

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  6. I've never heard of this plant and love that first shot of it, such a bright clear green. But then when you can see the creamy margins it just gets better...thanks for introducing me to Prostanthera!

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    1. It's exceptionally pretty and, so far at least, no trouble. I hope you can find one to try, Loree.

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  7. Very pretty! I've never seen it here but it would be an annual in my climate. I like any plant that smells good. :o)

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    1. The scent is certainly an added bonus, Tammy.

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  8. What a pretty plant! The variegated leaves are lovely, and I also like its form. Of course, I fall in love with almost every variegated plant I see.

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    1. It is wonderful, Deb. I'm hoping I get more blooms next year but it's pretty even without them.

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  9. Oh man, this is so pretty! I'm so bummed this one isn't hardy in my area (though it's so close it's tempting to try). I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for this one.

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