|Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Warrior'|
|Close-up showing the flower spikes|
|Another flower close-up|
I've shown this evergreen plant before in Foliage Follow-up posts but I think this is the first time I've shown it in bloom. Like the Prostanthera ovalifolia I presented last week, this isn't an in-your-face beauty. Its attractions are more subtle, requiring a closer look. The toothed leaves are quilted. Their tops are deep green but the undersides are a purplish burgundy. The stems and veins are the same purplish burgundy. In the fall, the plant produces graceful lavender flower spikes. If you brush the leaves, they produce a pleasant, soft herbal scent.
I brought this plant with me from my former garden as a cutting, which I rooted in water. It roots easily - in my old, shady garden, I've even grown it by simply sticking a piece in the soil. It spreads easily if the soil is sufficiently moist but a mature plant will tolerate some drought. Estimates of its size vary. In my old garden it got close to 3 feet tall and spread about 5 feet; however, in its current site, it's closer to 1 foot tall and 3 feet wide. It prefers partial shade - mine gets morning sun but shade during the hottest period of the day.
I'd been perplexed as to the name of the variety as I didn't have any record of my original purchase, 15 or more years ago. However, some diligent on-line research suggests that the variety is 'Zulu Warrior,' aka Lush Lavender Spur Flower. It's reportedly native to the Cape region of South Africa and widely used as a perennial groundcover in Europe, Australia and California. I think it's more attractive than Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender,' which is currently much more widely found in nurseries. The foliage can be damaged by insects but I found that product that treats both snails and worms effectively manages the problem. It's hardy in USDA zones 9-10 (Sunset zones 22-24 and H2) but it can be over-wintered indoors or cultivated as an indoor plant.
Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Warrior' is my contribution to Loree's collection of current favorites, which you can view here.