Swedish ivy is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors or out. It is a prostrate evergreen perennial forming a mat to 10cm tall, with rounded, coarsely toothed leaves purple beneath, and free spikes of purple-dotted, small white flowers in a stem about 2 to 3 inches long. This plant is very showy in hanging baskets. It is great for beginner gardeners and those that like low maintenance gardens.
Scientific Name: Plectranthus verticillatus
Common Name: Swedish ivy, Swedish begonia or whorled plectranthus.
How to grow and maintain Swedish ivy:
Bright indirect light, ideally sunlight but will also tolerate some artificial lighting. Place in bright light near a sunny window. Eastern windows that provide strong morning light during the summer months are ideal.
Keep soil moist but not soggy. Reduce watering in winter when development is slow. Leaf will stain and turn light green to yellow. Reduce watering when this occurs.
Keep temperatures between 70-75 degrees during most of the year. During the winter, 60-65 degrees are best for the plant. This plant can tolerate lower temperatures of 40 degrees for short periods of time without damage.
Apply water-soluble compost on a three-week plan during active growth in spring and summer. When plant development slows, maintain a schedule of half-strength fertilizer once a month.
It is very easy to propagate. Propagate by seed at 19-24°C (19-24°F) when ripe or propagate by stem-tip cuttings at any time of year.
Some could benefit from an occasional light pruning once every year to keep up a manageable shape and size.
Keep plant root bound. Do not re-pot until the roots have filled its current pot.
Pests and diseases:
No serious insect or disease problems. Look for mealybugs and spider mites. Leaf spots and root rot may occur.