Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Vicks Plant, Succulent Coleus
Plectranthus tomentosa

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Plectranthus (plek-TRAN-thus) (Info)
Species: tomentosa (toh-men-TOH-suh) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

18 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By ravntorthe
Thumbnail #1 of Plectranthus tomentosa by ravntorthe

By ravntorthe
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3 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive iahishade On Oct 2, 2014, iahishade from Glenwood, IA wrote:

I LOVE this plant! Living in Iowa, it is a house plant that summers outside on my north-facing porch, where it gets lots of morning sun. I take small cuttings before the end of the season and stick them in water to root. They root easily if the cuttings are small. A rescue nursery near me didn't know the plant and had no luck with large, woody cuttings with flowers still on. She will try my method, then pot up the rooted cuttings to overwinter inside. I've had this plant about 5 years now and it always delights.

Neutral madelinep On Feb 10, 2011, madelinep from Fresno, CA wrote:

My plant didn't make it through the winter very gracefully, I have tried taking stem cuttings and getting them to root without much success. I was wondering if any one has any more detailed advice on how to propagate this plant.

Neutral super_ape On Sep 17, 2010, super_ape from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

there seems to be much confusion on the infernets about this plant. I bought the plant pictured as Cuban Oregano which in most places is said to be Plectranthus Amboinicus. Another plant that I bought as Puerto Rican Oregano which I think is the real Plectranthus Tomentosa. It has smaller leaves with no stems. Anyone able to clear this up?

Positive Snobear2 On May 16, 2010, Snobear2 from Saco, ME wrote:

I recently purchased this plant from a nursery in Canada. I love it! I potted it up in a mix of potting soil, coir fiber and a tsp. of water crystals. It is growing like crazy. I was told by someone that it was a member of the mint family; so I put it in a window box with my mints. It gets watered when they do.
I do thank you for the input on how to propagate it. I was wondering if I could take stem cuttings like the mints. I have it on a porch that gets 3-4 hours of direct sun and then 4-5 hours of bright, indirect light; with the temp of 50-75F. I bring it in at night as we still get down into the 30-40's.

Positive kdaustin On Sep 25, 2008, kdaustin from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Agree with below, though I grow them in a lightweight potting soil with no extra sand. Used to produce trays of these in the spring for a nursery, really popular novelty plant with general public. Makes an attractive specimen, but frankly, there are far prettier plectranthus. I water mine thoroughly, allow to get very dry, where the soil begins to crack away from the pot, in between. I fertilize mine pretty regulary with no discernable side effects.

Neutral macybee On Sep 28, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

From Plant of the
Plectranthus tomentosa, or Vicks Plant, is a perennial plant with leaves that smell like Vick's Vap-O-Rub or mentholatum when crushed. The light green, succulent, opposite leaves are broadly ovate, up to 3 1/2" long, and are densely covered with short hairs. The plants will reach up to 30" tall and the lower stems can become very woody. They are of easy culture and are hardy in USDA zones 9-12.
Blooming in early spring and again in the fall, the purple flowers occur in teriminal racemes. Individual flowers may reach 1/2" in length.
Culture: Plectranthus tomentosa need full sun to partial shade or high interior lighting with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts sand to 1 part loam to 1 part peat moss. The plants are will watered and allowed to dry before watering again. Fertilizer is applied only once during the growing season and it is diluted to 1/2 strength. If too much water is used, the leaves will turn yellow and get mushy. With overwatering, we have also had some plants where the stems rotted at the soil line. During the winter months, only water enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.
Propagation: From stem cuttings at any time during the growing season.
Featured Plant of the Week November 19-25, 2004.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fresno, California
Vista, California
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Deland, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Largo, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Riverview, Florida
Quechee, Vermont

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