Swedish Ivy, Swedish Begonia, Whorled Plectranthus

Plectranthus verticillatus

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Plectranthus (plek-TRAN-thus) (Info)
Species: verticillatus (ver-ti-si-LAH-tus) (Info)


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Mid Winter


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Gurley, Alabama

Jones, Alabama

Glendale, Arizona

Strawberry, Arkansas

Arcata, California

Brea, California

Fresno, California

Hawthorne, California

Hayfork, California

La Verne, California

Merced, California

Modesto, California

Nevada City, California

Oakland, California

Ojai, California

Pleasant Hill, California

San Jose, California (2 reports)

Henderson, Colorado

Pueblo, Colorado

Bartow, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Inverness, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)

Lakeland, Florida

Mayo, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Rincon, Georgia

Topeka, Kansas

Egan, Louisiana

New Iberia, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Lewiston, Maine

Richmond, Maine

Athol, Massachusetts

Claremont, New Hampshire

Hackettstown, New Jersey

Altus, Oklahoma

Pawnee, Oklahoma

Saint Helens, Oregon

Landisburg, Pennsylvania

Austin, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Edinburg, Texas

Houston, Texas

Katy, Texas

Lake Jackson, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Palmer, Texas

Paris, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Arlington, Virginia

Chewelah, Washington

Ravenswood, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 21, 2015, luttchaves from Titusville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I bought this plant at a garage sale. It was very pretty and did well as long as it was in the original container. Once I transplanted it started to die off and now I only have a few runners. I fertilize it a couple of times a year and water it about once a week. I have had it for a couple of years. I now have it outdoors and hope it starts looking better as summer goes by. Will let you know what happens.


On Sep 14, 2013, Popsskull from Morristown, TN wrote:

My Swedish ivy is in full bloom and it looks as if seeds come after the blooms. I am in process of gathering and attempting to propagate from seed. I will let you know soon.


On Feb 19, 2013, ThereseML from Narragansett, RI wrote:

I have had a wonderful experience with Swedish Ivy. Mine came from a clipping from a local university in 1994 and I have been growing and propigating it since. But I've run into a problem and am hoping for some help.
We had a blizzard a week ago and lost power. Since then I've noticed alot of the leaves have black spots on them and they've become paper thin. Also there is a seed-like growth on some of the stems. I don't want to lose this plant but don't know what to do. Anyone?


On Oct 22, 2010, Topekachef from Topeka, KS wrote:

I found the Swedish Ivy plant that I have at a sale at Ace Hardware here in Topeka,KS 3 yrs ago. I leave it out from the first time that it looks like it is staying above 40degrees until it gets back down to that. Earlier this yr it was looking rather ragged so I gave it a big haircut! I also split it in two! I put both into identical self-watering pots (if you don't use these you should! They are great!!) and let them sit in the sun for a couple of months. They both went crazy! I gave one to a good friend who says it is still going crazy! Mine is happy and just about ready to come in for the winter. It is still warm enough that I will leave it out for another week or so.


On Jan 26, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant which has become naturalized (introduced) in Puerto Rico.


On Sep 19, 2007, woofie from Chewelah, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

These were my very first houseplant. The ones I have now came from cuttings given to me by a friend over 30 years ago. They make a really nice container plant and mix nicely with coleus and spider plants. I noticed that the plants that were in full sun had leaves that were a lighter green and had more pronounced purple veins in the leaves than the ones indoors or in the shade, which were a darker green and didn't show purple in the leaves, only in the stems.


On Apr 15, 2007, RobinEggs wrote:

Great Plectranthus . Plectranthus verticillatus is not really an Ivy just named that after where it first came from.


On Jan 10, 2007, MadGecko13 from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I got this as an overgrown pot plant when I bought my house. It escaped its pot, so it can be somewhat of a pest. Easily removed though. I'm using it as erosion control around my pool, it doesn't mind the heavy clay alkaline soil. Grows fast from small pieces just stuck in the dirt. Flowers are cute and slightly lavendar coloured.


On Jun 4, 2006, Tiki_Garden from Cibolo, TX wrote:

I have always loved the Swedish Ivy. They used to be found everywhere, but I'm not seeing them much anymore. They make outstanding hanging baskets, and propagation is so easy - just break them off, stick them in the soil, and let them grow! A wonderful plant whose leaves have a very unusual - but not unpleasant - aroma.


On May 27, 2006, Blubaby from Arlington, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I've had two monstrous Swedish Ivy plants growing for 2 years in southeast-facing windows, so they get direct morning light year 'round. They're so robust I have to trim them constantly, and I can't see the pots they hang in anymore! I grew them from one tiny cutting -- they root like crazy in a glass of water. Every branch seems to have an overabundance of root nubs on it. It tends to trail and can get leggy, so over the years I've trimmed them to encourage them to "round out"... when I trim the plant, I pop clippings in water and then two weeks later pass off siblings and children of them to friends and neighbors because they're so incredibly easy to maintain. Nice, meaty, glossy leaves (a lovely green) and wine-colored branches, no insect pests to worry about... I just give them a... read more


On Mar 30, 2006, Wifeygirl from (Caitlin) Fresno, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I love this plant. I stole it from my sister-in-law who was killing it in full sun with no water. ;-) It grows like wildfire, and has a nice trailing habit. It also seems to like to be wet. The one time I tried it in full sun it started to die...but I think I must not have been watering it enough if other people have had success with it. Or perhaps it just doesn't like Southern California's super-intense version of full sun! I've kept it in shade ever since then.
It is incredibly easy to propogate from clippings. I just peel off a few bottom leaves from the clipping and put it in a cup of water by a window. It roots in a few weeks. I have these all over the place!
I had not clue that it would actually flower, though, so I'm gonna try it in the sun again and see what happens... read more


On Mar 27, 2006, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I echo Boozers comments above. I'm also in Jacksonville, Florida, Zone 8b/9a, and my Swedish Ivy survives the winters with some nights as cold as 28 F this past season. It spreads quickly to fill any container, but I prefer it as an easy to maintain ground cover around plants in my garden.



On Jul 25, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have had this plant growing continuiously over 40 years. I started it from a cutting my mother gave me back in Connecticut.
Over the years it has traveled with me wherever I have lived.
"Up North", I would bring it outdoors in early summer and bring it back inside early fall. In Florida it's outdoors all year in zone 10 but it needs to be in the shade.
I water it when the dirt surface is dry, cut it when it gets too long and fertilize it March, July and October. About every eighteen months I have to cut back the rootball and repot it. It has not bloomed since being in Florida.
The leaves were much bigger in Connecticut than they are here. They were also more fleshy there than they are here. This is probably the easiest plant I have ever owned to... read more


On Jul 14, 2005, kasperkasper from Arcata, CA wrote:

This is one of my favorite plants. I have had it almost a year, and am looking forward to watching it bloom. I didn't know it did that. I can understand not wanting it in the ground- fighting ivy is a task for a superhero. But in a pot, it is great. It creeps beautifully along it's mantle and drapes down where it reaches and edge.


On Aug 22, 2004, tulip523 from Hackettstown, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is extremely easy to maintain. It roots from cuttings in about three days. I have started many plants from cutting to share with friends.


On Aug 8, 2004, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Very easy to grow - I have mine in a hanging basket in full shade and it blooms all summer! Very easy to share, too! Just cut and plant! Great plant!


On Jul 1, 2004, stjans from Calgary
Canada wrote:

I got a cutting of this plant from my mom, and have been growing it for over 4 years now. It has grown like a weed, so much that I have to start wrapping the vines around. I have it in full sunlight, and does very well in my tiny apartment. I have done some research on it, due to the new addition to my family. It is not poisenious to cats. And so far she hasn't bothered it one bit, except to bound over and around it to get to the window.
I absolutely love this plant. I have given many a cuttings to friends and family. This is one plant that is hard to kill.
However, I have never had any flowers.
Best of Luck!!!


On Mar 14, 2004, phoenix52n wrote:

I took a cutting from one of my friend's "Creeping Charlie" plants. I planted it in a pot. Within two months it was growing out of the pot and needed a new pot.

Since then, I have been growing what I now know to be "Swedish Ivy" - everywhere around the house. Swedish Ivy looks great and stays such a bright apple green all year around. In spring and summer, mostly, it has delicate bunches of flowers.

Easy to grow.


On Nov 23, 2003, Marn wrote:

I have had good resluts with this plant .. I really like it . it grows very nicely were I Live in NorthEastern Oregon but I grow mine indoors .. and I do beleive it is not poisonous to animals ...but search houshold plants and it will give you information... but I do know that most of the ivy family is very highly poisonous to anmils so becarefull .. it is a very easy plant to start cuttings from and just a all around nice plant


On Aug 4, 2003, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Very easy to grow - sun or shade. Mine hangs from the bottom of my upstairs deck & reaches the ground. I live in NE Florida & each year we have periods of sub-freezing weather & this beautiful vine does much better if I leave it outside with an old bed sheet draped over it rather than bringing it indoors.


On Aug 3, 2003, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

This makes a beautiful hanging basket. Requires lots of water and must be grown in sun or will not bloom. Makes lush foliage in shade but flowers well in the sun.


On Jun 9, 2003, jonivy from South Pasadena, CA wrote:

Plectranthus verticillatus, native to eastern South Africa, is called "Swedish Ivy" because its discoverer first sent it to Sweden, where it quickly became widely grown as a house plant. From there it was introduced to the rest of Europe and the U.S. It is sometimes erroneously sold as P. australis, a synonym of P. parviflorus, which is a completely different species native to Australia. In addition to use as an easy container plant, this semi-succulent Plectranthus is adaptable to sun or shade outdoors. It makes an attractive, fast-spreading groundcover in mild climates and can be used as a summer bedding plant where it freezes in winter. In the wild, it is highly variable, but in the European and U.S. trades there is apparently only one clone. It has white flowers spotted violet i... read more


On Apr 29, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

If you are using a set of containers, be careful with this plant, or it may invade the other containers around. Besides this, Swedish Ivy is a very beautiful herb, good for gorwing both inside and outside.


On Aug 6, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love this plant. It can be an annual outside, but works best in containers inside. Grows quickly and beautifully.