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Spanish Thyme, Cuban Oregano, Indian Borage 'Variegatus'

Plectranthus amboinicus

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Plectranthus (plek-TRAN-thus) (Info)
Species: amboinicus (am-boy-IN-ih-kuss) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegatus
Synonym:Coleus amboinicus
View this plant in a garden




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

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


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

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



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly


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:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Cambria, California

Highgrove, California

Vista, California

Windsor, California

Bartow, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Groveland, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Inverness, Florida

Miami, Florida (2 reports)

Naples, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida (2 reports)

Sarasota, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Valdosta, Georgia

Honomu, Hawaii

Andover, Kansas

Youngsville, Louisiana

Bay Springs, Mississippi

Fuquay Varina, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Harrison Valley, Pennsylvania

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Belton, Texas

Boerne, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Houston, Texas (2 reports)

Johnson City, Texas

Mansfield, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

Mechanicsville, Virginia

Petersburg, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 22, 2013, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I have been growing this plant for years and love it for several reasons; beautiful filler as a ground cover, grows fast, delicious in cooking and can also act as a mosquito repellent.

The leaves can be a bit tough to chew so for cooking I like to crush a leaf or two and place inside a mesh tea ball and drop the whole thing into the sauce, stew or soup. when the food is ready, just pull the tea ball out and there are no bits of leaf left behind, just the lovely taste.

As a mosquito repellent, grab a few leaves and crush them as you rub your legs and arms or any exposed areas with it. You need to do this often if you perspire a lot. A friend found how to extract the oils and mixes it with a bit of vinegar and sprays it on.


On May 21, 2013, Joseph_humus from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Given to me by a pretty neighbor girl.. I thought it to be just a pleasant looking ornamental , but after I crushed one of the leaves....Wow ! Oregano. See , you learn something everyday. I am so going to try to get more. It is more prolific and hardier than my Greek oregano. The leaves are fuzzy and soft and thick. It is edible and called Cuban Oregano. According to what I've read, it can be propagated by cuttings


On May 19, 2013, youngblood9430 from Mechanicsville, VA wrote:

We grow this at the organic herb farm where I work. The large leaves can be battered and fried, like tempura.


On Jan 31, 2011, debsnature from Hanover, PA wrote:

Excellent house plant! I have had this plant for years, and have made many new plants to give away. It is striking, unusual, and very strong scented when touched.Great color and texture interest: bright celery green, velvety leaves with white splotches and scalloped edges. The graceful branches spill over the pot in all directions, and form layers of horizontal, upward-facing leaves. It thrives near bright light, is very hardy, and grows all year without much care. It likes a lot of water, but it still looks fine when forgotten. A few lower leaves will dry up and fall when soil is too dry, but often where leaves fall off, a new side shoot sprouts with several small leaves. Break off stems (any size) and lay barely covered in potting soil, and it will root on its own.


On Jul 12, 2009, woodswalker218 from Riverside, CA wrote:

Help! This georgeous plant has grown huge but now something is attacking and destroying its leaves. Any ideas what to do? I have found a couple of small geen caterpillers - very hard to find as they match the plants green color and hide next to a rib leaf.
I have grown several more plants from cuttings rooted in water - very easy. But I would like to save the original.


On Jan 13, 2007, MitchF from Lindsay, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

roots really easy - just pinched a piece this summer stuck in a very old pot and did great.


On May 1, 2006, sterhill from Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I pinched a leaf off a friend's plant last year and now have half a dozen beautiful plants. Very easy to grow, smells wonderful and looks beautiful. I will bring in some small plants to winter over inside.


On Jul 2, 2005, IO1 from Waaaay Down South, GA wrote:

I bought a tiny plant at the beginning of the spring and it grew rapidly into a large, lush plant which is excellent in Mexican and Italian cooking. It propogates easily both in water and with rooting hormone, although I found the latter to be much easier. It seemed to take longer than most herbs to root in water. It is in a container garden on my deck and receives sunny to mostly sunny conditions.


On May 29, 2005, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant can be used same as regular plectranthus amboinicus for culinary use. Has a thymey/oreganoey scent and flavor..... Can be used similarly.... a common spice in tropical and caribbean countries..... Tender in most places.... bring indoors in winter to grow as house plant.... :)