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PlantFiles: Spanish Thyme, Cuban Oregano, Indian Borage
Plectranthus amboinicus 'Variegatus'

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

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

22 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

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:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

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8 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive foodiesleuth 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.

Positive Joseph_humus 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

Neutral youngblood9430 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.

Positive debsnature 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.

Positive woodswalker218 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.

Positive MitchF 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.

Positive sterhill 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.

Positive IO1 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.

Positive PurplePansies 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.... :)


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

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)
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
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

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