Plectranthus Species, Blue Coleus, Fly Bush, Lobster Flower, Mosquito Bush, Smelly Spur Flower

Plectranthus neochilus

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Plectranthus (plek-TRAN-thus) (Info)
Species: neochilus (nee-oh-KY-lus) (Info)
Synonym:Coleus neochilus



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

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

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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Clayton, California

Glendale, California

Richmond, California

San Diego, California

San Leandro, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Orlando, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Honolulu, Hawaii

Boerne, Texas

Spicewood, Texas

Bristol, Vermont

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 27, 2016, Thurksh from Granada,
Spain wrote:

For me zone 9a is the limit for this plant. Almost completely died after -7 C, but regrow quicky in summer time from the few stems that survive.


On May 31, 2016, AdamsHillGal from Glendale, CA wrote:

I am growing Plectranthus neochilus in L.A. with no troubles - vigorous but not invasive here. The smell for me and others in my neighborhood is oddly nice - mildly musky/skunky if you stick your nose right into it - but the smell does not carry on the air. It flowered profusely after one full year growth. Because it is such a vigorous grower, I have given successful cuttings (no roots necessary - propogates like a true succuent) to many people. Hummingbirds are attracted to it; but it didn't get its nicknames for nothing - "dog gone" and 'scaredy cat" - mammals hate it. With a drought on it gets a slow drip for a few minutes 2x per week and is just fine with only afternoon sun. I think in a tropical or wet climate it could become invasive but in Mediterranean climate like L.A. it's ve... read more


On Jun 17, 2014, HawaiianViking from 96816,
United States (Zone 13a) wrote:

Awful. The worst plant I've ever cultivated. I purchased it at a plant sale where it was misidentified as 'Ala'ala wai nui wahine, a native Hawaiian member of the same genus (P. parviflorus). It was said by the vendor that it would be perfect for a barren, dry clay embankment; With no supplemental water or fertilization it did cover the entire area, and it was doing so well that I became suspicious. It was easy to identify because of its absolutely hideous scent: some describe it as smelling like Cannabis, others like rotting fish; It's stomach-turning. This plant has been identified as an invasive species in Hawaii and we are thus asked to remove it, so I'm now in the position of removing huge swathes of this curse of a plant, which isn't easy because it easily roots from cuttings left be... read more


On Apr 29, 2014, Susi_So_Callif from Vista, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have found this plant to be VERY effective at keeping gophers away. Got this from a neighbor. What she told me to do - and which has worked amazingly well - was to just put the plant still in its pot at the gopher hole and the gophers would go away and not return. It worked!!! Since it is a no-brainer to pinch off a short stem and stick it into the ground to grow, we have put a line of very small cuttings about 3-4' apart along one property line and have had no gophers in that area since then (about 8 months ago). I also put a tiny cutting at some of the existent gopher holes (they were very busy for a few days last fall) and none of those gophers came back. Honestly, if I hadn't used it myself I wouldn't have believed it. She said she planted them all around her property line and... read more


On Jan 17, 2012, lonelion from Louw's Creek,
South Africa wrote:

This plant grows extremely well in the Mpumalanga Lowveld in South Africa. It is exeptionally hardy and will grow on almost any surface including sand and rocks. It will grow where nothing else wants to grow and once it is established, it needs almost no maintenance.
It respond verry well to regular watering and only blooms when you don't water it during the dry season.

It makes a verry low hedging around flower beds and is easily trimmed into the desired shape. All pieces that are cut off are suitable for cuttings (plant the stems on their side as roots develop from the side of the stems)


On Sep 18, 2010, SvenTozer from Grahamstown,
South Africa wrote:

This plant doesn't seem to only enjoy the US, we have plenty of them growing here in South Africa.


On Jun 12, 2009, Dave_in_Devon from Torquay,
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

While it is a very attractive plant to look at, the stench from the leaves as soon as they are touched is truly stomach churning. I was given a plant and even though it was wrapped up and in the trunk of my car, the smell came through and nearly made me sick!

Nevertheless, I planted it in a hot sunny, very well drained spot where it not only thrived, but managed to seed itself about. On a hot day, the pungent aroma carried for quite a distance and eventually, I had to rip it out. It tolerates temperatures down to -2C at least and can survive in very dry soils, so it is ideal for an arid garden - so long as you can hold your nose!


On Jun 16, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Easy plant to grow! I love mine, especially the variegated form.


On Apr 16, 2004, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

aka Dog's Bane / Dog Gone