It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Scaredy Cat, Scardy Plant, Cat Repellent Plant, Dogs Be Gone Coleus

Plectranthus caninus

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Plectranthus (plek-TRAN-thus) (Info)
Species: caninus (kay-NEE-nus) (Info)
Synonym:Coleus canina
Synonym:Coleus caninus
Synonym:Coleus heynei
Synonym:Coleus pachyphyllus
Synonym:Coleus spicatus



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Medium Blue


Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Highgrove, California

San Diego, California

Arvada, Colorado

Brandon, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Aiea, Hawaii

Hawaiian Ocean View, Hawaii

Makaha, Hawaii

Divernon, Illinois

Ewing, Kentucky

Lincoln Park, Michigan

House Springs, Missouri

Saint Peters, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri

Yonkers, New York

Humble, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 18, 2017, Caelestis from Lincoln Park, MI wrote:

I'm growing this plant in a suburb about a mile southwest of Detroit, MI city limits. It grows very well here, seems to like full sun and lots of water, and it also does seem to repel cats. I was having trouble with cats using my new flower bed as a litter box. I planted two of these plants about 6' apart, and I haven't had one cat use the flower bed as a toilet since.

My question is, can this plant be pruned without hurting it? Mine have gotten much too big and they are crowding out the plants around them in the garden.


On Jan 13, 2014, funkthasystem from Aiea, HI wrote:

I'm from Oahu and I recently bought coleus from Pearl City Walmart. Works like a charm.


On Jan 18, 2012, TheLoveofFlowers from Saint Paul, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Smells bad (like skunk) whenever brushed against or bumped, but it does appear to work. I got a plant a couple years ago to keep squirrels and rabbits from digging up my garden and planters. I overwintered it and planted it outside the following year. Now I am overwintering it again. over wintering It doesn't get rid of the animals completely but I noticed ever since using them the squirrels usually ignore the planters, or at least don't dig into them as frequently as before.

It helps to take several cuttings and scatter them everywhere in the garden and in each planter. They root easily. Just about any moisture seems to do. It overwinters well as a houseplant. (provided it gets plenty of light, pinched back, and you can tolerate the smell when watering it.)


On Dec 2, 2011, Kaku from Ahuimanu, HI wrote:

I live on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and I'm trying to find out who sells this plant here. Does anybody know? Thank You.


On May 5, 2006, sara2 from Charleston, WV wrote:

Have grown this plant for 3 summers successfully and it does work. I take cuttings each fall and root lots of them in water, then transplant to peat pots and finally put outside after last frost date. (I'm in 6b zone) You do need lots of plants; it is very definitely skunk smelling and will smell when touched or disturbed - if you handle the plant it will leave a slight skunk smell on your hands. Will even smell indoors under growlights in the winter if you disturb the leaves. Bloom is non-descript (might even try cutting bloom off to cut down on smell and grow strictly for foliage), grown for foliage, plants wind up mounding nicely, but I do not put out on the edge of my border, instead space around by edges shrubs and in the middle of a bed. My dogs avoid it and so do neighborhood cat... read more


On Jul 31, 2005, MollyMc from Archer/Bronson, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant growns in full afternoon sun as well as in full shade. I have it in a pot that I move around the garden where cats need repelling. So far it seems to be working. As the stems grow and rest on the ground, they will set roots out.


On Sep 19, 2004, Prism from Saint Peters, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Very easy to grow & propagate like other coleus'. Has an odor similar to skunk. I call them my skunk plants. Its purpose is to repel rabbits, cats, dogs, & fox. I purchased 2 plants from Home Depot and took many cuttings to propagate it through several of my flower beds. I don't know how well it worked. It seems you would have to have quite a few before it would do very much repeling. They are not really obnoxious unless you get down & breath deeply. A slight odor is noticeable when watering them but not too bad. Nice looking light green foliage plants. Repeling quality still to be determined. I hope to overwinter enough to have a better idea on that next year.