Plectranthus verticillatus

Plectranthus verticillatus


Plectranthus verticillatus (Swedish Ivy)

Plectranthus verticillatus (Swedish Ivy) is a perennial, groundcover up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall. The leaves are often glossy, soft, round…

Plectranthus Species, Gossip Spurflower, Swedish Begonia, Swedish Ivy, Whorled Plectranthus

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


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:


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

San Jose, California(2 reports)

Thousand Palms, California

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On Jan 25, 2020, maryostrem from Glenoma, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I've had this plant and its offspring for over 40 years. It has moved with me from rural California to Berkeley, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Fresno, suburban Oregon, and now rural Washington and put down roots in countless other places as friends and family have taken cuttings. Nothing could be less trouble to grow, but its stems ARE brittle and so must be handled gently.

On Aug 11, 2017, oldtimer1940 from Houston, TX wrote:

This plant grows extremely well where you do not want it..
if a runner breaks off it grows well in flower bed.

However when you do transplant any runner, be sure its good well drained potting soil..

We had a plant in a hanging basket for couple of years..
It was started from a cutting so long ago we forgot who we got the original cutting from..

It looked like it was about to die.. ONCE re-potted in a larger basket with new potting soil and a little miracle grow, within 2 months (While now in a shade) its filled the new basket..

Wonderful looking healthy plant..

On Jan 31, 2017, desperate from amsterdam,
Netherlands wrote:

Hello, I am in process of growing the same houseplants I recall watering as a child in the 1970's. I am desperately seeking a cutting of this swedish ivy or as i called it back then, creeping charlie. If anyone can send me a cutting I will pay money for it and pay shipping to amsterdam. I think it will survive being put in a plastic bag with some wet paper towels around the stem. it's a hardy plant and roots quickly so I think it will be alright in the post. This plant is nowhere to be found anymore in garden stores. Thank you and fingers crossed.

On Apr 1, 2016, Khalidawan from Lahore,
Pakistan wrote:

Hello, All plant lover friends , my name is Khalid Awan i am from pakistan , i need a favor from you if anyone can help me about this plant , i am looking for this plant since long time but unfortunately its not available in our country , i have many other plants and i love them like my children ,
if any one of you can send me even a few branches of this plant i shall be very thankful to him/her of please advise me easy way fro where i can get it , my mail is [email protected] or you can send me a msg 0092-3074419582
your early reply will be highly appreciated
Thanks Brothers and sisters
have a good day

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.

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 Mariemont, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I've had two monstrous Swedish Ivy plants growing for 2Ѕ 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 soak when the top soil dries out (well-draining containers), and feed occasionally from spring to fall. My favorite houseplant!
Edit May 2018: 12 years later and these plants still flank the brightest window in my home. Well, they're the offspring of offspring of offspring by now, because they root so easily and are a cinch to grow in the right window—and the parents and grandparents got too big!

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 reproduce from cuttings.

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.

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.

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 n fall and winter. Occasionally seen its sport that is randomly striped and blotched with white In South Africa there are other clones, including one with pink flowers.

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.

Plectranthus verticillatus

Swedish Ivy, Whorled Plectranthus, Swedish Begonia


Plectranthus verticillatus is suitable for sunny to part shaded places. During summer it can be placed in the garden or on the balcony.

Swedish Ivy grows good in regular mixes for cacti and succulents, container plants, vegetables or herbs.


Let the soil dry between the waterings to max. 80 % of the pots height. Reduce watering if placed cool during winter. Avoid overwatering.


Feed if in active growth with standard liquid fertilizer (monthly), spikes or granules (2 to 3 monthly).

New bought or recently repotted plants don’t need to be fed for the first year.


Swedish Ivy can either be grown warm the year round or given a winter rest period with a minimum of 10 °C (50 °F).


Propagation with cuttings is easy. They can be potted immediately after cutting and will root in 2 to 4 weeks at 20 to 25 ° C (68 to 77 °F).


Scientific name

Common name(s)

Swedish Ivy, Whorled Plectranthus, Swedish Begonia



South Africa to Mozambique and naturalized in some parts of South America

Description [ edit ]

The plant has aromatic glossy, green, round leaves, which show a deep purple color in the center sometimes and tend to trail, reaching a height of between 10 and 30 cm and extends around 60 cm. This deep purple can also be found on the plant stems and on the underside of leaves. The leaves, which are widely serrated, are fleshy and rounded between 64 and 90 mm, with purple and hairy undersides with reddish sessile glands.

The upright racemes appear white, pale violet or pale pink and can sprout sporadically throughout the year (but more typically in spring and late autumn), which form verticillasters of 2-4 flowers and 2–3 mm bracts. The fruits are 1 mm nuts, brown in colour and wrinkled. [4] [5]

The name "Swedish ivy" is deceptive: the plant is not thigmotropic (meaning it does not cling to walls with the roots when it grows), is not native to Sweden, and is not closely related to the genus of ivy (Hedera). Some variegated, silvery plants called Swedish Ivy grown in pots and hanging baskets are Plectranthus oertendahlii from coastal river gorges of KwaZulu-Natal. [6]

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