Plectranthus Or Incense Plant: Cultivation And Care

The scientific name of the incense plant is Plectranthus Coleidos. It is an evergreen that has its origin in tropical regions and belongs to the large family of Labiatae. It has the appearance of a bush and its leaves are green with white streaks at the edges. Both the stems and the leaves have a very thin down. Very small inflorescences grow there during the flowering period.

Incense Plant: Variety

There are many varieties of incense plants. The most popular ones have heart-shaped leaves. As far as the name is concerned, we must not confuse Plecthranthus with sacred Boswellia, which is the plant from which the resin used to make incense is extracted. This is despite the fact that Plechtrantus is unanimously known as an incense plant and has a characteristic and very intense fragrance. Among the existing varieties, it is particularly noteworthy:

  • Oertendahlii;
  • Australia;
  • Coleoides;
  • Nummularius;
  • Behrii;
  • Saccatum.

The Ideal Exposure For The Incense Plant

The incense plant grows best in places sheltered from the wind and in the shade. It does not resist low temperatures well, so in the winter months it should be moved inside the house. Those who live in very hot areas will be able to expose it gradually in areas that are fully exposed to the sun. The ideal, however, is to place it in places in the house or balcony where it is only partially in the shade. If grown indoors, the best place to place the pot is next to a window.

The Flowering Of The Incense Plant

The flowering period of the incense plant is really very short: in this short period of time the plant throws very small and extremely delicate blue flowers.

How To Fertilize It?

The best fertilization of the incense plant is through the use of a granular formula fertilizer, which having a very slow release allows a slow and constant assimilation of the active ingredients. This operation should be carried out every 10 or 15 days in the period from spring to the whole autumn. You can also use a liquid fertilizer, mixed with the water used for watering. During the winter months fertilisation can be carried out less often and limited to once every 2 or 3 months.

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Incense Plant: Irrigation

It is possible to water the incense plant even just once a week rather discontinuously, without it suffering particularly badly. The important thing is that there is a moist soil, especially in summer, when it will be sufficient to vaporize water on the plant to keep it moist. It is important to ensure good drainage of the incense plant, as it does not tolerate water stagnation. To avoid this, when Plectranthus is in the house during the winter months, care should be taken to ensure that the interior is not too damp by placing a basin of water on the radiators.

Pruning

Managing the Plectranthus is really very simple: it grows quickly and is great for decorating both terraces and balconies, but it also looks great in the apartment. In case the stems get too long, you will need to prune them by cutting off the tops in order to maintain a lush but tidy appearance.

Incense Plant: Diseases And Pests

It is quite rare for incense to be infested with parasites. However, if it has been placed next to infested plants, it could cause problems. Aphids or red spiders will, in this case, be visible on the stems. To eradicate them you will need to use pesticides in the form of spray nebulizers. Much more dangerous are water stagnations, which can lead to serious consequences such as radical rot. In this case, the branches will dry out and the leaves will fall off very easily at the slightest contact. To overcome this problem, it is sufficient to avoid that the soil becomes excessively humid, placing the plant in the sunniest point of the balcony or of the house, or changing the substratum. If kept too much in the shade, on the contrary, it can be infected by fungi.

Incense: Plant And Particularity

The incense plant’s bearing is hanging down: the stems bend downwards, helping to give the Plectranthus a decorative aspect that has made it a much-loved ornamental plant also thanks to its remarkable virtues: its intense perfume acts as a natural repellent against insects and, above all, mosquitoes. Particularly appreciated are also the numerous phytotherapeutic properties attributable to the incense plant.

The Temperature Of The Incense Plant

The Plectranthus tolerates high temperatures very well, but it suffers a lot from the cold. When the thermometer drops below 10°C it is therefore advisable to store it inside your home, where it will continue to thrive and spread a delicate scent throughout your home.

Repotting

The incense plant must be repotted every two years in order to make it stronger and more robust. The pot should be larger each time to allow the plant to develop further. The most suitable months for this operation are April and May.

The Incense Plant Substrate

As far as the Plectranthus substrate is concerned, this must be composed of fertile garden earth to which sand and peat and leaf earth will have been added, all in equal parts.

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Incense Propagation

Easy to care for, the cultivation of the incense plant can take place inside a pot, both when the plant is young and when it will be adult. It is sufficient to cut the upper extremities of the plant, as long as they have some leaves, then placing them inside a basin of water. In about twenty days the roots will come out independently. In this way the propagation by cutting takes place. The cut should be made with a very sharp knife or a razor blade.

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