Gardening
in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice / Mexican Oregano

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Description
Form: Shrub with woody base and herbaceous stems that become woody with age.
Leaf retention: Evergreen above 30°F but stems damaged by lower temperatures.
Growth rate: Moderate.
Mature Size: 18" high and wide.
Flowers: Tubular, long and narrow, white to purple, one upper lobe, possibly notched, three lower lobes, lavender scent, often abundant.
Bloom: Spring to fall.
Fruit: Seed capsule. May be self-incompatible and need another plant close by for pollination.
Leaves: Green, elongated oval, thick, smooth margins, oregano fragrance when crushed.
Stems: No thorns. Stiff and brittle, becoming woody over time.
Wildlife: Attracts butterflies and hawkmoths.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun except light shade in very hot climates.
Water after becoming established: Monthly. Weekly water ensures continuous flowers, especially in high temperatures. Said to perform less well in regions with high humidity. Responds well to rain.
Soil: Very well drained, dry, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline). Dies in water-logged soil.
Prune: Mid-winter or after last freeze, prune to shape, trimming away winter damage. If badly damaged by freezing, cut to ground and allow to regrow. Blooms on current season's growth.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed and cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental, scent garden if massed, leaves used as oregano substitute.

Comments
A mint family member sometimes misclassified as P. incana or P. longiflora. Growth pattern somewhat open and irregular.



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Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice / Mexican Oregano - flower

Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice / Mexican Oregano - flowers

Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice / Mexican Oregano