in Tucson, Phoenix,
and Southern California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, and Southern California

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Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice / Mexican Oregano

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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. Supplemental water may be required in high temperatures to maintain appearance. Performs less well in regions with high humidity.
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 treat as herbaceous perennial. Blooms on current season's growth.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed and cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental, hummingbird attractor, leaves used as oregano substitute, scent garden if massed.

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

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