Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Poliomintha maderensis:
Lavender Spice

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Form: A shrub with a woody base and herbaceous stems that become woody with age. Its growth pattern is somewhat open and irregular.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
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, oregano fragrance. The buds occur in clusters, with only a few blooming at once.
Bloom: Spring through late fall, until the first freeze. Supplemental water may be required for spring blooms.
Fruit: Seed capsule. It may be self-incompatible and need another plant close by for pollination.
Leaves: Green, elongated oval shape, thick, smooth margins. An oregano aroma is especially strong in low water conditions.
Stems: Stiff, becoming woody over time. No thorns.
Wildlife: Pollinated by sphinx moths. Attracts the occasional butterfly.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-11. It loses leaves at 15°F and is root hardy to 10°F or lower.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun except light shade in very hot climates.
Water after becoming established: Monthly. Supplemental water ensures continuous flowers, especially in high temperatures. It is said to perform less well in regions with high humidity. It responds well to rain.
Soil: Very well drained, dry, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline). This plant dies in water-logged soil.
Prune: Mid-winter, or after the last freeze, prune to shape, trimming away winter damage, or cut it to the ground and allow it to regrow from its roots. Blooms appear on the current season's growth.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental, scent garden if massed, culinary. The leaves can be used as an oregano substitute, but Lippia graveolens: Mexican Oregano is recommended for that purpose.

This plant is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae). Another common name is Mexican Oregano, but that name properly belongs to Lippia graveolens. This is a very hardy plant that is easily transplanted when dormant.

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Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice / Mexican Oregano - flower

Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice / Mexican Oregano - flowers

Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice / Mexican Oregano

Latest update: February, 2019
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