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Dogbane (Plectranthus caninus)

by atlea

Bunched up dogbane

Name: Dogbane (Plectranthus caninus)

Description: P. caninus is a highly aromatic perennial herb of the mint family native to South Africa and naturalised in many parts of the world. It is commonly grown for ornamental purposes as well as being said to repel dogs and cats, and even insects, due to the highly aromatic nature of its leaves.

Bunched up dogbane
Detail of the leaves.

Size: Adult plants generally form a wide carpet of sturdy runners from which new leaves form. It grows up to a height of 15 - 20 cm or higher if living in shady conditions. Mature leaves measure between 2 - 5 cm in width.

Bunched up dogbane
A runner with little leaves forming.

Conditions: P. caninus prefers sunny conditions and a moist, fertile soil. However, due to the "semi-succulent" nature of the leaves which store water it can also thrive in somewhat dry soil once established well.

Bunched up dogbane
A slightly damaged leaf, likely due to an insect.

Propagation: P. caninus propagates via runners. One can cut off one of the many shoots and simply replant it elsewhere as it will grow roots soon after being separated from the main root-stock.

When to plant: Being a perennial herb and due to propagation occurring via runners, P. caninus can theoretically be planted and grown all year round in favourable conditions.
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