Plectranthus forsteri 'Marginatus'
Common Name: Swedish ivy 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Pale pink to white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Fragrant
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 10-11 where it is easily grown in rich, humusy, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade. Best performance occurs in part shade or sun dappled areas with regular and even moisture. Avoid poorly drained clay soils. Plants are intolerant of frost. In St. Louis, this plant is typically grown as a container or bedding annual. It is easily propagated by cuttings. Plants or cuttings may be overwintered indoors if desired. It also may be grown as a houseplant in bright, mostly sunny exposures.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Plectranthus forsteri, commonly called Swedish ivy, is an upright-spreading tender perennial that grows to 10” tall and spreads to 36” wide. Leaves emit a mild citrus aroma when bruised. Tubular, two-lipped, tiny pale pink to white flowers bloom in racemes to 6” long in summer. Flowers are not particularly showy. P. forsteriis synonymous with and formerly known as P. coleoides.

Genus name comes from the Greek words plectron meaning "spur" and anthos meaning "flower" in reference to the spur-shaped flowers of some members of the genus.

‘Marginatus’ is a variegated cultivar that is particularly noted for its attractive foliage. Round, scallop-edged, light green leaves (to 4” long) with creamy white margins appear on reddish upright stems that trail with age.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for mealybugs, scale and mites. Plants may spread somewhat aggressively in the garden in frost-free areas (USDA Zones 10-11). For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants


This plant is primarily grown for its attractive foliage. Grow in borders, foundations or containers where winter hardy. In St. Louis, grow as an annual for bedding, containers, tubs or hanging baskets. Houseplant.