Plectranthus strigosus

Common Name: Swedish ivy 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Temperate southern Africa
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 10-11 where it is easily grown in humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade. Best performance occurs in light shade or sun dappled areas, with regular and even moisture. Avoid poorly drained clay soils. Plants dislike temperatures below 55 degrees F., and are totally intolerant of frost. In St. Louis, this plant is typically grown in containers as a houseplant in bright, mostly sunny exposures. Pinch off new stem tips regularly to retain compact shape and to encourage branching. Containers may be taken outside in summer but must be overwintered indoors. This plant may be grown as an annual where it can be incorporated into mixed containers and hanging baskets. It is a low-maintenance plant that is easily propagated by cuttings, and may easily be shared with other gardeners by cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Plectranthus strigosus, commonly called creeping spur flower or Swedish ivy, is a fast-growing, evergreen perennial that is native to South Africa. It has a flattened form with trailing stems clad with undulate, deep-veined, light green leaves. Tiny white flowers bloom in spikes on and off throughout the year.

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.

Specific epithet means with stiff bristles.


Watch for mealybugs and spider mites. Leaf spots and root rot may occur.


Where winter hardy, it is an excellent ground cover for areas under trees. In St. Louis, it is best in containers or hanging baskets that must be brought inside over winter (unless plants are being grown as annuals). Houseplant.