Colquhounia coccinea

Common Name: Himalayan mint shrub 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Himalayas to western China
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Orange to red flowers with yellow insides
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant, Evergreen
Attracts: Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-9 where it is best grown in moist, well-composted, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. This shrub should be planted in a protected position which is sheltered from cool winds. It is best propagated by cuttings taken in summer. Stems may die back to the ground in cold winters. Prune stems back as needed in spring. North of Zone 7, plants may be grown in large containers which should be pruned back by 1/ 2 after the first fall frost, removed from the container and overwintered indoors in a cool but frost free location with minimal watering. Overwintered shrubs may be moved into brighter light with warmer temperature and increased moisture in late winter in anticipation of leaving dormancy for new growth in spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Colquhounia coccinea, commonly called Himalayan mint shrub or scarlet-flowered colquhounia, is a tomentose, somewhat sprawling, evergreen to semi-evergreen, soft-wooded shrub in the mint family. It typically grows on square stems to 6-10’ tall and as wide in areas where only mild frosts occur, but with annual spring pruning it will usually grow to a smaller 4-6’ tall. It is native to slopes, stony grassy hillsides, thickets, river valleys and occasionally forested areas in the Himalayas of Nepal, northern India, and Bhutan spreading southward into southwestern China, Myanmar and Thailand. This shrub is deciduous near the northern edge of its growing range. Growing habit is reminiscent of the gawkiness of some buddlejas.

Large ovate to ovate-lanceolate leaves (to 4-6” long) have serrated margins and felty, grayish-white undersides. Leaves are aromatic when bruised. Tubular, orange red to scarlet to dark red flowers (to 1” long) with yellow insides bloom at the stem tips in dense terminal racemes or in smaller axillary clusters (whorls) from late summer into fall. Flowers are followed by oblanceolate nutlets.

Genus name honors Sir Robert Colquhoun (1786-1838) of Scotland who was a lieutenant in the British Indian Army who resided at one time in Nepal, an avid plant collector and an early patron of the Calcutta Botanic Garden.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word coccineus meaning scarlet in obvious reference to flower color.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Where winter hardy, this is an interesting landscape shrub featuring quality foliage and late summer to fall scarlet flowers. Where not winter hardy, this shrub may be grown in containers with plants overwintered indoors.