Vick’s Plant Seeds. Vick’s Plant – Plectranthus grandidentatus
Family: Lamiaceae (Mint)
Plectranthus is the largest South African genus in the mint family (Lamiaceae), with 44 species natural to our region, most of which occur on the eastern side of the country.
Although Plectranthus tomentosa is known in Europe and elsewhere as the Vicks Plant, in South Africa Plectranthus grandidentatus is commonly called “Vicks Plant” for its leaves that smell like Vick’s Vap-O-Rub or menthol when crushed. The plant is indigenous to South Africa.
Plectranthus grandidentatus is a trailing perennial with soft, hairy stems reaching heights between 30 cm and 60 cm. The broadly ovate and semi-succulent leaves taper to pointed or rounded tips. They have conspicuously toothed margins. Leaf surfaces are velvety from a dense covering of hairs. There is also a conspicuous pattern of veins recessed on the upper leaf surfaces. The lower leaf surfaces are covered in red to brown gland dots. The leaf petioles are up to 8 cm long.
The plant grows as underbrush on dry rocky slopes and in wooded kloofs in the eastern parts of South Africa from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo. It is also found in Zimbabwe and beyond in tropical southern Africa
It is a perennial, semi-succulent herb with soft light green leaves. The leaf surface is coarse from indentations on the upper surface of the complex network of veins. Leaves & stems are hairy. The flowers are white and exceptionally attractive to honey bees. The plant has a long flowering season that peaks in autumn, flowerless only in spring.
Vick’s Plant Medicinal Benefits
- It has a strong camphor aroma when you rub the leaves.
- Excellent in herb mixtures (usually very hard to find).
- The vicks plant leaves can be steeped in boiling water to vaporize the characteristic oils which are then inhaled, helping to clear nasal and respiratory passages.
- The leaves can also be applied as a poultice, or prepared in petroleum jelly-based ointments. Petroleum jelly works well.
Growing Vick’s Plant
- Sow Vick’s Plant Seeds shallowly in seed starting formula.
- Keep the soil moist.
- Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill.
- Plant the seedlings out once they are big enough to handle.
- The plant can spread to three of four feet across.
- Prune it back by half every six months to reduce woodiness.
- Very fast growing – ideal for filling empty spots.
Information is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment offered by healthcare professionals.