Plectranthus amboinicus Care and Propagation

Know in one minute about Plectranthus amboinicus

  • Plectranthus amboinicus is an edible herb of the Lamiaceae family.
  • It has a distinctive oregano-like flavor and unique odor.
  • This plant is easy to care for, less to maintain, and needs well-drained soil.
  • Grow well in morning sunlight or partial shade with occasional watering.
  • Fertilize the plant about once a month to obtain the best growth.
  • Easy to propagate by stem cutting.
  • Toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.


Plectranthus amboinicus or C. aromaticus belongs to the family Lamiaceae. It is a semi-succulent perennials or annuals plant. Herbaceous in nature with a unique oregano-like odor. This plant can be useful as food, fodder, and a garden plant (1). This article is about Plectranthus amboinicus care and how to propagate.

Common name

Cuban oregano

Country borage

Spanish thyme

Indian Borage, Indian mint

Mexican mint

French thyme

Soup mint

Caribbean oregano

Geographical distribution 

This plant is available throughout the tropical area of all continents (2).

Botanical description

Plectranthus amboinicus is a big juicy aromatic herb with a tendency to climb or creep and can reach up to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall. This plant is highly branched and the stem is fleshy, about 30–90 cm in height. The stem is either densely covered with soft, short, and erect hairs (tomentose) or long rigid hairs (hispidly villous).

The leaves are thick, fleshy, light green, and contain hairs, giving a frosty appearance. It has a pleasant taste, appetizing with a very unique odor. It also has a bell-shaped flower with pale purplish color and the fruit is pale brown.

Plant care and Propagation

Plectranthus amboinicus is easy to grow, and maintain and appears quite beautiful. This plant is very famous in the home not just because of its nutritional or medicinal value but because of its beauty. It is used in the same way as thyme to flavor salads and can be grown in kitchen gardens and containers.

Care of Plectranthus amboinicus

The following conditions should consider for the Plectranthus amboinicus care


Plectranthus amboinicus grows well at 60 to 70°F in tropical to semi-tropical climates all year. This plant can also be kept indoors and adapt well to cooler climates but will die with temperatures lower than 0 °C. It is stressed even when it is colder than 10 °C. Thus, it should be moved to a warm, sheltered position during winter. Moreover, a temperature higher than 90°F can also affect plant health (3).


This plant needs morning sunlight for about 4-6 hours every day or partial shade. Direct sunlight in high-temperature regions may burn and damage its leaves however it also tolerates less light. 


Like other succulents, this plant requires water in a moderate amount (once a week) to keep the soil moist. Allow the soil to dry out between watering. This plant doesn’t require a lot of watering because overwatering may cause rotting of the roots and fungal diseases. Reduce watering from monthly to twice a week during the dormant winter period.


This plant is pH tolerant (6.0-7.5) and needs a loose, well-draining, nutritious, and breathable soil mix.


For Plectranthus amboinicus care, fertilize about once a month with a slow-release granular fertilizer during the active growing season.


This plant needs mulching around the base plant. This process keeps the soil moisture and protects the roots from high temperatures.


Prune of this plant is necessary to maintain its size, remove dead leaves, and prevent flower formation.


This plant repotting should be done when the mother plant has outgrown its pots. 

Propagation of Plectranthus amboinicus

It is a fast-growing plant, propagated either by seeds or by stem cuttings. The best time to propagate should be during the spring.

Propagation by stem cutting 

A mature healthy plant stem (5-10 cm) with two or more leaf clusters is easy to separate from the mother plant. Place them in moist soil or water in a warm or sunny location.

Propagation by seeds

Place seeds in spring on a growth medium and cover them with a thin layer of soil because they require light to germinate.  Keep moist, and they will germinate in about 8-12 weeks. Since the plant sets seeds rarely, stem cutting propagation is preferred (4)

Moreover, the seeds will not remain viable for a long time and not be available for purchase.


This plant can be affected by spider mites and mealy bugs.

Pets friendly or not

This plant does not cause any toxicity to humans however exposure to plant leaf and its oil may toxic cats, dogs, and horses. Ingestion of these plant leaves may cause severe gastrointestinal distress like loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. Thus, it should be used carefully with pets. 


1. Where to buy Plectranthus amboinicus?

This plant is popular due to its distinctive oregano-like flavor and odor. This plant is often available in a local or online plant nursery.

2. Where can I get Plectranthus amboinicus in the USA?

In the USA, this plant is available in the nursery’s garden, on other farms, or online.

3. What is Plectranthus amboinicus?

This plant isn’t oregano but a combination of mint and oregano and is extremely powerful. It is used both as a cooking and medicinal herb all around the world.

4. Where can I find Plectranthus amboinicus?

This plant occurs naturally in Africa, Asia, and Australia. It is available in nurseries, gardens, supercentres, and online. 

5. Plectranthus amboinicus how to use?

It has a strong taste and smell and is used as a substitute for oregano and sage in recipes. It cannot be consumed in raw form or should be used in smaller amounts to avoid over-seasoning and dominating other flavors. The leaves are used to season beans, and soups, make tea and in poultry stuffings, lamb, chicken, and beef dishes. It helps to remove the bad smell of seafood like shellfish and fish. 

Moreover, the leaves are useful as a flavoring agent in tomato sauces, wine, and beer. It is added to flavor pizza, rice, pasta, and other Mediterranean meals. On the Indian subcontinent, the leaves are applicable in chutney, and bread with butter (5)

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