Plant Profile: Teucrium fruticans

Teucrium fruticans_1

This wonderful shrub from the Mediterranean is in the mint family Lamiacea. The common name is Shrubby Germander but I don’t know anyone who calls it that.

Great for cloud clipping in coastal gardens but doesn’t need to be restricted to this style of garden. I use it when Westringia or Helichrysum petiolare don’t feel right or vice versa, but I have planted them together.

It lives longer than you’d imagine, I used to clip a hedge of it that would be fifteen years old easily and still going. This particular hedge also proves it will perform with summer part shade, growing below deciduous trees and Eucalypts.

Teucrium fruticans_2

You have to be diligent with the details when clipping. The stems grow like threads through the previously clipped shell so it’s important to prune these traveling stems away otherwise they get woody and ugly. Start this technique early to create a good dense shape. Don’t clip it too close, as it looks a bit mean. Once the shrub has good form let it be fuzzy for a time between clips, use your secateurs to remove the strongest growth and extend the time between clipping, celebrate the fuzzy look!

Pale blue flowers in spring, white stems, the leaves are an olive green I guess but the whole will appear a different colour at different times of day, in different weather, and depending what it’s growing near, like many Mediterranean plants.