Gardening Tips

Frankincense plant: care

Frankincense plant: care

The frankincense plant is a much more common plant than many think. So much so, that it is very likely that you have seen it many times without having recognized it and, at least in Spain, it is very common to see it on terraces, gardens and even indoors as an ornamental plant. Originally from India, this plant arrived in Spain at the hands of Arab merchants, at the time of the Taifas. It was then considered a good omen or symbol of good luck and since then its ornamental use has been maintained.

If you want to learn how the incense plant is cared for, join us in this EcologíaVerde article where you will find a complete guide to the frankincense plant care.

Characteristics of the frankincense plant

The Plectranthus genus is made up of more than 300 herbaceous species that come from different warm-temperature zones of the Southern Hemisphere, including India, Indonesia, Australia and Africa. Among them, there are several that are identified as the incense plant, mainly the Plectranthus coleoides ‘Marginatus’ and the Plectranthus madagascariensis. The Plectranthus coleoides ‘Marginatus’ is the best known of its species, being a herbaceous member of the Lamiaceae family, which can reach heights of approximately 60 cm.

The most striking thing about it are its small leaves, no more than 3 cm long, which are a beautiful green, usually variegated on their jagged edges, where they take on a light tone. The flowers, which occur in clusters, are very small and have little ornamental value, being normally white or purple in color. It is a plant of great growth, which adopts hanging carrier in one or two seasons. Its smell is pleasant for people, but it also acts as an excellent anti-mosquito. If you are interested in this quality, you may also like the plant known as Mosquito Geranium.

If you like hanging plants like the frankincense plant, you can check out these Sun Hanging Plants and Indoor Hanging Plants guides.

Location for the Plectranthus plant

Where to place the incense plant? When it comes to knowing if it’s better put the incense plant indoors or outdoorsIt depends entirely on the type of climate where you live.

Like all plants tropical origin, supports temperate temperatures well, but does not support excessive heat or, especially in this case, cold. If you live in an area with mild temperatures you can grow your incense plant in the garden without problems, but in a Mediterranean or cold climate you will need to keep it indoors. Find a room without extreme temperatures and with as much natural light as possible. In summer, try to ensure that the incidence of light is indirect, and always be careful with the magnifying glass effect of the window panes, which could damage the leaves. If you use a pot, it is very important that it has drainage holes.

Frankincense Plant: Care - Location for Plectranthus Plant

Frankincense Plant Watering

As with all plants, it is important that watering is more frequent in the warm months, which is when the plant is more active. In the case of Plectranthus coleoidesit is important that the substrate never floods, so it is better that irrigation is more frequent and less abundant.

You can check the condition of the substrate by sticking a toothpick or a finger and checking if the soil sticks. After watering, be sure to remove any excess water from the dish about 10-15 minutes later. Try to water when the upper layer of the substrate has dried, that is, when there is no soil stuck on the stick or finger with which you have checked how it is.

In this other article you can learn when to water the plants.

Substrate for the frankincense plant

As we have already mentioned, this plant does not tolerate waterlogging, which can easily cause its roots to rot, as happens with so many tropical plants. The incense plant is not particularly demanding with soil nutrients, so the most important thing is to enhance drainage capacity and the lightness of its land.

Mix peat moss, coconut fiber and worm humus in equal parts, and add a good handful of vermiculite and perlite to the mix. This mixture gives rise to a substrate that is very rich in nutrients, which the plant will appreciate even though it does not need a large quantity and, above all, it is very light and offers ideal properties for retaining sufficient water and draining off excess water.

Incense plant: care - Substrate for the incense plant

Fertilizer for the frankincense plant

It is best to use organic fertilizer during the spring and summer months. Worm humus is one of the best options for its load of beneficial microorganisms, but compost or guano are also great options.

Here you can learn How to make earthworm humus and How to make homemade compost.

Incense plant pruning and multiplication

The best time to prune your frankincense plant is at early springwhen its height is reduced by approximately half, in addition to removing the leaves and flowers in poor condition throughout the year.

In addition, you can take advantage of pruning to make frankincense plant cuttings, which is the best way to multiply it. Cuttings taken in spring have a good chance of rooting well, especially if you use the substrate mix we gave you earlier and boost them with rooting hormone, which you can make yourself at home.

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