Incense plant: care - Complete guide

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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 it is that, 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 came to Spain from the hand of Arab merchants, at the time of the taifa. 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 to care for the incense plant, join us in this Green Ecologist article where you will find a complete guide to the incense plant care.

Incense plant characteristics

The genus Plectranthus is composed of more than 300 species of herbaceous that come from different areas of warm temperature in 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 of the Lamiaceae family, which can reach heights of approximately up to 60 cm.

The most striking thing about it are its small leaves, no more than about 3 cm long, which are a beautiful green, usually variegated at their serrated 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 lilac tones. It is a plant of great growth, which adopts hanging bearing in a season or two. 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 anti-mosquito geranium.

If you like hanging plants like the incense plant, you can consult these guides on Hanging Sun Plants and Hanging Indoor Plants.

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 completely depends on the type of climate where you live.

Like all plants of tropical originIt supports warm temperatures well, but it 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 cold or Mediterranean climate you will need to keep it indoors. Find a room without extreme temperatures and with as much natural light as possible. In summer, make sure that the incidence of light is indirect, and always be careful with the magnifying glass effect of the windows, which could damage the leaves. If you use a pot, it is very important that it has drainage holes.

Watering the frankincense plant

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

You can check the condition of the substrate by sticking a toothpick or finger in 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 top layer of the substrate has dried, that is, when there is no dirt 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 incense plant

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

Mix equal parts peat, coconut fiber, and worm castings, 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 if it does not need a large quantity and, above all, it is very light and offers ideal properties of sufficient water retention and drainage of excess.

Compost for the incense plant

It is best to use organic fertilizer during the spring and summer months. Vermicompost 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 worm castings and How to make homemade compost.

Pruning the frankincense plant and its multiplication

The best time to prune the frankincense plant is when early spring, when its height is lowered approximately to half, in addition to removing leaves and flowers in poor condition throughout the year.

In addition, you can take advantage of pruning to do 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 mixture that we have given you before and if you boost them with rooting hormone, which you can make yourself at home.

If you want to read more articles similar to Incense plant: care, we recommend that you enter our category of Cultivation and care of plants.

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