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Teucrium fruticans Evergreen shrub,  Teucrium fruticans has small pointed bluish grey leaves on a loose framework of narrow stems up to 2m x 2m (but can be clipped or hedge strimmed into almost anyshape).

Flowers: small blue  salvia-like flowers in spring, attractive but insignificant.  (Various cultivars exist that have more vivid flowers but these are all less vigorous than the species and I would avoid them).

Drought tolerance: 5 –  see our post drought tolerant plants for an explanation.

Full sun to part shade.

Comment on Teucrium fruticans

This is a very easy plant indeed, it’s almost impossible to fail with it in a Mediterranean climate;  just plant it directly in whatever soil you have (clay, sandy, rocky, it doesn’t matter) and water it when it looks distressed during the first summer.  I have never lost one.  Teucrium fruticans may not be a ravishingly beautiful plant but it absolutely works and is a ‘must’ for this type of garden. Growth is quite fast, after 3 years it can grow 75 cms a year.

It can put up with quite serious drought and high temperatures; the only thing it does not like is cold and wet in winter, an unlikely combination here  - not long lived therefore  in northern  gardens – I had one once on a London balcony which did not survive its first winter.

Grown for its foliage and form, Teucrium fruticans can be clipped into any shape, even to the ground in spring – new growth is much more attractive than older growth.  Let the plant establish for two seasons and then give it a trim to encourage new growth.

I use Teucrium fruticans in on banking and as an informal hedge against cedars. It can also be used clipped into rounds or hedges in a more formal garden or next to patios.

Teucrium harmonises well with almost any other Mediterranean plants such as rosemary, lavender, oleanders or also with succulents and cacti.

Propagation is very easy; new spring growth will root in 2 weeks in a light gritty compost and can be potted on for planting up as small plants the same autumn.

Mature specimen at south of France hotel

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2 Responses to “Teucrium fruticans”

  • davina says:

    Hello, We have a house in Croatia. We are driving out in July and hoped to take a few Teucrium plants with us and I was interested to read your article. I was hoping to plant the more decorative fruticans azureum as I felt the flower was a bit more showy. What is your feeling about using that variety as a hedging plant in a hot country – or can you recommend a variety that has a better flower than the ordinary fruticans? Also, we will be planting them mid-summer where there may be the odd week, before the autumn when they will not get watered. Would this present a problem? Many thanks.

    • admin says:

      Hi,

      I recommend using ordinary T. fruticans. It is hardier to winter cold than the more showy flowering forms (and to be honest they are not very showy anyway) and I think that would be likely to be more of an issue than the hot summers. I am not sure how cold it will be in winter, but certainly below -5 to -8 C would kill the cultivars and even the main T. fruticans may be damaged below about -10 C. T. fruticans is also a more vigourous growing plant more suitable for a hedge than the culitvars.

      If you wanted colour then plant Perovksia atriplicifolia in front of it.

      You might be able to get away with a summer planting of this very tough plant with missing the odd week of watering, but you are taking a risk. It depends how hot it is and how windy too…personally I would not risk it, much better to wait until Autumn.

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South of France Hotel

Plant Descriptions

The snows are fled away, leaves on the shaws
And grasses in the mead renew their birth,
The river to the river-bed withdraws,
And altered is the fashion of the earth.

Horace: Odes iv 7, translated by A. E. Housman

These pages contain a wealth of advice about gardening in a Mediterranean (hot and dry) climate.

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Casa Pilates, Seville Alcaza, Seville Casa Pilates, Seville Courtyard, Murales Gardens, Seville Vergelegen, South Africa Le Domaine aux Quat'Saisons
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