Whorled Plectranthus (Swedish Ivy) Indoor Care, Propagation and Growing Problems

The Whorled Plectranthus also called Swedish Begonia, Gossip Plant, Begonia Ivy or Swedish Ivy are creeping plants important for clothing the edges of pots and hanging baskets.

They are easy to grow even for a beginner. Though called Swedish Ivy, Whorled Plectranthus is not a true ivy and will flourish in dry air where true ivies would fail.

Whorled Plectranthus will withstand occasional dryness at the roots and also produce occasional flowers under room conditions.

Despite the name 'Ivy', the leaves in Swedish Ivy resemble a small and plain Coleus rather than a colorful Ivy.

The foliage in Whorled Plectranthus is more colorful and the trailing stems are covered by foliage and they grow very fast. The leaves are more rounded and deeply veined.

The common name of Swedish Ivy indicates their popularity in Scandinavia where they are grown in hanging baskets or on window-sills.

Whorled Plectranthus, Swedish Ivy, Plectranthus

Botanical name: Plectranthus
Family: Lamiaceae
Common names: Gossip Plant, Begonia Ivy, Swedish Ivy, Swedish Begonia, Whorled Plectranthus, Spurflowers


The Plectranthus genus has about 350 species comprising of warm-climate plants occurring largerly in the Southern Hemisphere, in Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, India and the Indonesian archipelago down to Australia and some Pacific Islands.

Plectranthus are closely related to Coleus blumei commonly called Painted Nettle. The Plectranthus plants are also known as spurflowers.


Swedish Ivy is non-toxic to both humans and pets.


The variegated types are more popular like Plectranthus oertendahlii is especially colorful with leaves measuring 1 in. across, prominnent white veins, underside and leaf edge rosy-purple.

Plectranthus coleoides marginatus bears the largest leaves which measure 2-2.5 in. wide, have a broad white edge and a hairy surface.

Plectranthus australis bears all-green leaves which are thicker and glossier than for other species. Plectranthus are some of the best plants for a hanging basket ideal for a beginner.

Where to Buy

Swedish Begonia are magnificent plants for any plant collection. Check them out on Etsy.

Whorled Plectranthus Care Indoors

Whorled Plectranthus requires bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and moderately humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Swedish Ivy requires repotting only when it becomes pot-bound. Regular pruning is needed to keep it neat, encourage a bushy, compact growth and rejuvenate growth. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.

Whorled Plectranthus, Swedish Ivy, Plectranthus

Light Requirements

Whorled Plectranthus grows best in bright, indirect light. It can also grow under a grow light where natural light is inadequate. Check out these full spectrum grow lights on Amazon.

Keep the Swedish Begonia away from direct sunlight to avoid leaf sun scorch. Rotate the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.


Water Whorled Plectranthus liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Decrease watering for Swedish Ivy during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot which can result in the eventual death of the plant.

Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy (too wet) to avoid rotting.

Temperature and Humidity

The best temperature for growing Whorled Plectranthus indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 120C.

Keep the Swedish Ivy away from draughts to prevent sudden changes in temperature as it can lead to leaf drop and reduced growth.

Average room humidity is ideal for Whorled Plectranthus. Where the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Learn more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Occasionally wash the leaves with plenty of water to get rid of dust and discourage pest infestation.

Potting Soil

The best soil for Whorled Plectranthus should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Swedish Ivy. Buy quality multi-purpose potting mix online from Amazon.


Feed Whorled Plectranthus with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period for lush growth.

Stop feeding the Swedish Ivy during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.


Repot Whorled Plectranthus during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant. Take a look at these Ceramic Pots with Drainage Holes and Saucer on Amazon.


Pruning Whorled Plectranthus is easy. To control the height of the plant and encourage a bushy, compact plant, pinch the growing tips.

Remove dead flower stalks immediately to keep it neat and to reduce the breeding ground for pests and diseases. Cutback the overgrown or leggy plant to rejuvenate growth.


Whorled Plectranthus (Swedish Ivy) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings.

How to propagate Whorled Plectranthus from stem-tip cuttings

Take a 4-6 in. stem-tip cutting from a healthy Whorled Plectranthus. Strip off the lower leaves and insert the cutting in moist rooting soil.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.

Allow the Swedish Ivy to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.

Whorled Plectranthus, Swedish Ivy, Plectranthus spp

Whorled Plectranthus Problems

Whorled Plectranthus (Swedish Ivy) growing problems include wilting, dull leaves, yellow leaves, leggy growth, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Wilting despite regular watering

Wilting in Whorled Plectranthus despite regular watering is an indication of root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil due to poor drainage.

Isolate the affected plant, take stem-tip cuttings and propagate a new plant. Discard the diseased Swedish Ivy as it will not recover. Read more on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.

To avoid this problem in the future, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy.

Leggy growth

Leggy growth in Whorled Plectranthus is caused by too little light This is an attempt by the plant to reach the light source.

Move the Swedish Ivy to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light but away from direct sunlight or intal grow lights where natural light is inadequate.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth and prevent lopsided growth.

Yellowing leaves

Overwatering or soggy soil are the cause of yellowing leaves in Whorled Plectranthus. Lessen watering during the cold season and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil drains easily to prevent it from getting soggy.

Soft and dull leaves

Soft and dull leaves in Whorled Plectranthus are due to underwatering. Water the plant immediately, maintain the soil moderately moist at all times and never allow the soil to dry out completely.


The common disease in Whorled Plectranthus is leaf spot disease. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants and treat it appropriately for the disease.


The common pests in Whorled Plectranthus are mealy bugs, scale insects, aphids, whiteflies and spider mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read more on how to identify and treat pests in houseplants.

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