Exploring various native plant species around the globe is just one way to expand our knowledge and increase the diversity of plants in ornamental gardens and landscapes. In fact, many plants are able to adapt to growth in regions outside those in which they are normally found. Even the most common plants can offer unique forms, textures, and colorful flowers.
Researching these plant types will help you better determine whether or not they will be well suited for growth in your region. Blue witches’ hat (recently changed to Coleus livingstonei), for example, also known as hedgehog sage plant, offers its growers saturated blue blooms that are beloved by pollinators. However, it does require specific conditions for growth.
About Blue Witches’ Hat Plants
Blue witches’ hat plants, formerly found under the nomenclature of Pycnostachys urticifolia, are native to regions of South Africa where they are frequently found near wetlands and along the banks of waterways. In warm weather regions, this plant will begin to bloom in the fall. Those in growing zones outside of USDA zones 9-10, which experience frost, may be disappointed to learn that the plant cannot survive cold conditions.
Its former plant name referred to its dense spiked flowerheads and nettle-like leaves. In the U.S., the plant is commonly known as blue witches’ hat for its cobalt blue flowers shaped like a witch hat. Forming a short, mounded shrub at maturity, its overall shape makes blue witches’ hat a good option for use as a background plant in the flower garden border. Its strong fragrance and bright, showy flowers are also known to be especially attractive to bees.
How to Grow Hedgehog Sage Plant
For those wishing to add hedgehog sage plants to their flower gardens, the first step will be to locate it. While transplants are available for purchase online through specialty plant nurseries, gardeners also have the option of growing the plant from seed.
Selection of the planting site will be of the utmost importance to those growing blue witches’ hat. In the garden, well-drained soil and direct sunlight will be essential.
Those living in cooler regions also have the option of growing blue witches’ hat, but as a houseplant. In doing so indoor temperatures should remain consistently warm.
Place the plant in a bright location, such as a south-facing window. Providing the plants with ample sunlight will help ensure the best chance of wintertime bloom when grown indoors.
Care for hedgehog sage plant does involve a few routine tasks. Among these will be pruning and regular watering. Under the right conditions, blue witches’ hat plants may grow quickly. Pruning can be done in late summer before the plant blooms or after flowering has ceased. Removing unwanted growth during these periods will help keep the plant neat and compact.
Plants should be watered thoroughly as needed. Before watering, allow the top layer of the soil to become dry, as to avoid issues which may occur with waterlogged soils.