In this article, we will be discussing how to grow the beautiful flowering shrub of Teucrium in containers. Teucrium is a large genus of 300 species of flowering plants that belong to the Lamiaceae (the Mint or Sage) family. What is noted for all Teucrium, which has the common name of Germanders, is that all their stems are square in cross-section and the flowers are two-tipped. They tend to be found growing mainly in the Mediterranean regions but 13 species are found growing naturally in Australia.
Plants in the genus tend to be either perennial herbs or shrubs that have square stems with simple hairs, the evergreen leaves are normally arranged in opposite pairs with three leaflets and are smoothly lobed or have serrated edges. They are also grown for the long flowering period that this genus has throughout the summer.
In summer to early autumn flowers appear that have 5 or more similar sepals that are fused at the base. The corolla is white or cream coloured with 5 lobes forming the familiar ‘Two–lips’, so common with this genus. The upper lip is less predominant than the lower lip. The flowers are followed by dry fruits that contain four segments of seeds.
Find out how to grow Teucrium in containers in this article.
GROWING TEUCRIUM IN CONTAINERS
As Teucrium can be compact or large, you will need to choose a container that is well-balanced and in proportion with the plant in question. No matter what you choose make sure it has plenty of drainage holes at the bottom.
Add a 5cm layer of gravel to the bottom of the container to aid drainage even further. What must be stressed is that Teucrium likes to grow in free-draining compost. You will need to create a free-draining growing media by mixing 70% by volume of multipurpose compost with 30% by volume of perlite. This will create a light, free-draining growing media. Fill up to 5cm below the top rim of the container with this growing media.
Dig a hole at the centre of the container slightly bigger than the root ball that it came in the original container that you bought it in. Place the plant in so that the top of the root ball is at the same level as the top surface of the compost in the container. Backfill with the growing media so that no empty spaces remain, using more compost if you find them. Firm the plant in and water well.
THE BEST GROWING CONDITIONS
Teucriums do best if they are grown against a sheltered wall in full sun. It will not do well in the shade, so do not place your container in such areas.
It must be placed in a sheltered place to avoid the plant from becoming overwatered by rain. It is important that you do not overwater by having a free-draining growing media. I would not water unless the plant is wilting and showing obvious signs of being stressed. I would water well until it is established but after that, you can water as recommended above.
Do not fertilize as Teucriums do not like rich soils, so do not feed unless it is absolutely necessary. Feed, only if the plant is showing signs of a nutrient deficiency such as yellowing leaves. If found feed with a liquid, general-purpose fertilizer at half its recommended strength to give a quick pick-me-up.
Pruning is straightforward as all you need to do is cut back about half of last year’s growth in April.
Propagation is either by taking softwood cuttings in early summer or semi-ripe cuttings in mid-summer. You will need to apply bottom heat or otherwise, the cuttings may not take. This is why it is best to do this in a heated greenhouse or by the use of heat mats in the home.
PESTS AND DISEASES
It is not known to suffer from any pests or diseases, making it an ideal plant to have in the garden. The only thing you need to worry about is overwatering as mentioned above can lead to root rot and the death of your shrub. You must create a free-draining growing media and never overwater.
VARIETIES TO GROW
There are two popular species to grow, both differing in flower colours cultural needs and the shape of the flower heads.
Teucrium chamaedrys (Wall Germander) is a low-growing and aromatic subshrub. It is used as a medicinal herb. It only grows up to 18cm tall and spreads with oval-toothed leaves. From July to September, it produces spikes of pink flowers. It is a tough and hardy plant.
The other species is Teucrium fruticans (Shrubby Germander) which grows up to 1.5m tall. The green leaves and stems are silvery-grey underneath. Between June and Septembers pale blue flowers that look like tiny orchids are borne on terminal racemes. It is a tender plant and needs to be grown against a sunny wall in a mild location.
In this article, we have discussed how to grow the beautiful flowering shrub of Teucrium in containers. It is a large genus but only two species are generally grown in the UK- Teucrium chamaedrys or Teucrium fruticans, they tend to be easy to grow, easy to care for, and are generally pests and diseases free. They are great-looking plants.
If you have any questions or comments that you wish to make on growing Teucrium in containers, please do so in the comment box below.
Happy Teucrium growing.