Cats whiskers ( Orthosiphon aristatus )


It was love at first sight when I first saw this plant at a botanical garden in San Antonio. I was able to acquire one at the Extension Office plant sale this spring. Hummingbirds also love this plant.

Flowers may be purple or white, grow on 6″ stems, and have very long stamens resembling cat’s whiskers. It is a flowering shrub that can reach 4′ in height with a 3′ spread. Flowering occurs late summer through early fall in most places, can bloom year round here in Houston.

Cat’s whiskers prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Keep the soil moist and do not let this plant dry out. It wilts stops growing and flowering when the soil is too dry.

It is a fast grower and blooms easily.

Cat’s whiskers can be easily propagated from cuttings.

If you are looking for an unusual plant that is easy to grow consider this one. The picture really doesn’t show just how wonderful the blooms are.

This plant loves the summer heat, but died after a winter freeze.

Java Tea is made from this plant and said to help pass kidney stones.

Keep an eye out for scale on this plant.

Be free with the pruning shears it will thicken up after heavy prunings.

2 thoughts on “Cats whiskers ( Orthosiphon aristatus )

  1. I am googling this one after I post this comment! It looks like a keeper and my hope is it will annual in Nashville! BTW, how are you doing?


  2. I think you’ll have to pot it or grow it as an annual there. I’m pushing the edge of its zone here. It wants to be in 9a or higher.

    I’m doing good, just entirely too busy.

    I love your porch – when I put one on the old house in New England we moved out into it too. I miss having one at this house, we just haven’t gotten that far yet.

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