The scientific name of the cat whiskers plant is Orthosiphon aristatus, the plant traveled an exotic route before reaching American gardens. The cat whiskers plant is native to Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. The plant is actually a perennial shrub that grows from nine to seventy-eight inches tall in the wild. The cat whiskers plant is found along the edges of forests and thickets, the plant prefers full sun and warm temperatures. 


Cat Whiskers Plant Info

The common name: The common names are Cats whiskers, Java tea.

The botanical name: The botanical name is Orthosiphon aristatus.

Family: Belong to Lamiaceae.

The plant type: The plant is a perennial, shrub

 The mature size: The mature size is about 9-78 inches tall, 24-36 inch spread.

 Sun exposure: The plant prefers full sun.

 Soil type: The plant does well in loamy, well-drained soil.

 Soil pH: Neutral

 Blooming time: Blooming time is spring/summer

 The flower color: The flower colors are white, lavender

 USDA hardiness zones: 9-12

 Native area: The plant is native to East Asia.

 Plant toxicity: Some of the plant parts are toxic if ingested.


Cat Whiskers Plant Care

The cat whiskers plant is a member of the mint family, the plant is a tropical plant that works well in a warm climate garden or as a potted annual in colder areas. The Cat whiskers plant need to be planted in an area of full sun in well-draining soil. Place the Cat whiskers plant at the back of a bed because it has a shrub-like shape and can reach heights over 6 feet; however, most garden plants reach 2 to 3 feet each season.

The plant flower spikes offer a good source of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds in a pollinator garden. The Cat whiskers plant is an easy-care plant requiring moderate water levels and feeding.

Light requirement: Cat whiskers plant actually prefers a location in full sun but can also tolerate some light shade. The blooms will be more profuse when the plant is actually grown in full sun.

Soil requirement: Cat whiskers plant prefers a neutral soil pH that is well-draining. If you are growing the plant as a container annual, make sure you use good potting soil and a container with adequate drainage holes.

Water requirement: The newly planted cat whiskers plant should be watered regularly until they become established. After the plant become well-settled, only moderate watering is required unless there are periods of extreme drought. The container-grown cat whiskers plants actually require more frequent watering because container soil dries out faster than garden bed soil.

Temperature and humidity requirement: Cat whiskers plant is a tropical plant that requires warm temperatures and is not cold-tolerant. Warm, humid air will encourage bloom production. The unique flowers appear on new growth each spring as soon as the nighttime temperatures begin to warm and the days get a bit longer.

Fertilizer requirement: If the soil for planting is fertile, additional fertilization is actually not needed. To boost bloom production you can simply mix in some compost into the soil or use a balanced fertilizer (8-8-8 NPK) during the growing season, most especially on container-grown plants.

Pruning: If you are actually growing the cat whiskers plant as a perennial, remove spent blooms during the growing season. Before the warmer temperatures of spring you can easily prune the stems back about one-third in other to encourage new growth and more blooms. In cooler zones, the foliage will die back when temperatures become colder. You can cut the stems down to ground level.


How to Grow Cat Whiskers from Seed

During the growing season, collect the cat whiskers seed heads/pods when flowers fade and allow them to dry in a cool, dark place. Remove the seeds from the pods and store them in a small paper bag or envelope. About 6 weeks before outside temperatures reach a point where you can safely leave the plants outdoors to harden off, you will want to start the seed growing process.

Fill seed trays with seed starting medium and moisten the medium until it is damp but not soaked.

With a pencil or other pointy object, make a hole about 1/8th of an inch deep and place one cat whiskers seed in each one of the seed tray's cells.

Place the tray on top of a heating mat in front of a sunny window and cover the tray with its plastic cover.

Check daily to ensure the soil remains moist, misting with a spray bottle when needed.

Depending on the moisture content and temperature, your cat whiskers seeds should germinate in 5 to 10 days.

Keep the cat whiskers seedlings covered until the plants touch the cover, at which point remove the cover and, if possible, let a fan circulate air around the plants to strengthen them.

When plants are 5 to 6 inches tall, transplant them into individual pots taking care not to damage roots and continue to water until transplanted outdoors. When the temperature outdoors reaches a steady fifty degree Fahrenheit at night, place the cat whiskers plants outdoors gradually each day to allow them to harden off before planting them in the garden. After a week or so of hardening off, you can transplant your cat whiskers plant to the garden or a container.


Pests and Diseases Control

Actually there are no known serious pest or disease problems for cat whiskers plant. It is vital to keep the area free of weeds in other to encourage good air circulation and soil moisture levels around the shrubs.

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