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How to Grow a Cat Whiskers Plant

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How to Grow a Cat Whiskers Plant

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Overview

Cat's whiskers (Orthosiphon stamineus) are perennial flowering plants that can grow up to 2 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. A somewhat bushy and unusual plant, cat's whiskers is part of the mint family and originated in tropical East Asia. The orchid-like flowers are white or lavender, sprouting long stamens at their bases that resemble cat's whiskers. Cat's whiskers are easy to grow either in containers indoors or outdoors in flower beds. The plant's nectar attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Cat's whiskers are harvested to use in herbal teas for treating kidney stones and other urinary ailments.

Step 1

Plant your cat's whiskers in full or dappled sunlight. Prepare the planting site by loosening the soil with a pitchfork or rototiller.

Step 2

Spread a 3-inch layer of organic compost on top of the planting bed and mix it down into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Also mix into the soil 1 lb. of slow-release 12-6-6 NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) fertilizer per 100 sq. ft. of plant bed.

Step 3

Water your cat's whiskers plant two or three times each week during the growing season. Water the plant deeply to moisten the soil down to the root zone.

Step 4

Feed the plant once each month during the growing season with a balanced flower fertilizer that has a 1-1-1 NPK ratio. Apply the liquid fertilizer during a watering session and according to the directions on the label.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't allow your cat's whiskers plant to dry out. Water the plant generously, especially during the hotter, drier days in summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat's whiskers plant
  • Pitchfork or rototiller
  • Organic compost
  • Slow-release 12-6-6 NPK fertilizer
  • Garden hose or watering can
  • Balanced liquid flower fertilizer

References

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Cat's Whiskers Plant

Who Can Help

  • FloridaGardener.com: Orthosiphon stamineus -- Cat's Whiskers
  • USDA: Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: grow Orthosiphon stamineus, cat's whiskers plant, ornamental plants

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.

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