Sign up for our newsletter
Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Teucrium x lucidrys
syn. T. chamaedrys
Central and Southern Europe.
Woody perennial or evergreen sub shrub.
Sunset zones: 2-24.
USDA zones: 5-9.
Height: 12-20 inches (30-50 cm).
Width: 12 inches (30 cm).
Loose racemes of two-lipped, deep pink to dark purple flowers.
Evergreen, glossy, oblong, serrate, with dark green (underside lighter) leaves.
Well-drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil.
Better left unfed to help keep their compact habit.
Softwood cuttings in early summer and semi-ripe cuttings in midsummer. | Sow seed as soon as ripe and let overwinter in a cold frame. | Layer in spring.
All pruning should be done after flowering period, except for cold damaged stems. Although cold damage is less likely here in the Pacific Northwest, you can prune these stems in early spring. May be sheared to within six inches of the ground to renew foliage and keep compact. Clipping to create a hedge can be done during spring or summer, if flowers are not wanted.
Pests and Diseases:
Problems are very infrequent, but plants are susceptible to mildew, leaf spot, rust and mites.
Rainy Side Notes
Teucrium is used medicinally to facilitate weight loss, plus many other herbal remedies. However, recent studies show Germander may be hepatotoxic, causing liver problems.
The small shrub makes good hedge material and can be a replacement for the slower growing boxwood. In my opinion, the aromatic foliage has a much better fragrance than boxwood's scent, which when wet exudes a used-sweat-socks-like aroma. For a knot garden or as a hedge for an herb or rose garden, this plant is a knockout, especially as a looser hedge when allowed to flower. Teucrium is a good forage plant for bees. There is a variegated form named T. x lucidrys 'Variegatum'.
Besides growing this sub shrub as a hedge, it can be harvested and made into an aromatic wreath that acts as an air freshener. Leaves and flowers can be dried for use in crafts and makes excellent bonsai material, too.
This species is well adapted to our maritime climate, as it hails from other Mediterranean climates. Well-drained soil is necessary, especially during our wet winters. I grow my Teucrium in raised beds, where the plants thrive. Place this plant in the drought garden where it will thrive once established. For those who live in areas where fires are a risk, a well-watered Teucrium is fire retardant.
Photographed in author's garden.
Perennials indexed by botanical names. Click on corresponding letter below.