Cat’s Whiskers

“Cat’s Whiskers”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


This is the first year I have planted Cat’s Whiskers  (Orthosiphon aristatus), and it is known to be loved by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  You can now add me to that list.  This plant has turned out to be so great in the garden.  The three plants I put in the garden in early spring have  grown to about three feet high and almost as wide, but it is still a fairly open plant.  There are flowers on all the tips, and the more you dead head the faded flowers the more you get since it blooms on new growth.   Two stalks show up at every trimmed back area giving you so many new flowers.  My plant has white flowers, but it also comes in a  purple variety.  I chose the white because I wanted it in the “white” garden where they look great along side the white Iceberg roses.  Next year, I am going to try the purple in other areas of the garden.


Cat's Whiskers (redu)


You can see from the photo how the flower’s long stamens look like a cat’s whiskers.  The flowers are very unusual looking, aren’t they?

This is only hardy to zone 9, but it is supposed to be easy to propagate, which I may do to overwinter a few plants for next year.  I am also hoping that it will reseed, too.  I’ll have to be careful next spring so that I don’t inadvertently destroy any seedlings that might pop up.

I had seen this plant in nurseries before, but never wanted to grow it.  I am so glad that this year I took a chance on Cat’s Whiskers.  It has turned out to be one great blooming plant.


  1. Autumnbelle said,

    July 28, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Cat Whiskers are found abundantly over here in South East Asia too. We use the leaves as herbs. They are known to be good for cleansing the kidneys and for kidney ailments. We even have cat whiskers tea sold in tea bags for drinks. How interesting to know that you have it there too and it is growing so well.

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:46 pm

      I read about their use as a tea for kidney trouble and found that surprising. It is interesting that we grow the same plants even though we are thousands of miles apart. Thank goodness for naturalists who find plants and bring them home for all to enjoy.

  2. Randy said,

    July 28, 2009 at 6:19 am

    We’ve been tossing the idea around of planting some ourselves. They are really cool looking, don’t you think?

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:43 pm

      Randy, like I mentioned to Janet, I wish I would have planted some sooner. They are really filling an area with color. I definitely will get some of the purple next year.

  3. Sweet Bay said,

    July 28, 2009 at 6:42 am

    I love Cat’s Whiskers, although I have not yet grown it in the garden. Such intricately beautiful flowers.

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:41 pm

      I, too, had seen them around before, but I never knew how good they would look. The flowers are large, but airy.

  4. Janet said,

    July 28, 2009 at 6:58 am

    I htink the white is really striking. Will have to think about having some in my garden.

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:40 pm

      Janet, I am very pleased with the three plants I put in this year. I am getting a lot of flowers, and the plant is thriving in the heat and sun. I wish I would have bought some sooner.

  5. July 28, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Beautiful and interesting plant. Wish we could grow it as a perennial in zone 6. -Jackie

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:38 pm

      Jackie, I seem to remember reading that this plant reseeds well. Maybe it wouldn’t survive your winter, but it could come back from seeds. I’ll have to post if they reseed and come up in the spring, and then maybe you could use them then.

  6. mothernaturesgarden said,

    July 28, 2009 at 10:55 am

    I love the form.

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:36 pm

      This is an unusual flower shape, and makes a nice contrast to the roses that are blooming with them.

  7. donna said,

    July 28, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    My goodness, the cat whiskers is delightful looking….just like our new cat. Your LA garden is so interesting to me because almost every plant you write about is one I’ve never heard of before.

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks, Donna. One of the reason I like reading blogs from other parts of the country is to see different plants and get ideas for my garden.

  8. Tatyana said,

    July 28, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    I like how it looks and I like its name, too! Sold!

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:34 pm

      I love the name, too, Tatyana. I really does describe the flower so well.

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