A Comeback Plant

“A Comeback Plant”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

In springtime, we all eagerly check our gardens for returning plants. Living in an area where winter can often be very mild, it is not unusual for annuals or tender perennials to survive for another year. Impatiens, pentas, blue daze, and others will frequently only be nipped back, or they will return from the roots. This last winter, was particularly cold, so very few of these tender plants did survive, and those that did took a very long time to come back. Some didn’t show any growth until June or early July.

One plant that I though I had lost was Cat’s Whiskers (Ocimum aristatum). I had planted it for the first time last summer and loved how it looked and performed in the garden. Here’s how it looked last August.



I did take some cuttings and was able to overwinter them which was a good thing since I was unable to find the white variety to plant this spring. However, I did not plant them in the same area. It was around mid-May when I saw that the old plants were sprouting leaves. It did take them a while to comeback, but finally, they have started blooming.



I really didn’t expect these to return at all since it is listed as a tropical or tender perennial, and we had such a hard winter. It was in a bed that I heavily mulched so that may have been what saved it. Anyhow, from now on I will be sure and take cuttings every year since I never want my garden to be without these lovely and unusual flowers.


  1. Catharine said,

    August 20, 2010 at 5:21 am

    A fabulous plant – glad it returned.

    • Jan said,

      August 21, 2010 at 5:47 am

      It is a wonderful plant – so easy to grow and, so far, pest free.

  2. Sue said,

    August 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I love this plant. I have both the purple and the white, and I agree with you that this is a wonderful summer bloomer.

    • Jan said,

      August 21, 2010 at 5:47 am

      I just may have to try the purple next year.

  3. Phillip said,

    August 20, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    A very interesting looking plant!

    • Jan said,

      August 21, 2010 at 5:46 am

      This flower reminds me of a salvia with whiskers. I have this with Iceberg roses, and the contrasting flower shapes help make an all white area more interesting.

  4. Linda said,

    August 22, 2010 at 6:24 am

    I am zone 8. Do you think if I mulch it heavily it would come back? I want to take cuttings too but have never done that. How do I do that?

    • Jan said,

      August 22, 2010 at 7:37 am

      Linda, this is a very easy plant to propagate. Cuttings will root in water. After roots form and are about an inch long, just plant in potting soil, keep moist until plant becomes established, and then just treat as a houseplant until spring when you can plant it outside. This past winter when the first hard freeze was predicted, I cut mine back to about six inches and spread pine straw over the plants. I must have put about four to six inches of pine straw on top. I do remember it was more than I would usually put because the temps were going to be low for a long time. It did take a while for it to come back. I think it was late May or June before I saw any grow, so I would not be too quick to pull up any dead-looking plants. In fact, I just noticed my coral bean tree sending out shoots and it is mid-August. I thought it was dead months ago.

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