Iboza Vine

I have several iboza vines planted along side my garage. On the tag that came with the plants it does not say what should be done to protect them in winter. I need to know if I should cover them or just leave them. They are too pretty to lose. Please let me know. R. Clark

I believe the plant you are referring to is Plectranthus madagascariensis, commonly known as mintleaf. It’s a vining plant with square brown stems and round, scalloped leaves that a have a fleshy texture. A common variety is ‘Variegated Mintleaf’, which has green and white variegated leaves. Because of the common names basket iboza and iboza vine it is often confused with the shrubby, tropical Iboza riparia. This plant is bushy and upright with slightly hairy leaves and a pungent aroma. Unlike mintleaf, Iboza riparia produces very showy, spires of blooms.

Unless you are located in a tropical region, neither of these plants will survive a cold winter. Mintleaf is best planted in partial shade or dappled sun areas with even moisture, and humus rich, well-drained soil. There are no serious insect or disease problems, however watch for mealy bugs, scale and mites. Mintleaf is primarily grown for its attractive foliage and can be planted in ground in zones 10 and 11 where it is winter hardy. In areas where it is not hardy it is best to treat it like an annual or plant in containers that can be moved indoors for winter.

Inside the home place mintleaf in a bright, sunny area and give it the same care as you would any other houseplant. You can also take cuttings to propagate new plants for next year.