Harp shrub - care of the verpiss-you plant against cats

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The Verpiss-you-plant (of the mint family) owes its existence and its somewhat ugly name to its breeder Dieter Stegmeier from Schwaben, who made his crossing available to the public in 2001. But the name is program! The plant is a very effective remedy for dogs, cats and rabbits.
Other names are then more appealing, such as Elven Gold, Elfenblume or Duftheinrich. The often-fallen remark that the harp shrub (Plactranthus caninus) is not particularly attractive, loses itself with special consideration. The small, delicate flowers present in a pretty purple color and are in every garden to advantage.
Origin of harp shrub
Originally the harp shrub comes from the southern hemisphere. Especially the Verpiss-Dich-Plant has its home in South and / or East Africa. Other varieties come from Central and South America or Asia.
Effect of harp shrub
The protective effect of the plant is due to the essential oils that the shrub regularly releases through its nettles. The oils contain menthol and have a repulsive effect on dogs, cats, rabbits and even martens. Animals would often be several meters away, because this smell is so intrusive for them. By the way: The tobacco shrub belongs to this genus and is even used against moths.
But there are also testimonials that deny effectiveness and cause great disappointment. Often the amount of plants, the age and the weather seems to influence the smell. There are statements that some varieties instead of deterred the cats would literally attract and invite to a "plant bath". Despite its effect, the plant is not poisonous and can safely be used in a household with children.
Types of harp shrub
In addition to the verpiss-you-shrub, four other varieties of the mint family are regularly offered:

  • Plectranthus coleoides - the frankincense plant with its white-green leaves. It has hanging shoots and is also available in hanging baskets or as a supplement in a flower box for the balcony,
  • Plectranthus fruticosus - the moth distributor with its likewise white-green patterned leaves,
  • Plectranthus oertendahlii - a flowering variety in autumn with more shoot-like branches,
  • Plectranthus nummularius - which also represents a beautiful traffic light plant, as it shows very bushy with regular cut.
Location for harp shrub
According to its origin, this plant likes it especially warm and partially shaded to sunny. Several hours of sunlight are mandatory, otherwise the leaves lose their beautiful color or pattern. With too little sun, the shrub also repels most of its leaves or the new shoot forms much fewer leaves. The warmer and sunnier the harp shrub stands, the more lush the flowering splendor that presents itself in spring to early summer. Persistent temperatures below 12° C tolerate the Verpiss-you plant very badly.
The soil should be optimally designed. Nutrient-rich, loose and porous soil is the ideal prerequisite for a magnificent growth. With Lauberde and compost can be helped accordingly.
Harp shrub - care
In the hot and sunny weeks, during the main growth phase, the shrub needs a lot of water. The root ball must not dry out, but waterlogging is poorly tolerated. Whereas in the resting phase may only be poured moderately. Especially the water needs the hanging or lying shoots.
  • For special care, the plant can be sprayed on very hot days early in the morning and in the evening with water.
  • During growth, the shrub must be fertilized every two weeks.
  • With bucket keeping liquid manure offers itself, with cultivation in the general garden around the plant a complete fertilizer can be spent.
  • During the resting phase, the fertilizer is completely adjusted.
The plant is otherwise easy to care for, not susceptible to disease and rarely infested with pests. In the summer months may be an infestation of aphids, which can be removed either by an energetic jet of water or by the usual means. The most beautiful way of using ladybugs would be. Tip: Houseplants can also be affected by aphids, especially in summer. Then it is recommended to treat the shrub to a small shower.
A special cut is not necessary. If the shrub is too large, or stalk-forming varieties can be kept in check by regular cut.
Propagation of harp shrub
The reproduction succeeds over head cuttings, the length should be at 6-8 cm. The lower pairs of leaves are removed and then inserted directly into the ground.Ideally, everything will be bright and sunny to promote rooting. It is important to ensure that only moderate casting is allowed.
  • Older plants should be replaced after a few years because the plants lose their beauty with age.
  • For some varieties, this can be as early as two years. 3-4 cuttings are enough for a pot.
  • There is no wrong time for cutting, this can be done all year round.
  • The ideal time for this is autumn.
Hibernate harp bush
The plant is not hardy, temperatures below 12° C cause her in the long term problems. However, hibernation protected at a moderate temperature of 12-15° C in buckets can be done easily. Prerequisite, it is cool and dry. A stay in the dark cellar is not recommended, because the shrub likes to "verwgeilt". In general, the harp shrub is a beautiful houseplant. Also suitable as hydroponic. However, it should be repotted annually.
Whether as an effective weapon against all domestic animals or as a concomitant to dominant plants to emphasize their visual impact, the harp shrub is undemanding and develops with proper care all by itself.
Worth knowing about the Harvest Shrub shortly
The harp shrub is originally from South-East Asia and belongs to the mint family. Its effect on dogs, cats and rabbits is well known and has been confirmed several times. The fragrances, such as menthol, disturb the sensitive noses of the animals and drive them out of the garden. However, the smell is not perceived by humans. The so-called Verpiss-you-plant, which with its smell expels cats and dogs from the garden, is a special breeding of the Harfenstrauchs. It places the same demands on the site and care as the other species of the shrub.
Suitable location of the plant
  • The harp shrub needs a bright location, ideal are half shady or sunny places.
  • In the shade, the shrub will not thrive, it needs daily direct sunlight for several hours.
  • It indicates too dark a location due to fading leaves.
  • He also tends in lack of light to a rapid growth with small leaves.
  • The shrub feels most comfortable at 16° and 21° C.
Claims to the ground
  • The plant needs a loose and porous soil, with a high nutrient content.
  • In the garden, the soil should therefore be enriched with compost.
  • Congestive wetness does not tolerate harp shrub well, he rather likes something dry than too wet.
  • If the soil in the garden is firm and loamy, it is recommended to keep the harp shrub in pots with loam soil and compost.
Plant and maintain the harp bush
  • The native of the southeast of India shrub is sensitive to frost.
  • Therefore, it should be planted in open land only from the end of May.
  • A serving of flowering fertilizer every 14 days stimulates flowering.
  • There is no possibility to extend the flowering phase, so they can stay on the plant to gain seeds.
Pest infestation and diseases
  • The harp shrub is not prone to diseases such as rust or fungus, it is also avoided by most noxious insects.
  • Only aphids can be a plague on the plant.
Hibernation of the Verpiss-Dich plant
  • In winter, the harp bush needs a cool room, it is enough temperatures of 12 to 15° C, it should never be colder than 10° C.
  • The tendency to spoil makes it necessary that the room is very bright.
  • It may be necessary to provide sufficient light via a plant light bulb.
  • During this time, the shrub is neither watered nor fertilized, but the soil should not dry out completely.
Offspring of harp shrub
  • It is possible to grow offshoots from the seeds of the shrub, but usually head cuttings are used.
  • Head cuttings are formed from about 6 cm long shoot tips of older plants. These can be cut throughout the year.
  • In terms of wintering, late summer is the right time.
Precautionary measures for pets
Not all species of harp shrub but perfumes. The cultivar named Verpiss-Dich-Plant releases an essential oil via nettle hair that smells of menthol. Other varieties are substances that smell of incense, but other varieties are even used as a spice in the kitchen. The harp shrub is never poisonous, so it can easily be used in the garden to drive animals. Since dogs and cats find the smell unpleasant, the location in the house should be chosen with care. It is certainly not appropriate to set up the plants near resting places of the animals. The smell is also disturbed by animals at a distance of two meters. People hardly notice the smell.
Conclusion: effect of the Verpiss-you plant
Many garden owners, who have bought the Verpiss-you plant, are not at all satisfied with their effect. But on the contrary. Animals, especially cats, would love them. They first roll in it and then eat it completely bald.It's best to try it out, maybe it works in the garden, yes. A plant costs about 3 euros, 8 about 15 euros. Maybe the crowd will bring the success?

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