Variegated Mint Bush Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' (v)

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
variegated thousand flowered mint-bush


Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata', commonly known as the variegated mint bush, is a visually attractive shrub known for its notable foliage and aromatic qualities. The plant is characterized by its rounded leaves that exhibit a unique variegation pattern. Typically, the leaves feature a combination of green and creamy white colors, sometimes presenting with irregular edges where the white seems to blend or speckle into the green. The leaves of the variegated mint bush are relatively small and oval-shaped, often described as minty both in appearance and scent when crushed or brushed, releasing a pleasant aroma reminiscent of mint. This bush also blooms, producing small, tubular-shaped flowers that are typically lilac or purple, adding a lovely contrast against the variegated foliage. These blossoms are often favored by bees and other pollinators. The overall impression of this plant is one of a decorative and aromatic addition to gardens, with its contrasting leaf colors and fragrant leaves contributing to its popularity as an ornamental shrub. Despite its appearance, it is important to note that the variegated mint bush is not related to true mint plants but rather shares some sensory characteristics.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Variegated Mint Bush, Variegated Australian Mint

    • Common names

      Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' (v).

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant known as Variegated Mint Bush (Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata') is not widely recognized for having significant toxic properties to humans. There is limited information on the toxicity of this specific cultivar to humans, and it is generally not considered a hazardous plant. However, caution should always be exercised as individual sensitivities can vary, and ingesting any plant not known to be edible can pose risks of gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic reactions. If any plant material is ingested and adverse symptoms are experienced, medical attention should be sought.

    • To pets

      The Variegated Mint Bush (Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata') is not known to be significantly toxic to pets. There is sparse information regarding its toxicity towards cats, dogs, and other household pets. As with humans, individual animals may have different sensitivities, and ingestion of plant material by pets could potentially lead to mild gastrointestinal upset or an allergic reaction. If a pet ingests the plant and displays signs of distress or unusual behavior, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-5 feet (0.9-1.5 meters)

    • Spread

      2-5 feet (0.6-1.5 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: The Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata', commonly known as Variegated Mint Bush, has leaves with attractive variegation, providing visual interest to the garden throughout the year.
    • Habitat Support: Provides food and shelter for a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, enhancing biodiversity.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, the Variegated Mint Bush is drought-tolerant, requiring minimal watering and care.
    • Fast Growth: It grows rapidly, which can be advantageous for quickly filling spaces in a garden or landscape.
    • Fragrant Foliage: The leaves are aromatic, releasing a pleasant scent when brushed against or crushed, which can enhance the sensory experience of a garden.
    • Privacy: Can be used as a hedge or screen, providing privacy and reducing noise when planted in groups.
    • Ornamental Flowers: Produces delicate flowers which can add to the plant's ornamental value and attract pollinators.
    • Versatility: Suitable for a variety of garden styles, including formal, cottage, and native gardens, due to its adaptable nature.
    • Soil Erosion Control: Can help in stabilizing the soil with its root system, thus preventing erosion.
    • Culinary Use: Though not a primary use, the leaves of the Variegated Mint Bush may be used in cooking for their minty flavor.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' can be used as a natural insect repellent in gardens due to its aromatic foliage which may deter certain pests.
    • It can be planted as a companion plant to support ecological biodiversity, attracting beneficial insects like bees and butterflies for pollination.
    • The shrub can be used for low hedging in suburban gardens, providing structure and seasonal interest with its variegated leaves.
    • It can be utilized in sensory gardens, where the plant’s texture and scent contribute to the sensory experience.
    • The plant can serve as a natural windbreak or privacy screen in coastal areas due to its tolerance to sea breezes.
    • It can be used in educational settings such as schools for teaching about native Australian flora and horticultural practices.
    • Due to its dense foliage, it serves as a habitat plant for small birds and other wildlife seeking shelter and food.
    • The shrub's attractive variegated leaves can be used as a unique, aromatic filler in floral arrangements.
    • It can be shaped into topiary forms for decorative purposes in formal gardens.
    • As part of a themed garden, such as a white garden, Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' provides contrasting foliage against darker green plants.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Variegated Mint Bush is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Variegated Mint Bush is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Adaptability - The 'Variegata' variety of Prostanthera ovalifolia has variegated leaves, which can symbolize its ability to adapt to various conditions and still maintain beauty.
    • Diversity - As the variegated version of the plant displays different colors and patterns on its foliage, it can represent the beauty of diversity in life and nature.
    • Protection - Prostanthera, also known as 'Mint Bush' for its minty scent, may be thought to have protective qualities, possibly warding off unwanted insects or negative energies with its aromatic leaves.
    • Resilience - The Mint Bush is known for its hardiness, often symbolizing the ability to endure challenging conditions and bounce back.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Australian Mint Bush prefers to be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which typically means once a week, but this can vary depending on climate and indoor conditions. To water this plant, evenly moisten the soil with water until it begins to drain through the bottom of the pot. You should provide roughly 16 to 32 ounces of water, ensuring that the plant is not left sitting in water which can lead to root rot. In hotter months or in dryer climates, the frequency of watering may increase, and it’s vital that the soil does not completely dry out between watering sessions. During the winter, reduce watering to when the soil feels dry at a depth of a couple of inches.

  • sunLight

    The Australian Mint Bush thrives in bright, indirect sunlight and should be placed in a location where it will receive plenty of light without being exposed to the harsh afternoon sun. An east or west-facing window is ideal, offering the plant morning or late afternoon light which is gentler than the intense midday sun. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, while too little light can cause leggy growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The ideal temperature range for the Australian Mint Bush is between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit, but frost and prolonged exposure to temperatures below freezing can be harmful to the plant. For optimal growth and health, keep the Australian Mint Bush in a spot where the temperature remains consistent and avoids drafts from windows and doors.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Australian Mint Bush is important to maintain its shape, encourage bushy growth, and remove any dead or damaged foliage. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins, cutting back the stems by one-third to one-half. Regular light pruning throughout the growing season can also help to keep the plant looking tidy. Always use clean, sharp pruning shears to make precise cuts.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Australian Mint Bush thrives in well-draining, moderately fertile soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH between 6.0 to 7.0. A good soil mix can be created using equal parts of loam, peat, and sharp sand to ensure proper drainage and aeration.

  • plantRepotting

    The Australian Mint Bush should be repotted approximately every two to three years to replenish the soil and provide room for growth. It's best repotted in spring, just before the onset of the growing season.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The Australian Mint Bush prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable. Aim to maintain humidity around 40-60% for optimal growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright indirect light and moderate humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-drained soil, partial shade to full sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata', commonly known as Variegated Mint Bush, begins its life as a seed which germinates in suitable conditions with adequate warmth and moisture. The seedling emerges with its initial set of leaves and, with sufficient light, water, and nutrients, it develops into a young plant with characteristic variegated foliage. As it matures, the Mint Bush enters a vegetative growth phase where it focuses on leaf and stem development. Flowering typically occurs in spring or early summer, with the plant producing small, aromatic, tubular flowers that attract pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into fruits containing seeds, which, when mature, are dispersed by various means, potentially starting a new life cycle. The plant will continue to grow and may enter a period of dormancy during colder months, resuming growth with the return of favorable conditions.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method for propagating Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata', commonly known as Variegated Mint Bush, is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This is typically done in midsummer to early autumn. To propagate, a cutting of about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) is taken from a healthy, non-flowering stem. The lower leaves are stripped, and the base of the cut is often dipped in a rooting hormone powder or gel to encourage root development. The cutting is then planted in a well-draining soil mix, kept moist, and covered with a plastic bag or placed in a propagator to maintain a humid environment. Rooting usually takes place within a few weeks, after which the plastic can be gradually removed and the new plants can be hardened off before transplanting.