The soft colors and textures of licorice plant make it a pleasing backdrop for more brightly colored blossoms. This plant has small leaves and thin stems, but it is much tougher than it looks. It will thrive in hot, humid weather and tolerates drought well. Plus, its fuzzy, scented foliage prevent pests from bothering the plant.
Generally, licorice plant comes in silver or white but can also be found in a variety of soft hues of green, gold, or variegated foliage. It actually get its pale coloring from numerous dense hairs that cover all parts of the plant. These hairs are white and give the plant a soft texture, perfect for curious kids (and adults) to touch.
Licorice Plant Care Must-Knows
While it is most commonly grown as an annual, licorice plant is actually a woody tropical perennial. Licorice plant is a fast grower and likes as much sun as it can get. In part shade, plants can become leggy and will need more pruning to keep from looking messy. Shade-grown plants won't look quite as silvery, as the hairs are not as dense when grown in shade. In the heat of the summer, the leaves of this plant may occasionally exude the smell of licorice, hence its common name.
When you are looking for a home for your licorice plant, make sure to plant it in well-drained soil. Licorice plant does not appreciate sitting in too much water. If it does, your plant may begin to rot. Once your plant is established, it is quite drought-tolerant, though it does prefer regular watering.
Because this plant is actually a perennial, it won't bloom unless you live in a tropical environment and are able to overwinter it. If it does bloom, flowers are small and white. In a few of the more tropical locations in the U.S., this plant can reseed itself and become mildly invasive. If that is a problem in your region, make sure to remove the flowers, which aren't very ornamental anyway.
The semi-trailing or cascading growth habit of this plant works well in containers and hanging baskets. Some varieties have a more upright habit, so if your intended use is specifically as a spiller, make sure to check a plant's habit before you purchase. Licorice plant handles pruning well; it is a good idea to give trailing varieties a pinch early on in their growth to encourage good branching.