California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Ocimum labiatum, Orthosiphon labiatum * Shell Bush

Ocimum labiatum is a medium sized flowering shrub. The Shell Bush grows 4-5 feet tall and wide. Other commmon names include Pink Sage and Pink Cat's Whiskers. This South African plant is often still sold with the old name Orthosiphon labiatum, Ocimum is the genus of culinary basil, not surprisingly Ocimum labiatum has fragrant foliage. Ocimum labiatum flowers in repeated waves of pink flowers from late Spring through Fall. I often give a mid season hard trim to the Shell Bush in late Summer to keep it in scale with the rest of the garden, and then an even harder pruning in Winter. Ocimum labiatum will flower more with some irrigation but has survived several inland valley dry summers during drought years without help. Ocimum labiatum grows in full sun and tolerates significant shade while still flowering. Ocimum labiatum is frost tender at 25°F.

Ocimum labiatum, Orthosiphon labiatum, Shell Bush

Pink flowers and foliage of Ocimum labiatum, Orthosiphon labiatum Shell Bush. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.