Eeeek! Teucrium scorodonia ‘Crispum’

Teucrium scorodonia 'Crispum'

‘Crispum’ is like a character from a Lifetime movie. You welcome her as a long lost member of the family. She’s cute and tiny and then you take your eye off her and (cue creepy music) she chokes everyone.

Teucrium scorodonia 'Crispum' flowers
Teucrium scorodonia ‘Crispum’ flowers. Each spike is about five inches long and covered with 1/4 inch white flowers.

Teucrium scorodonia ‘Crispum’ despite being a member of the Teucrium family is VERY ill-behaved. Unlike a garden favorite, Teucrium chamaedrys (Germander), this plant is extremely invasive. A year ago, beguiled by her crinkly leaves, fresh green color and relation to my beloved Germander, I brought home a little 4 inch pot.  I’m embarrassed to recall how I gently divided her and fussed over every new leaf. A year later, each little plantlet covered two square feet and had sent out massive amounts of runners.

Roots and runners of Teucrium scorodonia 'Crispum'
Roots and runners of Teucrium scorodonia ‘Crispum.’ After 12 months, each little ‘Crispum’ slip had produced a bucket full of roots and runners.

I’m still not sure what to do about ‘Crispum.’ I love her leaves, delicate flowers, low water needs, and hardiness…but she is choking out other favorites. If you decide to add this plant to your garden, don’t be fooled by her slow start. Once ‘Crispum’ is established, she is difficult to contain.

Teucrium scorodonia Sans-Crispum
I call this spontaneous sport, Teucrium scorodonia ‘Sans-Crispum.’ The leaves are lacking the desirable crinkled edges. While pulling out this ugly duckling I discovered the long runners that exposed this Teuc’s true nature.

I can’t end this post without sharing photos of the “good” Teucrium: Garden Germander, Teucrium chamaedrys. This tough sub-shrub is covered with small, glossy leaves. It’s easy to grow, easy to divide, and takes well to shearing into a low hedge. Late June, it is covered with bright pink flowers that draw in all the bees in the neighborhood.

Teucrium chamaedrys
According to Mountain Valley Growers, “Because it does take well to shearing, Germander is a favorite for knot gardens and parterres in castle yards and showcase gardens throughout the world.” It’s a favorite in my garden too!
Tuecrium chamaedrys 'Germander'
I love the shiny EVERGREEN leaves. Germander is so very pretty.

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