In 2008 we were lucky enough to travel to Australia to study the native flora in particular the genus Prostanthera. This trip was part funded by the Royal Horticultural Society. We travelled through New South Wales and into Victoria. We were able to visit plant collections as well as seeing the plants growing in the wild. This was a fantastic opportunity and allowed us to increase our knowledge and understanding of the growing and cultivation of these fantastic aromatic plants. This knowledge will greatly help us in obtaining a national collection of the genus Prostanthera.

The genus Prostanthera is a diverse group of plants from family Labiatae. The common name for the group is Australian mint bushes and all of them have aromatic foliage to a greater or lesser degree. They all share the same shape flower most of which are pale pink and blue tone. With the exception of Prostanthera aspalathoides which has orange or yellow flowers. Their growth habits range from the small and compact Prostanthera cuneata (alpine mint bush) which is one of the most hardy species to the Prostanthera lasianthos which has the largest leaves of the genus and can grow to 2m tall in this country (much taller in their native environment) it benefits from pruning after flowering to maintain a manageable size.

Cultivation of the Prostanthera varies slightly for each species but in general they like a free draining soil with plenty of sun. They will grow just as happily in a pot as in the ground. They all benefit greatly from being pruned annually after they have flowered by about 1/3 rd of the stem length. All the species which we grow have shown to be hardy to -7 C but some established plants will tolerate much lower than this.