I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a critic of them.
I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master.
I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit.
Reginald Farrer, In a Yorkshire Garden, 1909

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cat's whiskers (misai kucing)

Growing tall
This, as most gardening lovers may know, is a herb plant that has white flowers with long 'whiskers', which is perhaps where it earned its name. In Malay, its called "misai kucing", a literal translation of the english name.

I don't have the flowers to show here as the plant has stopped flowering. And I do not know if the flowers are edible or not but the leaves are. Its a native plant and can easily be found in homes. It is also easily grown through stem cuttings. If I remember correctly, I bought this plant when it was still young in a small pot at a local floral fest.

Container gardening
I have since changed pots twice. And even then the roots have quickly filled the entire pot. The roots are tiny but they spread rapidly and because of that are always thirsty for water. The pot restricts the growth of the plant in a way. And I often find leaves turning brownish at their tips and then dying off. Wonder if its due to lack of water, lack of fertilizer or lack of space in the pot.

Medicinal leaves
However, I don't have any major problems with the plant. No leaf miners, mealy bugs, fungus, or scales. It seems to be doing fine on its own. Relatively low maintenance I would say. I haven't harvested the leaves yet since I bought it like a year or more ago but am thinking of doing so. Perhaps the trimming will cause some of the roots to die off and thus free up some space inside the soil...

The most common use of the leaves is to make tea. Nowadays, there's even tea packets sold in local supermarkets. But if you have used the plant in some other ways, please do share your experiences here. I have heard and read on the net about the medicinal values of the leaves - from helping with kidney stone problem to soothing coughs and rheumatic pains - but have no idea how effective they really are.


  1. Hi Ben,
    I've never heard of that plant. It sounds interesting. I grow a number of kinds of herbs in pots, though.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Sue. I have most of my herbs in pots too. Its easier to manage especially those that tend to spread rapidly.

  2. Hi Ben: My plant flowers all the time, and I usually encourage flowering by snipping off the flowers and more flowers appear! I use it for getting rid of UTI - a women's problem mostly. You can read it here: http://mayakirana.com/2011/07/misai-kucing-herb-for-urinary-tract-infection/

    I dry them up (stalks, flowers and leaves) and use them as a tea which is a typical use. I also sometimes use them fresh, just a few fresh leaves steeped in hot water.


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