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Aztec Sweet Herb

Phyla dulcis

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Aztec Sweet Herb (Phyla dulcis) at Roger's Gardens

Aztec Sweet Herb flowers

Aztec Sweet Herb flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  8 inches

Spacing:  4 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  7a

Other Names:  syn. Lippia dulcis, syn. Phyla scaberrima


A trailing perennial that spreads like mint, producing tiny white flower clusters in spring and fall; foliage is dense, green, and toothed; has historically been used as a sweet herb, but this is not recommended because of toxic compounds

Ornamental Features

Aztec Sweet Herb features dainty clusters of white flowers at the ends of the stems from late spring to mid fall. Its attractive serrated oval leaves remain green in color throughout the season.

Landscape Attributes

Aztec Sweet Herb is a dense herbaceous perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading

Aztec Sweet Herb is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Aztec Sweet Herb will grow to be about 8 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 4 feet apart. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years. As an herbaceous perennial, this plant will usually die back to the crown each winter, and will regrow from the base each spring. Be careful not to disturb the crown in late winter when it may not be readily seen!

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Aztec Sweet Herb is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Garden  Groundcover  Container 
Flowers  Foliage Color 
Ornamental Features