Whether the flowers of the cleft lip really look like butterflies, as can be read in many descriptions, we would like to leave to your imagination. The piece of garden in question looks magical in any case when it is full of flowering lips. In addition, Mazus reptans is also pleasantly easy to care for and will be a guest in your garden for many years if the location suits it. Which can be on the bank of the pond if a few special features are taken into account, but does not necessarily have to be there.

Location requirements and talents

The cleft lip comes from Asia, from the Himalaya region. That’s not really an accurate statement, but at least gives hope that it will cope well with our outside temperatures for most of the year.

It is the same. Lip mouths feel at home in our latitudes and in our gardens, in sunny and partially shaded locations. In Asia, the cleft lip has long been valued as an unproblematic ground cover. The blue flowering midget does not grow higher than about 10 cm and needs little attention in a suitable location.

Suitable locations can be found in many places in the garden: in the rock garden, around the bed, as ground cover on all surfaces under such loosely growing trees that some bright light can still get through. The willing-growing little lip can even be used in good locations as a green area that can be walked on carefully (instead of a lawn). Strong Mazus reptans should also be more or less sturdy.

The low stature makes up for the cleft lip by growing persistently and forming cushions. A single plant can grow up to 30 cm in diameter.

Also on the bank of a pond, although there are a few things to consider when choosing such a location.

Damp earth, but no wet feet

Lip mouths thrive best in fairly moist soil, but don’t want to be permanently wet. That’s why they can give a pond bank a romantic touch with their small flowers, but they have to be planted at the edge of the pond. They have no place in the shallow water zone of the pond if you want to enjoy them for longer.

Rather, the planting position should be selected with a view to the water level so that the soil for the cleft lip begins 3 to 10 cm above the water level. This soil should provide the cleft lip with a balanced supply of nutrients. It has no special requirements for the pH value.

Since the cleft lip can spread even in areas with translucent shade, it usually thrives uncritically in the area of ​​the pond bank that lies under the trees shading the pond.

Plant properly

If the lips are to border a garden pond, they are placed at a suitable height on the embankment, e.g. B. on a shore mat.

Although Mazus reptans is hardy, it is not as hardy in every cultivar and in every environment as the dealer might promise.

On a pond bank, the roots of the cleft lip would probably freeze if they were exposed to the cold without protection in the porous bond of a bank mat. Therefore, the roots of a thick layer of substrate should penetrate well, which will protect them from the cold in winter. If they are to be placed on a bank mat, this is only possible with prior cultivation. This is how you succeed in cultivating a bank carpet with lips:

  • You need boxes that are as large as possible, depending on the number of lip mouths
  • These are first laid out with foil and then with garden fleece
  • Let the garden fleece hang over on all sides so that you can later lift the plant carpet out of the box
  • On top of these layers there is medium nutrient content substrate, about 4 cm
  • The substrate is moistened, the lips are planted at hand length distance
  • The boxes are placed in a sheltered location and kept moist
  • Now the lip muzzles are allowed to take root for 6 weeks to 2 months
  • When the carpet of plants makes a dense and strong impression, it is lifted out of the box and placed on the bank mat
  • If a lot of substrate fell out during transplanting, you should immediately sprinkle it between the plants again

The alternative is to put the Mazus reptans in the shallow water zone against all instructions. They should survive that for a season. But they will hardly survive the winter there.

If you plant the cleft lip normally in garden soil, the same distance applies, always in groups with gaps of 15, 20 cm, which the cleft lip closes up quite quickly.

Lip mouths can be planted in autumn and spring. If a planting for the pond bank is first brought forward, you should start with it in the spring, otherwise quite freshly transplanted plants go into the winter cold. Mazus reptans with an unknown rearing location (= uncertain winter hardiness) should always be planted in spring. Then they can take root well over the summer before the first winter approaches.


Freshly planted perennials with such delicate and juicy foliage as lipped lips are only too happy to be nibbled on by snails. Many pages could be written on snail protection, just enough here to show that you can probably protect the cleft lip with a row of cans of tuna (liverwurst, candy) open on both sides as well as with copper rings. Snails cannot crawl over these rings either.

On the other hand, slug pellets should not be used on the bank of the pond, as this could get into the water and damage the creatures in the pond or poison the water.

watering and fertilizing

Lip mouths need water in summer; if they sit in a well-damp soil at the edge of the pond, but not by you.

Only if it is really very dry for a longer period of time in summer should you water it additionally.

Lip mouths need nutrients just as much, but not necessarily from you. If they sit in a normally nutrient-rich soil, they are better cared for than in a mountain meadow in the Himalayas.

If you have planted the cleft lips in a very nutrient-poor soil, they certainly don’t mind a little compost or fertilizer, especially just before flowering.

Blossom and (blossom) pruning

This flowering starts in May or June and with a little help from you can last all summer. If you always cut away the already withered flowers just before the seeds ripen, they will start the reproduction attempt again by shooting more flowers. However, you also cut away the seeds, which can then only ripen on the following flower.

You can let the lip mouths go into winter with full foliage, good winter protection for the plant. It is then cut before the new shoots appear in spring. However, you can also use scissors to tidy up hardy lipped mouths in autumn, the brown winter foliage is not terribly attractive.


The cleft lip is also known as the “crawling macaw,” and it lives up to that name. In good locations, it even creeps fairly quickly. Mazus reptans grows partly decumbent and can even root at the leaf nodes. So the carpet will expand fairly quickly.

If that still isn’t fast enough for you, or you need lip muzzles for another location, you can propagate the plants by division. You don’t even need to dig up Mazus reptans, but simply prick off a piece with the roots with a sharp spade and replant it in the new location.


Mazus reptans has its home in the Himalayas, which at first sounds like snow-covered peaks and thus good frost hardiness of the cleft lip. “Himalaya” means “the abode of snow” in Sanskrit. But the Himalayan range is not exactly tiny. It stretches from the southern border of Afghanistan and Pakistan through India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet to Myanmar in the south. That’s a few thousand kilometers.

In the vertical it looks very similar, and this is associated with an even greater variance in climate than with the extent of the mountain range in the horizontal: near the ground tropical monsoon climate, at 3000 m moderate monsoon climate, at 5000 to 6000 m high alpine or polar climate. So it depends a bit on where exactly in the Himalayan region the cleft lip developed.

This is probably why there are many different opinions in the local literature on the winter hardiness of a cleft lip in German regions. Sometimes it is described as extremely frost hardy and should tolerate temperatures below -30 °C, sometimes it is sensitive to frost and needs winter protection. From the genus, only the New Zealand Mazus radicans is said to be able to survive German winters.

A look at the international hardiness zones for plants says USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8. These are exactly all hardiness zones that occur in Germany. When deciding this question, however, the cultivar is certainly also important, and then also on where exactly your cleft lip developed. In a mass greenhouse in warm Holland or in the soil of a nearby nursery.

varieties and species

There are two varieties of the cleft lip Mazus reptans:

  • Mazus reptans in the original form, with lavender colored flowers dotted with white and yellow inside
  • Mazus reptans ‘Albus’, bright white flowers with a touch of yellow on the lower lip and slightly lighter green foliage

The genus Mazus consists of around 30 to 35 species, some of which are very similar in culture and to the cleft lip. Mazus radicans, which comes from New Zealand and is said to tolerate even more cold than the cleft lip, should be recommended for gardens in very rough locations.

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