Tradescantia pallida is a delicate evergreen perennial grown as an ornamental for its eye-catching purple foliage. It is native to northeast Mexico, from Tamaulipas to Yucatan. Joseph Nelson Rose gave it the name Setcreasea pallida in 1911, but D.R. Hunt of the Royal Botanic Garden Kew classed it in the genus Tradescantia in 1975. S. pallida or S. purpurea, the former names, are still frequently used.
This herbaceous plant in the Commelinaceae (spiderwort family) is a low-growing trailer that is commonly known as purple heart or purple heart wandering jew (and occasionally “Moses in the Basket, although this usually refers to a different species). It is hardy in zones 7 through 10, but it is easily grown as an annual or houseplant in colder climates.
On thick stalks, dark purple, lance-shaped leaves up to 7 long are produced alternately. The fleshy leaves create a sheath around the stem and are covered in light hairs. The stems are exceedingly delicate and can snap off when brushed or vigorously kicked. It will wither down to the ground in the winter in colder climates, but in the spring it will reappear from the roots. The sprawling plants can extend much farther and grow to a height of nearly a foot.
At the ends of the stems, relatively unnoticeable pink or pale purple blooms with vivid yellow stamens appear from midsummer through fall, as well as intermittently at other seasons. The three petals on these half-inch broad blooms are characteristic for this genus.
Purple heart can be grown as a houseplant, as a ground cover, as a trailer in a variety of containers, or cascading in baskets. They spread rather quickly and work best when planted in large groups in the ground. The purple foliage complements other plants’ pink, light purple, or burgundy blossoms beautifully and contrasts well with their gold, chartreuse, or variegated leaves. For striking combos, use it with complementing hues. scarlet begonias, orange marigolds, or chartreuse coleus.
Try putting it in a container with golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ or other types), Marguerite beautiful sweet potatoes, or light green asparagus fern. Alternately, pair it with coral-colored scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea ‘Coral Nymph’), pink petunias, or lavender or pink verbena. Four o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa), lantana, scaveola, vinca (Catharantheus roseus), and Mexican petunia are other recommendations for plants with pink or purple flowers (Ruellia brittonia).
For best colour development, cultivate purple heart in full sun; plants grown in shadow tend to be more green than purple. Plants can grow more compactly if you pinch them. Plants can withstand drought and grow when neglected, but they also accept constant watering. When you are actively growing, fertilise every month. After flowering, prune plants to keep them from becoming spindly. Reduce watering throughout the winter and hold off on fertilising houseplants or those grown in containers to be kept indoors during the winter. Scales and mealybugs can be a nuisance, but purple heart has few other pests. Some people and dogs may have skin redness and irritation from the juice from the leaves or stems, but this is not a frequent issue.
Simply push a node into the soil or potting mix to get a cutting from any section of the plant to root, and plants can be readily propagated (or place in water until roots develop). This plant can also be grown from seed, however that material is infrequently accessible.
How frequently should purple hearts be watered?
Purple heart is fairly drought-tolerant once planted, but if it receives regular summer water, it will appear cleaner and more lush. From spring till fall, water it once a week with an inch of water. To keep the roots healthy, let the soil surface dry out in between waterings. Increase watering to twice weekly during periods of high heat or drought if the soil is drying out sooner than usual. In the winter, cut back on watering to once every two weeks, and avoid providing any during rainy weather. Purple hearts growing in pots should also be watered if the top layer of soil becomes dry. Fill the pot with water until the extra drains out of the drainage holes. For this plant, always use containers with drainage holes.
How is a purple heart plant cared for indoors?
Height: Up to 2 feet (60 cm) long, upright-growing stems eventually trail over the side of the pot.
Bright light is required to preserve the dark purple hue. While some direct sunlight is acceptable, protect your plant from the intense summer sun. Tradescantia pallida needs more sunshine if the intervals between the leaves are long.
Thoroughly water the plant, then wait 1 inch (2.5 cm) to dry out in between applications of water. When growth is slower in the winter, use less water. Cut off the entire stem at the soil line if it is limp or wilted as this may indicate root rot.
Room humidity is average (around 40 percent relative humidity). The brown tips of leaves indicate dry air. Check out these simple methods for increasing humidity around your indoor plants.
Normal to warm indoor conditions (65–80°F/18–27°C) are ideal for this plant throughout the year. In the winter, purple heart can withstand temperatures as low as 50F/10C. Keep away from air vents and draughts coming in through doors.
Feed your plants weekly in the spring and summer with a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser (such as 10-10-10 NPK).
Take 4 in (10 cm) stem tip cuttings for propagation in the spring or early summer. In moist potting soil, they’ll root with ease.
The USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10 are suitable for Tradescantia pallida, according to the University of Wisconsin.
People that keep their Purple Hearts outdoors must contend with the threat of unexpected frosts, and they typically move their plants indoors during the winter.
Keep in mind that allowing the temperature to go below 59°F (15°C) may slow the plant’s growth and could even be harmful if it is left exposed for an extended period of time.
the Purple Heart Plant’s striking purple leaves. The leaf blade is purple on both the adaxial and abaxial sides.
If the air in your home is unusually dry, you might want to think about buying a humidifier.
Another option is to hang your Purple Heart in the kitchen or bathroom.
Are purple heart plants winter hardy?
The slender, folded leaves develop in dense, spreading clumps that reach a height of about 10 inches from erect to trailing, succulent stems. The pinkish hue of the new shoots is perfectly complemented by tiny, fleeting pink blooms that sporadically grow at the stem tips. In mild regions, purple heart looks beautiful all year long. Frost will inhibit top growth elsewhere, but plants can regrowth from the roots. As far north as USDA Zone 6, purple heart may endure the winter months.
Use it in borders, planters, and hanging baskets for an eye-catching colour accent. Red, yellow, and orange blooms contrast brilliantly with silver foliage, which pairs well with white or pink blossoms. The plant purple heart is ideal for use as a groundcover. You may wish to maintain it in pots or in locations bordered by pavers because it can spread aggressively in areas where it is hardy. Additionally, it looks fantastic indoors.
Culture: Purple heart may tolerate mild shade, but it prefers a location with wet but well-drained soil and full sun. To promote branching, pinch or trim the shoot tips every few weeks. You may simply start new plants from the bits of the stem that were cut off since they take root quickly.
Special remarks: Purple heart is a drought-tolerant plant that enjoys frequent watering.
Does purple heart grow indoors?
A fast-growing member of the spiderwort family with dark purple leaves and long purple stems is the purple heart plant (Tradescantia pallida), also known as purple secretia or purple queen. Although the plants also produce tiny pink and purple flowers, it’s the leaves that really stand out.
Plants with purple hearts have several uses. It works well as a trailing border around rock gardens and other enclosed garden settings, as well as a ground cover to provide a pop of foliage and bloom colour to your landscaping. It will also flourish in a hanging basket indoors or outdoors or in a planter on the patio.
The native Mexican plant known as the purple heart was previously classified under the genus Setcreasea pallida, but a botanist at the Royal Botanic Garden Kew changed its classification to Tradescantia in 1975. The plant is still frequently referred to by its previous names, S. pallida or S. purpurea.
The succulent purple heart is it?
Purple Heart Flower (Setcreasea pale). a gorgeous succulent with persistent leaves through the summer and fall. It is a robust plant that swiftly spreads and is used as a ground cover.
What do you feed a plant with purple hearts?
While the plants are actively growing, fertilise purple heart once a month. Follow the instructions on the label when applying a general-purpose dry or liquid fertiliser. Always follow fertiliser application with some water. Feeding should be reduced throughout the winter, then increased in the spring when new growth starts to show.
Where should a purple heart plant be cut?
Clean scissors should be used to trim a 2- to 4-inch section from the growing tip of your purple heart plant. Anytime during the growth season, cut in the morning or evening to escape the heat of the day. Stems bearing flowers or flower buds should be avoided. A node, which is a little bulge at the junction of a leaf and a stem, should be cut through the stem 1/4 to 1/2 inch below. Purple heart vines are straightforward to spot since they frequently zigzag from node to node. From here, the roots will spread out.
Are plants with purple hearts poisonous?
Purple Heart, also known as Tradescantia pallida, is a wonderful and vibrant houseplant. It comes from Eastern Mexico and can be grown as a trailing plant or as a ground cover. It is ideal for hanging baskets and can trail for up to 2 feet. The leaves are slender and pointed, measuring 2 to 5 inches long. The bottoms of the leaves are a deep purple colour, and the tops vary in colour from green to purple. Along the leaves, they have tiny translucent hairs as well.
Low light is acceptable, but it may cause the leaves to become more green. thrives in indirect light that is medium to bright and has some morning sun.
Before watering, allow the top inch of soil to dry off. To prevent root rot, water till it emerges from the drainage hole gently and evenly.
Home humidity ranges from average to high. When the air is too dry, the tips become brown.
Additional Care: The thin stems and leaves are easily snapped. Keep it in a hanging basket or any other secure location. Trim if it’s becoming too lanky or to encourage bushier growth. Steer clear of draughts.