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 color 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, fertilize every month. After flowering, prune plants to keep them from becoming spindly. Reduce watering throughout the winter and hold off on fertilizing 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.
Do plants with purple hearts return each year?
When grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 711, the colorful purple heart plant is an evergreen perennial with a year-round growing season. In northern locations, it will wither away during the winter months due to the freezing weather, but the roots will survive, and new purple stems will emerge in the early spring. In warm areas, blooming occurs from late spring to early October.
Plant purple hearts where there is direct sunlight to promote vibrant purple foliage. Even in partial shade, the plant will continue to develop, but since there won’t be as much light, it will appear greener with less purple hints. When cultivating the purple heart as a container plant indoors or outdoors, pick a container with drainage holes and use all-purpose potting soil.
Is the purple heart plant an outdoor or interior plant?
Purple heart (Setcreasea pallida), sometimes known as purple queen, is a beautiful plant with lance-shaped, fluffy, purple leaves that can grow up to 7 inches long. The stems develop straight up before slanting over to produce a cascading impression. In the summer and fall, the stems’ tips bear vivid purple flowers. The purple heart grows well in hanging baskets, patio containers, and as a ground cover. Growing zones 9 through 11 of the United States Department of Agriculture are suited for planting purple hearts. It is frequently grown inside in colder climates.
Are plants with purple hearts poisonous?
The purple stems of the purple heart (Tradescantia pallida), which bear delicate little clusters of violet to pink flowers, are well named. Although this fast-growing plant has distinctive blooms, many gardeners choose it for its vivid leaves instead. Although the stems and upper leaf surfaces appear to be a deep royal purple color, they may also contain lighter turquoise-gray hues that get darker as the foliage ages. This sprawling, long-jointed shrub is the perfect groundcover for anyone who enjoys purple landscaping.
It is raised as an evergreen perennial in warm regions, giving your yard an annual splash of stunning purple color. Tradescantia pallida is grown as an annual in colder areas. As a houseplant, it is also commonly advertised for sale.
Purple heart is harmful to humans and toxic to pets, producing contact dermatitis, same like other Tradescantia species.
How does purple heart appear during the winter?
Hello Neil What is this extremely gorgeous groundcover that I recently seen at a mall? It isn’t simply a yearly, is it?
Purpleheart, then (Setcreasea pallida). Its relatives include the wandering Jews hanging basket plants from the tropics. In most winters, purpleheart can withstand the cold, but it does with the first freeze, when it dies down to the ground. As the fall temperature cools, its electrifying, mid-lavender/purple color just gets stronger. It can withstand heat and drought pretty well. lovely plant
Yes. For several months, they reliably bloom, but they do best in the heat. Early to mid-fall sees a decline in their bloom production as a result of the lowering temperatures. When that happens, it’s time to remove them and put in pansies or other winter-appropriate flowers.
Hello Neil My banana trees expanded by more than 6 feet this year, reaching a height of more than 12 feet. Do you have any idea why they might have become that tall?
Nitrogen and water are the two factors that will contribute most to the vigorous growth of plants, including bananas. It appears that this year, you truly catered to their demands.
Hello Neil I have a sizable Philodendron split-leaf (not the climbing type). It’s been in my possession for a while, but I’m wondering if I may bring it inside for the winter. Approximately 6 feet wide. Is it trimmable?
No. Starting to remove healthy leaves will seriously set it back, and when it tries to grow back the following spring, it will be lanky and ugly. A big one that is about 30 years old is mine. For the winter, I roll it into my greenhouse on a plant dolly. The plant is then pulled up into a tight vase form using soft rope after I have inserted three rather large (1-inch) stakes into the container. For the winter, you might be able to accomplish something similar (hopefully more appealing). Alternately, mount it on casters and move it into and out of the garage in response to the weather. In the case of Philodendron selloum, a light frost (to 31 or 32 degrees) won’t harm the plant. I choose not to take that chance, though. Good fortune.
Hello Neil Does the soil produce powdery mildew? My zinnias, crape myrtles, and other plants are bothered by it. My lawn has a lot of toadstools, too.
Almost everywhere you look in gardens and landscapes in Texas, there is powdery mildew. Although it would be hard to completely remove all of the waste from your environment, it overwinter on plant detritus on the soil surface. When possible, choose resistant kinds, and in the nights, keep the plant’s foliage dry. Apply a labeled fungicide if powdery mildew and other illnesses continue to appear. For the record, Dr. Don Egolf of the United States National Arboretum chose the crape myrtle types with Native American Indian tribal names (Muskogee, Tuscarora, Natchez, etc.) primarily because of their resistance to this prevalent fungus. Zinnias of more recent varieties are also resistant. Consult a Texas Master Certified Nursery Professional for advice.
Hello Neil Ever notice how the cedar and elm bark is rubbed and then peeled in strings? Two branches have presumably died as a result of bark loss. Up in the tree, there appear to be significant sections where the bark has been removed. What might have caused damage of that magnitude?
It sounds like damage from squirrels. They are known for dying limbs and pealing off the bark, most notably in pecan and live oak trees, though other species are also affected. In the summer, you’ll notice 3-foot regions high up in pecan and live oak trees when all of the leaves abruptly turn brown. The bark has been peeled away when you look closely, generally with binoculars, as the rodents honed their teeth. Even if some larger beetles will score some bark insignificantly, they are not my top suspicions. I advise hiring a qualified arborist to assess the situation on the spot.
Hello Neil How much chilly weather can a cape honeysuckle withstand? Do they have to spend the winter indoors?
Tecomaria capensis, or cape honeysuckle, can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees. It might endure temperatures a little lower if it is mulched, covered, or in a protected area. If not, either leave it in a pot and move it into a greenhouse or sunroom, or if it will be exposed to colder weather, replace it every spring.
Hello Neil How likely is it that I’ll be able to successfully overwinter a few wax begonia plants indoors? I would hate to see all 25 of them freeze because I have them in patio pots.
If you have extremely bright light indoors, ideally direct sunlight, your plants should be alright. Naturally, a greenhouse would be ideal. Cut them back by 30 to 50% to encourage new growth. If you want to start with new, smaller plants, you can use the trimmings as cuttings.
Can purple heart endure the winter?
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 color 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.
Purple Hearts last how long?
Tender perennial Tradescantia pallida ‘Purple Heart’ is frequently grown as a houseplant or as an annual. With purple stems that trail, violet-purple foliage, and summer-blooming pink flowers. It usually only grows once a year, however in protected regions or during mild winters, it might. For outdoor planting, choose a spot with full sun to moderate shade and well-drained, high-organic soil that maintains a consistent moisture level. The best color development will result from direct sunlight. Plants grown in shaded areas have a tendency to lean more green. Every flower has a one-day lifespan. As an ornamental ground cover or bedding plant, it has recently been grown outside. It thrives longer than most bedding plants and has a propensity to spread aggressively in beds.
Use it in hanging baskets or pots, or as an edging plant in rock gardens or borders. Back off to promote bushiness. coveted for its vibrant and distinctive purple stems, leaves, and quick growth. It is frequently planted indoors as a groundcover or in hanging baskets for interiorscapes.
Insects, diseases, and other plant issues: There aren’t any major issues, however aphids, vine weevils, scale insects, and mealybugs are drawn to the plants. Caterpillars, slugs, and snails can eat outside plants.
Although it is uncommon, the juice from the leaves and stems can occasionally make people’s and dogs’ skin red and irritated.