It’s pretty, it’s purple and it’s a flower — it’s none other than the beautiful purple heart plant you see in magazines or in your neighbor’s coveted backyard.
As its name implies, this plant is known for its purple and pink leaves and flowers. Despite its gorgeous blooms, many gardeners love the purple heart plant for its foliage, which is vibrant. The purple heart’s leaves and stems appear to be deep royal purple, but also has lighter shades of turquoise-gray. These beautiful shades become darker as the purple heart plant ages.
Considered an easy-to-grow plant, this purple leaf plant adds a pop of color to any garden year after year (as long as you have the right tools and plenty of patience). So if you’re looking to brighten up your garden, here’s what you need to know about the purple heart plant.
What is the Purple Heart Plant?
The purple heart plant (Tradescantia pallid) — also called the purple queen or purple secretia — is a rapid-growing member of the spiderwort family known for its beautiful purple leaves and stems. This plant produces purple and pink flowers, though, as mentioned above, the foliage is more attention-grabbing than the flowers.
This purple flower bush is known for being versatile. Its plants work well as ground cover, adding color to any landscape. It also functions as a trailing border around enclosed garden spaces. Even if you hang it in a basket or plant it in a pot on your patio, this flower will thrive.
The purple heart plant is native to Mexico. Originally, its scientific name was Setcreasea pallida. Later, scientists reclassified the plant under the genus Tradescantia.
What is the Purple Heart Plant Good For?
Apart from sprucing up gardens, the purple heart plant can be used as a houseplant, a trailer in mixed containers or as ground cover. These purple perennial flowers are also best used in masses for in-ground plantings since it quickly spreads.
Its purple leaves also offer a nice contrast to variegated, chartreuse or gold foliage, as well as a great complement to burgundy, light purple or pink blossoms on other plants. For bolder combinations in your garden, pair your purple heart plant with red begonias, orange marigolds or chartreuse coleus.
Other suggestions for harmonious flower combinations with purple or pink-flowered plants include the Mexican petunia, vinca, scaveola, lantana and four o’ clocks.
How to Grow a Purple Heart Plant
The beautiful purple queen plant grows all-year-round, especially when planted outside in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 11. During the winter season, the freezing temperatures could negatively impact the purple heart plant, but its roots will live. Come early spring, the new purple stems will appear.
The first consideration when planting a purple heart plant is the location. Plant your purple flowers in a place with the sun to encourage the growth of foliage. This purple leaf plant will still thrive in areas with partial shade, but the foliage will appear greener with a few touches of purple.
How Do You Take Care of a Purple Heart Plant?
The purple heart plant is a creeping perennial flower since it spreads out quickly. It can grow up to 14 inches tall and 16 inches wide.
If you want to add these purple flowers to your garden, keep in mind that purple heart plants form dense groundcovers, which can prevent the establishment and germination of other plants. However, the purple plant adds tropical and lush ground cover texture to any garden.
To achieve your desired results, pay special attention to the following factors:
Purple heart plants thrive in porous, moist and lightweight soil. Though most commercial potting mixes are OK to use, the ideal soil to use should include compost, perlite and peat moss.
When planting your purple queen plant, make sure that the bottom of the container has drainage holes, especially if you are planting indoors. Too much water in the soil can cause the roots to rot.
Planting your purple flowers under direct sunlight ensures they grow vibrant purple stems and blossoms. As mentioned above, they can still thrive under partial shade, but the stem will appear more green than purple.
Introduce your purple heart plant to brighter conditions over time. However, too much sunlight can burn the foliage so monitor their time under the sun.
In general, the purple heart plant doesn’t need fertilizer, although it’s OK to fertilize it. Always dilute the solution to about half of the fertilizer’s regular strength.
The purple queen plant is a drought-tolerant plant; it doesn’t require too much water. However, avoid letting the plant sit dry for a long time. Water your purple plant when its topsoil feels dry to the touch. You can also water during the blooming season.
Also, younger plants need more moisture than older purple heart plants. Water the younger ones at least once a week.
Humidity and Temperature
The purple queen plant can survive under different climates, but it can freeze easily. To create an ideal growing condition for your plant, maintain an average humidity of 40 to 50 percent. If your house has dry air, invest in a humidifier. If you don’t have any room in your budget for a humidifier, place your purple heart plant in the kitchen or bathroom.
Common Diseases and Pests
The purple heart plant is a tough plant that attracts only snails and caterpillars, especially when planted outdoors. Still, it pays to protect your purple plants. Place a layer of diatomaceous earth, wood chips or gravel to protect the plants from unwanted critters.
Purple Heart FAQs
How Do You Prune Your Purple Heart Plant?
These purple houseplants grow long stems. Due to their incredibly rapid growth rate, they can become spindly and leggy quickly. As the plant grows, pinch off the stem tips to encourage fuller plant growth instead of letting the stems become spindly.
Also, prune your plants during the warmer months, when all of the flowers have bloomed. Use gloves and sharp scissors. When you prune, cut the top half of the stems that are overgrown.
How Do You Pot and Repot Your Purple Heart Plant?
Since the purple heart plant doesn’t grow too large sizes, you can keep it as a houseplant. It doesn’t require regular repotting but you must transfer them to a new container to let the roots push through the drainage holes.
Repot your plants during the spring season since purple heart plants spread out during this season.
How Do You Propagate Your Purple Heart Plant?
The purple queen plant can be propagated best by transplanting, stem cutting and division. Take a cutting from any part of the plant and add the node in the water or into the moist potting mix before you transplant the plant to the planter or ground.
The purple heart plant is a lovely addition to any backyard. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that adds charm to your yard, go purple!