This ultimate guide on purple heart care will help you to grow and care for purple heart plant. Get to know best practices to care for purple heart plant.
Tradescantia pallida is a species of spiderwort. They are commonly known as Wandering Jew or Walking Jew. Other common names include Purple Heart, Purple secretia, and Purple queen. It is native to the Gulf Eastern Mexico.
Purple Heart is an evergreen perennial plant of scrambling stature. It is distinguished by elongated pointed leaves. This plant is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and borders, as a ground cover, hanging plant.
As a house plant, this plant has been judged exceptionally effective at improving indoor air quality by filtering out volatile organic compounds a class of common pollutants and respiratory irritants an effect known as Phytoremediation.
It is the best plant for beginners to grow. Not only they are gorgeous plants, but they are easy to care for.
You can grow and maintain this plant easily in your home garden by following the instructions given below.
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How To Grow Purple Heart?
To grow purple heart successfully, you need to know growing season, potting mix, propagation methods, etc. This will help to grow purple heart very easily.
You can grow purple heart in tropical to sub tropical climate with ease. However, spring is the best season to propagate purple heart. But you can also propagate purple heart at anytime. Although avoid propagating them during winters.
Selection Of Pot
If you want to grow in a container, choose a container as per the size of seedling. To propagate by cutting use 4-6 inches diameter garden container for developing new seedlings. But purple heart plant spreads rapidly. Soon you will need to transplant it into large rectangular pot for best growth.
You can also grow it in a growing bag. Growing containers should have at least 2 to 4 drainage holes at the bottom. Drainage holes help to remove excess water from the pot.
You can purchase seedlings from the nearest plant nursery or online. It is considered best to propagate it from cutting. Purple heart can grow very easily from cuttings.
If you want to propagate by cutting, simply cut the stem with shoots tip 3-4 inches long just below the node. Choose a cutting stem with at least 3-4 sets of leaves. Take cutting by using a clean sharp knife or by hand.
Wash cutting shoots with dilute broad-spectrum fungicide. Use rooting hormone (IBA) to induce roots in cutting end. However, if you do not have rooting hormone then too you can propagate with ease.
Use potting mix with 45% coco peat + 45 % soil + 5% sand +5% organic compost for propagation through cutting.
Now dip the cutting end in rooting powder and transplant in the potting medium by making a hole in the centre pot. Press the potting mix by hand to firm the cutting ends in potting medium and water your pot gently.
Place your pots under the semi-shade area till roots well develop. Rooting will generally occur in 3-4 weeks.
By Cuttings In Water
Propagation of Purple Heart plant in water is very easy, as easy as taking a cutting and putting it in water. Take a cutting 4 to 6 inches long from the top of the plant. Cut the lower leaves leaving the growing tips intact. Place the cutting ends in a pot of water at 20-27 degree centigrade.
Roots will form in 2-3 weeks. Now you can transplant the cutting in a pot filled with soil mix.
Purple Heart Care
Once you are successful in growing purple heart, then the next step is to care for them. Knowing about sunlight, watering, fertilizers requirements will help you to care for purple heart plant.
Purple heart plant requires bright light to maintain a dark purple colour of the plant. Direct sunlight is fine, but keep your plants protected from the harsh sunlight during summer season.
In summer provide shade to the plant to prevent it from direct sunlight. Long spaces between leaves indicate Purple Heart needs more sunlight. Place your container where it can receive at least 4- 5 hours of direct sunlight or partial shade sunlight.
You can keep your plant indoors in the southeast direction of the living room or hall where at least 2 to 3 hours of indirect sunlight is available to the plants.
Purple Heart plant requires moderate watering to thrive. Keep the soil moist constantly but take care of drainage. In peak summer seasons water the plants twice in a day. Allow the soil to dry out on the surface before next watering to keep the roots healthy.
Keep in mind that water logging in container may infect your roots with fungus and other pests. This plant is highly drought-tolerant once established.
Purple Heart will look tidier and lusher if it gets regular water in summer. But don’t let water stand in the soil for longer duration, it leads to root rot.
To establish your young plants use nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer. Feed NPK (10:10:10) 5gm/lit during spring and summer. Use bone dust one teaspoon every three months. During spring change 2-3 inches topsoil and fill it with fresh potting mix.
Pruning And Repotting
Pruning of purple heart plants should be done in spring or early summer just after it finishes flowering. Dead leaves or branches should be cut back to their origin but overgrown leaves or branches can be trimmed just above a node or leaf set.
Remove up to 2/3rd of the growth of the plant parts to promote a fuller, bushier appearance and encourage blooming. You will have to prune the plant whenever the stems seem outgrown and look untidy.
Repot in spring when you see roots growing through the drainage hole. Move up to a pot only 1-2 inches larger to give it a little room to grow.
Pests & Diseases
Purple Heart plant is not susceptible to diseases. To maintain the plant it is advisable to remove old and dead leaves. Clean leaves with cotton cloth regular intervals if possible.
During extreme summer place it under shade. Provide shelter to this plant from strong winds that may break the fragile stems.
It is an economical plant in the nursery and landscape trade. It is commercialized as an ornamental and use as garden cover in tropical and subtropical regions.
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Benefits Of Purple Heart Plant
Purple Heat is unique. It is an effective air-purifying plant. Purple Heart has shown most effective at removing Volatile Organic Compounds from the air.
It contains two major anthocyanins. The pigments may have potential as food colorants.