Botanical name: Hemigraphis alternata
Synonym: Hemigraphis colorata
Purple Waffle also called Red Ivy is a climbing houseplant popular for hanging baskets whose leaves are silvery in the shade and metallic purple when grown under some sunshine. Though called an Ivy is not a True Ivy, it is quite different from a True Ivy in that the growth is limited to 1-2 ft and the 3 in. leaves are oval. Other common names of Purple Waffle are Red flame Ivy and Metal Leaf Plant. Hemigraphis is a genus of perennial plants consisting of about 30 species native to tropical Asia. Apart from Hemigraphis alternata, there are other species that can grow indoors like Hemigraphis exotica which has puckered leaves. These plants are easy to grow even for a beginner.
Purple Waffle prefers bright light or semi-shade with some sun to enhance leaf color. However, protect it from direct hot sunlight to prevent leaf burn. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Purple Waffle liberally during the growing season and keep the soil moist at all times. Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead in root-rot. Learn more on how to water houseplants.
Average warmth with a minimum of 150C is ideal for Purple Waffle. Protect the plant from cold draughts as they can cause leaf drop. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.
Purple Waffle prefers a humid environment. Mist the leaves frequently or set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity.
Feed Purple Waffle with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Learn more on feeding houseplants.
Repot Purple Waffle during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound. Use a rich, free-draining soil and a pot one size larger. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole(s) to prevent waterlogging which can lead to root-rot.
Pruning Purple Waffle involves frequent removal of any dead foliage. Pinch off the growing tips to encourage bushyness and prevent the plant from becoming leggy. Cut back the stems at the beginning of the growing season when they become straggly to rejuvenate growth. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.
Purple Waffle can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings.
Propagating Purple Waffle from stem cuttings
Take stem cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy Purple Waffle. Ensure each cutting has at least one set of leaves. Insert the cuttings in moist rooting soil. Place in warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and substantial growth has been observed. Transfer to individual pots and begin routine care. For a fuller plant plant several cuttings in one pot.
Brown leaf tips and edges in Purple Waffle are due to dry air. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray.
Underwatering Purple Waffle is the cause of brown, wilting leaves. Maintain the soil moist at all times and never allow the soil to dry out completely. Learn more on how to water houseplants.
Leaf curl followed by browning and leaf drop in Purple Waffle is due to a sudden drop in temperature due to cold draughts. Protect the plant from cold draughts.
Brown-grey dust on leaves in Purple Waffle is an indication of Powdery Mildew Disease which is prevalent in a warm humid environment.
Purple Waffle (Hemigraphis alternata) is non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.