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Botanical name: Hemigraphis alternata
Synonym: Hemigraphis colorata
Common names: Purple Waffle Plant, Red Ivy, Red Flame Ivy, Metal Leaf Plant
Hemigraphis alternata commonly called Purple Waffle Plant, Red Flame Ivy, Metal Leaf Plant or Red Ivy is a climbing plant whose leaves are silvery in the shade and metallic purple when grown under some direct sunshine.
Though called an Ivy, it 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.
Purple Waffle Plant is perfect for a hanging basket where the stems can beautifully cascade downwards to display the beauty of the metallic leaves.
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.
Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata) thrives in bright light with some direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soils coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season.
Hemigraphis alternata requires regular pruning to keep it neat, encourage a bushy growth and discourage pest and disease infestations. Repotting is only necessary when it becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Purple Waffle Plant grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight to enhance leaf color.
However, protect or keep Red Ivy away from hot direct sunlight to prevent scorching of the leaves.
Hemigraphis alternata can also grow under a grow light if the natural light is not sufficient.
Water Purple Waffle Plant liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil consistently moist.
Cut down on watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Confirm that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead in root-rot and death of the plant.
Average warmth with a minimum of 150C is ideal for your Purple Waffle Plant. Keep it away from cold draughts as they can cause leaf drop.
Purple Waffle Plant prefers a humid environment inorder to thrive. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity.
Feed Purple Waffle Plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing period for lush growth.
Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.
Repot Red Flame Ivy during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound. Use a pot one size larger than the current one. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.
The best soil for Purple Waffle Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for this plant.
Pruning Purple Waffle Plant involves frequent removal of any dead foliage to keep the plant neat and tidy as well as discourage pest and disease infestations.
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.
Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings.
Take stem cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy Purple Waffle Plant. Ensure each cutting has at least one set of leaves.
Insert the cuttings in moist rooting soil and place in warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.
Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and substantial growth has been observed.
Transfer the rooted cuttings to individual pots and begin routine care. For a fuller Metal Leaf Plant, transfer several cuttings into one pot.
Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata) problems indoors are brought about by cultural faults (improper care) and include brown leaf tips, brown leaves, leaf drop, wilting, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.
Brown leaf tips and edges in Purple Waffle Plant are due to dry air (too low humidity) especially where the temperatures are very high.
To elevate humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or grow the plant in the bathroom ad other moist areas in the home. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Brown-grey dust on the leaves of Purple Waffle Plant is an indication of powdery mildew disease which is prevalent in a warm humid environment.
Do not mist the Red Ivy or wet the foliage. Ensure that there is good air circulation for the plant to discourage the disease infestation. Read on how to treat powdery mildew disease in houseplants.
Purple Waffle Plant curling leaves followed by browning and leaf drop is due to a sudden drop in temperature caused by cold draughts. Keep the plant from cold draughts to maintain a constantly warm room temperature.
Purple Waffle Plant brown and wilting leaves are due to underwatering. Maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season and slightly moist in the cold perion but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Common pests in Purple Waffle are Scale Insects and Whiteflies. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and treat pests in houseplants.
Purple Waffle (Hemigraphis alternata) is non-toxic to humans and pets according to ASPCA. The plants are safe to grow indoors.