How to grow and care for Purple Heart Plant (Tradescantia pallida) Indoors

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Houseplant, Purple Heart Plant, Tradescantia pallida

Botanical name: Tradescantia pallida
Synonym: Setcreasea purpurea, Setcreasea pallida
Family: Commelinaceae

Purple Heart Plant also called Purple Queen bears leaves which are elongated, pointed, slightly hairy, glaucous green, fringed with red or purple.

The Purple Heart flowers are small, sterile, three-petaled and are white, pink or purple. The stems are clearly segmented and roots easily grow from the joints.

Purple Heart Plant is also known for its air cleaning properties. Purple Heart Plant is native to the Gulf Coast of eastern Mexico.

How to Grow Purple Heart Plant (Tradescantia pallida)

Light for Purple Heart Plant

Purple Heart Plant prefers bright, indirect light. Keep Purple Heart Plant away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Purple Heart Plant

Water your Purple Heart Plant thoroughly during the growing season and maintain the soil moist at all times.

Reduce watering your Purple Heart Plant during the cold weather to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal.

Avoid soggy soil for your Purple Heart Plant as it can lead in root-rot. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Purple Heart Plant

Average warmth with a minimum 130C is ideal for your Purple Heart Plant. Protect your Purple Heart Plant from cold draughts.

Humidity for Purple Heart Plant

Purple Heart Plant has no need for high humidity. However, mist the leaves of your Purple Heart Plant or set the pot on a wet pebble tray where the temperatures are too high to raise humudity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Purple Heart Plant

Feed your Purple Heart Plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing period.

Withhold feeding for your Purple Heart Plant during the cold season as the growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to repot Purple Heart Plant

Repot your Purple Heart Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound.

Use a rich, free-draining soil and a pot one size larger for your Purple Heart Plant. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.

How to Prune Purple Heart Plant

Pruning your Purple Heart Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

To control the growth of your Purple Heart Plant and encourage bushyness, pinch the growing tips.

Cut back leggy stems of your Purple Heart Plant at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth.

How to Propagate Purple Heart Plant (Tradescantia pallida)

Purple Heart Plant can be propagated during the growing period by plants divison or from stem-cuttings.

How to propagate Purple Heart Plant by plant division

Take out your Purple Heart Plant from its pot and carefully divide it into sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least one set of leaves.

Pot the Purple Heart Plant sections in individual pots in free-draining soil.

Place the set up in a cool shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Purple Heart Plants to be well established before transplanting.

How to propagate Purple Heart Plant from stem cuttings

Purple Heart Plant stem cuttings root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone.

Take a stem cutting from a healthy Purple Heart Plant of about 4-6 in. and ensure it bears at least two sets of leaves.

Fill your rooting container with free-draining rooting mix to a depth of about 4 in. Lightly moisten the soil.

With a pencil or similar object make a hole that is wider than the diameter of the Purple Heart Plant cutting.

Carefully insert your Purple Heart Plant cutting in the hole made previously to a depth of about 3 in.

Place the set up in a cool shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Purple Heart Plant to be well established before transplanting to individual pots.

Common Problems in Growing Purple Heart Plant (Tradescantia pallida)

  • Why are the leaves on my Purple Heart Plant dull looking?
  • Inadequate light is the cause of dull leaves in your Purple Heart Plant.

    Move your Purple Heart Plant to a brighter spot, as it prefers bright, indirect light. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

  • Why is my Purple Heart Plant growing elongated weak stems (spindly growth)?
  • There are three causes of weak spindly growth in your Purple Heart Plant.

    One cause of elongated weak stems (spindly growth) in your Purple Heart Plant is too little light. Move your Purple Heart Plant to a brighter spot as it need bright, indirect light.

    The second cause of elongated weak stems (spindly growth) in your Purple Heart Plant is underwatering. Maintain the soil moist at all times for your Purple Heart Plant and never allow the soil to dry out completely.

    The third cause of elongated weak stems (spindly growth) in your Purple Heart Plant is inadequate feeding. Feed your Purple Heart Plant once a month with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

  • Why does my Purple Heart Plant have brown and shrivelled leaf tips?
  • The cause of brown and shrivelled leaf tips in your Purple Heart Plant is too dry air especially where the temperatures are too high.

    Mist the leaves of your Purple Heart Plant more regularly or set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

  • Why does my Purple Heart Plant have limp stems, yellow and spotted leaves?
  • Underwatering is the cause of limp stems, yellow and spotted leaves in your Purple Heart Plant.

    Water your Purple Heart Plant liberally during the growing season and maintain the soil moist through out.

  • Which plant diseases attack Purple Heart Plant?
  • The most common plant diseases in Purple Heart Plant are Root-rot and Leaf Spot.

  • Which plant pests attack Purple Heart Plant?
  • Common plant pests in Purple Heart Plant are Mealy Bugs, Aphids and Scale Insects. Isolate the affected plant and treat appropriately. Mist the leaves regularly to reduce infestation by these pests.

  • Is Purple Heart Plant invasive as a weed?
  • Purple Heart Plants are invasive and noxious weeds in many places.

    Purple Heart Plant will successfully grow anywhere and will smoother ground level plants and prevent the natural regeneration of taller species.

    Avoid planting Purple Heart Plants in the ground and dispose only after complete destruction (even an inch of these plants will sprout if not completely destroyed).

Is Purple Heart Plant toxic?

Purple Heart Plant (Tradescantia pallida) is mildly toxic to humans and pets.

If ingested Purple Heart Plant sap causes burning in the mouth, tongue and throat. The sap may also cause skin irritation in sensitive skin; always wear gloves when handling.

Other Related Tradescantia Species

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