Purple Heart Plant (Tradescantia pallida) Indoor Care, Propagation, Problems with Solutions


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

Tradescantia pallida also goes by the botanical names, Setcreasea purpurea and Setcreasea pallida

The 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 Queen Plant is an easy to grow plant and readily adapts to indoor growing conditions. It is also known for its air cleaning properties.

Purple Heart Plant, Tradescantia pallida

Botanical name: Tradescantia pallida
Synonym: Setcreasea purpurea, Setcreasea pallida
Family: Commelinaceae
Common names: Purple Heart Plant, Purple Queen Plant

Origin

Tradescantia pallida is native to the Gulf Coast of eastern Mexico.

Invasiveness as a weed

Purple Heart Plants are invasive and noxious weeds in many places. They will successfully grow anywhere and will smoother ground level plants and prevent the natural regeneration of taller species.

Avoid planting Purple Queen Plant in the ground and dispose only after complete destruction as even an inch of these plants will sprout if not completely destroyed.

Toxicity

Tradescantia pallida is mildly toxic to humans and pets.

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

Where to Buy

If you are looking to add the gorgeous Purple Heart to your collection, check the out on Etsy.

Tradescantia pallida Care Indoors

Purple Heart Plant (Tradescantia pallida) does best under bright, indirect light, average warmth away from drafts and moderately moist, fertile, free-draining soil coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season.

Tradescantia pallida needs repotting only when extremely pot-bound as it grows best when slightly root-bound.

Regular pruning is needed to keep it neat, to discourage pest and disease infestations, to encourage a bushy, compact growth and to rejuvenate growth. Keep reading for more on the best growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Purple Heart Plant, Tradescantia pallida

Light Requirements

Purple Heart Plant grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.

Rotate the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Purple Queen Plant can also grow under grow light where the natural light is not sufficient. Take a look at these full spectrum grow lights available on Amazon.

Watering

Water Purple Heart Plant thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.

Cut down on watering during the cold weather to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy soil to prevent root-rot and death of the plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth within the range of 18-270C is ideal for Purple Heart Plant. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant.

Keep Purple Queen Plant away from drafts to avoid sudden flactuations in temperatures as they can cause leaf drop and reduced growth.

Purple Heart Plant has no need for high humidity. Moderate air humidity is ideal for this Plant.

However, where the temperatures are too high, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer

Feed Purple Heart Plant with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing period.

Do not feed Purple Queen Plant during the cold season as the growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.

Potting Soil

The best soil for Purple Heart 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. Buy quality multi-purpose potting mix online from Amazon.

Repotting

Repot Purple Heart Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become extremely pot-bound as it grows best when the roots are confined.

Use a pot one size larger than the current one and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot. Check out these Ceramic Pots with Drainage Holes and Saucer on Amazon.

Pruning

Pruning Purple Heart Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as reduce pest and disease infestations.

To control the growth and encourage bushyness, pinch the growing tips. Cutback leggy stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth.

Propagation

Purple Heart Plant (Tradescantia pallida) can be propagated during the growing period by plant divison or from stem-cuttings. Continue reading on these two methods of Purple Heart Plant propagation.

How to propagate Purple Heart Plant by plant division

Water the Purple Heart Plant thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

Take the plant out of its pot and carefully divide it into sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least one set of leaves.

Select a 6 or 8 in. pot and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Fill the pot with free-draining soil and make a hole in the center of the pot. Ensure that the hole is slightly wider than the root base of the section.

Place the section in the previously made hole and lightly firm the soil around the base while taking care not to bury it too deep; maintain the section at the same soil level it was in the previous pot.

Water the soil thoroughly and place the set up in a well-lit, warm place until the new Purple Queen Plant is well established after which you can begin routine care.

How to propagate Purple Heart Plant from stem cuttings

The stem cuttings root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone. Take a stem cutting of about 4-6 in. from a healthy Purple Heart Plant and ensure it bears at least two sets of leaves.

Allow some time for the formation of a protective callus tissue over the cuts of the cuttings to prevent rotting.

Fill the rooting container with free-draining 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 cutting.

Once callused, insert the cutting in the hole made previously to a depth of about 3 in.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Tradescantia pallida to be well established before transplanting to individual pots after which you can begin routine care.

Purple Heart Plant, Tradescantia pallida

Tradescantia pallida Problems with Solutions

Purple Heart Plant (Tradescantia pallida) problems include leggy growth, dull leaves, shrivelled leaf tips, rotting, yellowing leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Pests

Common pests in Purple Heart Plant are Mealy Bugs, Aphids and Scale Insects. Isolate the affected plant and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read more on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.

Diseases

The other common disease in Purple Heart Plant is leaf spot which is promoted by overwet conditions coupled with poor air circulation.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease. To reduce future infestation, improve on ventilation. Read more on how to treat leaf spot in houseplants.

Plant dying

Purple Heart Plant dying is caused by root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil brought about by poor drainage.

Ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

In addition, reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and thus the plant does not require a lot of water. Read more on how to treat root-rot in houseplants.

Dull leaves

Dull leaves in Purple Heart Plant are due to inadequate light (too little light) as it grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

Position the Purple Queen in a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light or instal a grow light where the natural light is not sufficient for the plant.

Leggy growth (elongated stems)

There are three possible causes of leggy growth in Purple Heart Plant. One possible cause of leggy growth is too little light.

Move the Tradescantia pallida to a brighter spot where it will get bright, indirect light inorder to thrive or instal grow lights if you do not have adequate light in your home.

The second cause of leggy growth in Purple Queen Plant is underwatering resulting too little moisture in the soil and thus the plant does not get enough water and nutrients necessary for growth.

Water the plant liberally during the growing season and maintain the soil moderately moist.

Decrease watering in the cold period and keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

The third cause of leggy growth in Tradescantia pallida is inadequate feeding (underfeeding).

Feed the Purple Heart Plant every 2 weeks with a balanced, liquid fertilizer to promote healthy growth.

Brown, shrivelled leaf tips

Brown, shrivelled leaf tips in Purple Heart Plant is due to too dry air especially where the temperatures are too high.

To elevate humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Limp stems, yellow leaves

Limp stems and yellow leaves in Purple Heart Plant are due to underwatering which results in too little moisture in the soil.

Underwatering means that there is not enough water in the soil for the plant to take up. As such, the stems become limp and the leaves begin to die.

Water the Purple Queen Plant thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.

Cut down on watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

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