The Purple Waffle plant looks about as quirky interesting as its name is! But the best part about owning one of these plants is how easy it is to care for.
Read on for this ultimate care guide on how to grow this beautiful plant.
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The Hemigraphis alternata, otherwise known as the Purple Waffle plant, is an herbaceous perennial plant native to the jungles of southeast Asia.
Hardy to USDA zones 10 & 11, these plants can only be grown in your outdoor garden in a select few locations where the climate is sustainable for this plant. However, they have become a popular houseplant worldwide for its air cleaning capabilities and its low-maintenance care requirements.
These plants earn their name from the green and purple-tinted foliage as well as the crinkly texture of the leaves. Their leaves resemble waffles! The Purple Waffle plant is often used in landscaping for ground cover due to its beautiful leaves and dense growth pattern. These plants are low-growing and only reach a height of 6 to 8 inches tall, though they do have a large spread of 12 to 24 inches wide.
If you have pets, this is all the more reason to own a waffle plant: they are non-toxic to both cats and dogs! So you can feel safe keeping this plant at home and around your furry friends.
Purple Waffle Plant Care
Let’s chat through all of the Waffle Plant care tips. These tips and tricks with help you grow Purple Waffle Plants with ease!
Sun & Light
These plants thrive on bright, indirect light to keep their colors looking vivid. You should aim to give your plant at least six hours of light every day. Be wary of exposing your plants to too much direct light, as this can completely wash out your leaves’ vibrant colors.
The ideal soil for a waffle plant is one that is rich in humus and other orange material, but can still easily drain out excess moisture. A peat-based soil is perfect for this plant as it is organic, retains moisture, yet is airy and allows for drainage.
Steer away from soils that have high amounts of clay, as this is too heavy for the roots of these plants. In terms of pH level, aim for one that is more acidic, between 6.0 to 6.5.
These plants enjoy living in a soil that is consistently moist, but not waterlogged. A good rule of thumbs is to wait until the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry before rehydrating your plant’s soil.
In addition, choosing a container with drainage holes will help keep the soil comfortably moist.
When it comes to fertilizing your plants, you can do this in one of two ways. The first is laying down compost around the base of your plant. Compost is rich in nutrients and replaces traditional fertilizer, while closely replicating the Purple Waffle plant’s natural habitat.
Second, you can opt to use traditional fertilizer during the spring & summer. Select a balanced fertilizer and dilute it halfway. Apply this fertilizer every two weeks, and then completely stop during the fall & winter months.
If the foliage of your plant becomes thin & spindly, then it is possible your plant is over-fertilized. In this case, lower the frequency of your feedings.
Temperature & Humidity
This plant absolutely thrive in warm, humid environments, though they will be very tolerable of your normal household conditions. Please avoid allowing the air temperature in your home to dip below 50° F.
To increase humidity levels in your home, you can opt to use an electric humidifier. Some plant owners keep their plants in their kitchen or bathroom, where the air tends tends to be warmer and wetter to keep their plant comfortable.
Pruning & Maintenance
In warm climates where the Purple Waffle is frequently grown as a perennial, pruning is often required to prevent the spreading of this plant. However, as a houseplant, you may simply have to prune any dead or damaged foliage.
If you want to stifle the growth of this plant and control the size, then I suggest pruning the stems just above the leaf nodes.
Choosing a Container & Repotting
The most important part of choosing a container for your waffle plant is drainage. Using a plant pot with drainage holes is necessary to keep your plant in a comfortable environment and prevent fungal diseases caused by waterlogged soil.
The waffle plant has a moderate growth rate and doesn’t need to be frequently repotted, usually only every other year or when roots begin to grow out from the drainage holes.
When you do repot your Purple Waffle, size up gradually; only select a planter that is a few inches larger than the previous.
How to Propagate Purple Waffle Plants
Because of their spreading growth pattern, the waffle plant is extremely easy to propagate through using stem cuttings. Follow these easy steps to propagate Purple Waffle plants.
- Take a sterile, sharp pair of scissors and cut the end of a healthy section of your waffle plant. This section should be around 5 to 6 inches in length and have at least one node.
- Prepare a plant pot with well-draining potting soil that has been lightly dampened.
- Plant the cut-end of the stem in the soil, the leaves should sit above the surface of the soil to allow for airflow.
- Keep the potting mix consistently damp for the next few weeks while the cutting grows roots and establishes itself.
These plants tend to be susceptible to many of same pests and insects that other houseplants deal with. Two pests in particular include scale and white flies. While finding pests on your houseplants can be stressful, there are some simple solutions you can use to control their presence.
Spraying your plant with an insecticidal soap or a horticultural oil works wonders in controlling pests. Continue to spray your plant once every week until the pests disappear. White flies in particular can be stopped by strategically placing yellow sticky tape around the base of your plant.
Like with many houseplants, the waffle plant is susceptible to fungal diseases that are brought on due to over watering. Over time, excess water gets trapped within the soil and causes the roots to break down. Signs of root rot include dying foliage that turns yellow.
While root rot is deadly, it can be remedied with intensive care. If you suspect your plant has become a victim of root rot, follow these steps:
- Remove your plant from its planter and gently shake away excess dirt. The root system of these plants are extremely sensitive so make sure to take great care when handling your plant.
- Inspect the roots; rotted roots are mushy and black compared to the firm, off-white color of healthy roots.
- Take a sterile pair of scissors and cut off any rotted roots you see.
- Repot your plant using clean, new soil in a planter that has drainage holes
The best way to treat root rot is to prevent it from ever happening in the first place. Always make sure you are properly watering your plant, making sure that the soil is not overloaded with water.
In addition, always make sure your container has unobstructed drainage holes at the bottom to allow unneeded water to easily pass through.
Where to Buy
Find these plants at one of these places:
The waffle plant can get rather large. While they don’t grow tall (only reaching 8 inches in height), they do have quite a spread, which can reach up to 2 feet long. Because of their spread, this is why a waffle plant is often used as ground covers in outdoor gardens.
Yes, with proper care the waffle plant blooms in the summertime. The blooms are infrequent, yet very beautiful. The flower is white in color and has a tubular shape.
Yes, these plants grow in your outdoor garden too, under certain conditions. Please keep in mind that this plant is native to USDA zones 10 and 11, therefore it thrives growing in warm weather.
If you live in a location that is friendly to these plants temperature, light and humidity requirements, then you can comfortably grow them outdoors as a landscape cover.
If you live in a cooler climate, it is best to bring your plants back indoors during the cold season when the temperatures drop below 50° F.
Purple Waffle plants are a fun, interesting, and most importantly, low-maintenance houseplant. Whether you’re growing this plant for your landscaping or outdoor garden, or keeping it in the home as a houseplant, you’ll fall in love with your new plant.
I hope this care guide helps you in growing a happy plant whether it’s a houseplant or in your garden for years to come!
Want more fun colored plants? Check out all of these purple succulent plants!