Plants A to Z

How to Grow Purple Heart Plant

Purpleheart (Tradescantia pallida) gets its name from its distinctive purple stems, which produce lovely violet to pink blossoms. Despite its distinctive blossoms, many gardeners pick this plant for its vivid foliage.

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The stems and upper surfaces of the leaves appear to be a deep royal purple, but they may also have lighter tones of turquoise-gray that darken as the foliage ages. Throughout the warm season, a plant will produce little clusters of three-petaled pink flowers.

The purple heart plant is an easy-to-grow evergreen perennial that may offer a splash of lovely purple color to your garden year after year. Its vigorous root system, on the other hand, helps it spread swiftly as a groundcover.

In the United States, the plant is not considered invasive, although it is in other parts of the world. It is a member of the spiderwort family, consisting of 40 genera and 652 species found in both tropical and temperate environments.

The tradescantia pallida (also known as "purpurea") is a long-jointed, sprawling groundcover plant that is popular as a home plant as well as for outdoor gardens. Allow it to spontaneously resurrect after a frost, or plant it in the spring for summer sprawl.

Care for the Purple Heart

Purpleheart is known as a "creeping perennial" because it tends to spread out as it grows. The plant will grow between 8 and 14 inches tall and 16 inches wide (although it can spread out about 5 feet). When compared to other indoor plants, the purple heart is thought to have a rather fast pace of growth. During the winter, its blossoms will wither.

Known for their ability to form dense groundcovers, purpleheart blooms can make it difficult for other plants to germinate and establish their roots. Potential gardeners should be aware of this. The plants, on the other hand, may provide a rich, tropical touch to any scene. Its downhill trailing stems make it stand out even in border fronts, wall plantings, and rock gardens.


Planting your purple hearts in full sun will help them produce the most brilliant and bold purple stems. In partial shade, the plant can grow, although the stem is more likely to appear green than purple. However, it's preferable to gradually acclimate these plants to brighter settings, as too much direct sunshine at once might cause foliage burn. 


Purple heart plants do best in bright, permeable, and moist soil. Though most commercial potting mixes will suffice, peat moss, perlite, and compost should all be included in the soil. When planting inside, however, make sure there are drainage holes on the bottom of the container or pot, since too much water held by the soil might cause root rot.


Purpleheart is a drought-tolerant plant that doesn't require much irrigation. It's best not to let the plant lie dry for long periods if you want it to flourish well. When the top layer of soil seems dry to the touch, water the plant during its flowering season. Remember that younger plants require more water than adults, and they should be watered at least once a week.

Humidity and Temperature

The purple heart can withstand a wide range of temperatures; however, it is vulnerable to frost. The usual household humidity level of 40 to 50 percent is good for the plant's growth. A humidifier, as well as placing your plant near a bathroom or kitchen, can help if your home has dry air. The leaves will become limp as a result of the dry air.


Although fertilizer can be used, the purple heart plant does not require it in most cases. Just make sure the solution is half as strong as it usually is.


The plant has long stems and can quickly become lanky and spindly because of its rapid growth rate. It would help if you pruned it once all of the flowers have bloomed throughout the summer months. Make sure you're working with sharp scissors and gloves. Attempt to remove the top half of the growing stems.

Purple Heart Propagation

Division, stem cutting, and transplanting are the best ways to reproduce purple hearts. Cut a piece of the plant from any part of the plant. Place the node in moist potting soil or water until it roots, then transfer it to the ground or into a planter.

Purple Heart Potting and Repotting

This plant is usually kept as a houseplant because it does not grow to be huge. It will not require frequent repotting, but if the roots begin to push through the drainage holes on the underside of the pot, it will need to be relocated to a new container. Because it tends to spread out during the growing season, this usually happens in the spring.

Typical Pests and Diseases

When planted outside, this robust plant only attracts caterpillars and snails. To keep the small creatures away, surround the plants with a layer of gravel, wood chips, or diatomaceous earth as a protective barrier.

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Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci, the owner of the website, and senior writer of New York Garden; graduated from Santa Barbara City College – a famous public school in California with many diverse training professions, and she majored in horticulture.