Saturday, August 29, 2009


Alternanthera have a rather large number of descriptive common names, including Joseph’s coat, copperleaf, calico plant, joyweed and parrot leaf, all in reference to the brightly colored leaves.

Alternanthera dentata 'Purple Knight' grows larger and stronger than A. ficoides. Given bright sun and a trellis to climb, it will grow 3 feet tall, as here. Two plants filled the end of this bed. A plant I put in shade is a pale maroon and never branched or spread.

Chartreuse alternanthera hardly grows taller than 6" and requires bright, hot sun for the best color. It does spread to the width of a large dinner plate. The red visible at right falls somewhere between the purple and the chartreuse, sometimes growing as big as a half-bushel basket in rich soil and overwhelming its chartreuse companions. It will turn red in about a month, one of the best fall color plants.


  1. I know Joseph's Coat. Have used it in containers a few times. Your 'Purple Knight' is very impressive.

  2. I like the purple. That looks like something I could use. Purple foliage is always nice.
    Nell, I thought about you today when I was out deadheading and 'scattering seeds'. I am amazed at how many have taken.

  3. The purple got huge. I plan to overwinter some of the red and purple. I may grab a sprig of the green, but I really like the red.

    Perilla is another great sun lover with dark foliage. I like the ruffled leaves too.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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