Friday, November 30, 2018

National Garden Bureau Recommends Alternanthera 'Purple Prince'

Photo courtesy of National Garden Bureau

You can thank National Garden Bureau for many of the wonderful plants in your garden. Folks at the NGB in cooperation with various growers, test gardens and gardeners are always on the hunt for exciting new introductions. For the next few days, I'm going to highlight some of them.

'Purple Prince' is an exciting new variety of Alternanthera brasiliana. The species also goes by the names A. dentata, Calico Plant, Joy Weed and Joseph's Coat. The genus name refers to its anthers which are aligned in alternating fashion. The anther is that part of the flower stamen which contains the pollen. You probably wouldn't notice it unless you're really interested and care to look closely, but botanists and taxonomists always do. A. brasiliana's homeland is obvious.

Alternanthera is comprised of a couple hundred species of annuals and perennials mostly native to tropical climates. They're usually grown as annuals for their colorful foliage in colder areas. The species can be found growing quite happily year around in warmer areas of Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Here are some growing tips:

Bloom Color: White.

Bloom Time: Repeatedly throughout the growing season.

Foliage: Grown for foliage. Burgundy/purple with rosy undersides.

Height/Spread: 12 inches x 18 inches.

Climate Zones: 10, 11. May be grown as annuals or indoor foliage in colder regions.

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Soil Condition: Well-drained. Do not over-water. pH 6.6 to 7.8

Features: Colorful foliage.

Uses: Massed planting, annual borders, mixed ornamental gardens, container gardens, tropical gardens, indoor foliage.

Comments: 'Purple Prince' was introduced in 2018 by Pan American Seed Company. National Garden Bureau comments, "Purple Prince has beautiful burgundy-purple leaves with ruby-rose undersides. It stands tough in heat and humidity with low water needs. This attractive spreading plant is less vigorous than other Alternanthera, and makes a great companion plant 'filler' in mixed containers. The dark foliage pairs well with many colors, and offers an ideal low-border groundcover in flower beds to set off their blooms."

Have you used Alternanthera in your garden? Tell us about it in the comment section. We'd love to hear from you!

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