How To Grow Purple Waffle Plant In The Garden: Care Guide

5 Min Read

Purple Waffle plant is a compact, prostrate, evergreen tropical perennial with small, dark green and burgundy leaves and tiny white flowers. It is an easy to grow, low maintenance selection that adds a colorful touch to any room or office.

These Purple Waffle plants give unusual, cascading foliage with a purple hue and metallic sheen when grown in a dish garden or mixed pot. The plant, also called as red ivy or red flame ivy, grows quickly indoors under the growing conditions.

Purple Waffle plant is one of the best decorative plant for reducing indoor air pollution. They are called after their unusual leaves, which curl up in the shape of a waffle. Surprisingly, these leaves shape to increase their overall surface area.

Purple Waffle Plant

Purple Waffle Plant (Strobilanthes alternata), also known as red ivy, red-flame ivy, or waffle plant, is a plant native to Java that comes to the Acanthaceae family. It’s a low-growing plant with purple leaves.

This natural plant is abundant in India, China, Indonesia, and Japan. This plant is endemic to the tropics namely tropical Malaysia and South East Asia.

Purple Waffle is a plant that grows to be about 30 cm long. The plant’s stems are prostrate and purple especially at the nodes. The leaves are hairy and opposite, with a leaf being much larger than other in a pair.

The leaf blades are dark green on top and paler green or purple on bottom. The plant’s blooms are white with purple penciling and sprout from where the leaf joins the stem.

This plant is known by various names, as Cemetery plant, Murikooti, and Vranaropani in Ayurveda. This plant is known as Muriyan pacha in Kerala, India, since it aids in the healing of wounds.

Plant Overview

  • Common Name: Purple waffle plant, red ivy
  • Botanical Name: Hemigraphis alternata
  • Family: Acanthaceae
  • Plant Type: Tender perennial, annual
  • Mature Size: 6 in. tall, 8 in. wide
  • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
  • Soil Type: Moist
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (6.1—6.9)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Flower Color: White (flowers are insignificant)
  • Hardiness Zones: 10 to 11 (USDA)
  • Native Area: Asia

Types of Purple Waffle Plant

Purple Waffle Plant is the most widely cultivated plant species in the Hemigraphis genus. The plant family Acanthaceae includes the genus Hemigraphis. Purple Waffle Plants are native to Asia’s tropical areas and several around 30 species.

Grayish-green leaves with purple tints are typical hemigraphis traits, depending on the species. There are several Purple Waffle Plant varieties to consider:

  • Belgian Waffle: The leaves are green on top with cream edges and a mottled cream and green midriff.
  • Dragon’s Tongue: A striking display of narrow alternating green or purple leaves with wavy edges.
  • Red Flame Ivy: The leaves’ topsides are rich purple and green, with greenish grey undersides. The sheen on both sides is metallic.
  • Snow White: Topsides are green with mottled white and pink overlay while bottom sides are bright magenta-purple.

How To Grow Purple Waffle Plant

Indoors, grow the purple waffle plant in medium to bright light. If the plant does not receive enough light, it may lose its deep purple hue. It may bleach and show signs of sunburn if exposed to direct sunlight. Water the purple waffle plant enough to keep it damp but not wet.

Fertilize the purple waffle plant twice a year to keep it happy. Fertilize more often as needed, especially if growing in a sunny location. Follow the directions on the label for any houseplant fertilizer.

Purple waffle plant does not require pruning because it is a little houseplant, but if the stems become long or scraggly, you may cut it back at any time.


Purple waffle plant has the ability to spread rapidly in warm weather zones where it is planted as a perennial garden plant. They are easily controlled by digging up the offshoots that root themselves around the main plant.

Such pruning is not required in colder climates where the plant is grown as an annual. Pinch off the stems above a leaf node to keep potted plants or indoor houseplants pushing. This causes more offshoots from the pinching point.

The Purple Waffle plant grows swiftly and becomes lanky. A little trimming can go a long way toward preventing it from taking over a corner of the house. These plants can be pruned at any time of the year.


Purple waffle plants grow in a spreading manner, with new roots forming at each growth node as they expand. Plants that spread in this manner are simple to propagate, allowing having an endless number of plants.

Cut the end of an actively growing stem, including at least one node, with a clean, sharp pair of hand pruning shears or scissors. If you pluck a stem that is close to the earth, roots may be forming already.

Plant cutting in a wet potting soil container and keep it damp until notice new growth from cutting. This means the cutting has roots and is ready to be moved into a permanent container or garden area.

Purple Waffle Plant Care

The purple waffle plant is surprisingly easy to grow. Warm temperatures and regular watering are critical aspects for success with this tropical plant. These plants prefer rich, humus soil that may be reinforced with monthly fertilizer as needed.

Purple waffle plant thrives in the garden as a perennial groundcover in warm climates, as a garden annual in colder climates, and as a houseplant in any window. It will cover the soil nicely when combined with a tall specimen.

Purple waffle plant expands slowly by roots itself at leaf nodes in perennial areas. These plants stay small in zones where it thrives as an annual. They make excellent garden pots or hanging baskets.

Soil and Fertilizer

If you’re going to grow a purple waffle plant as an outdoor perennial or annual, give it moist soil and add compost or leaf molds to lighten and enrich it. Purple waffle plants planted as houseplants can be grown in an all-purpose potting soil.

Purple waffle plants thrive in the understory of jungle places rich in nutrients from decaying leaves in their natural habitat. A slow-release 6-12-6 houseplant fertilizer will give plants a constant nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium diet for healthy growth.

Light and Water

The purple waffle plant thrives in partial sunlight outside or bright indirect light indoors. Direct sunlight can cause the color to bleach, and the cold metallic sheen of the leaves to disappear. If not given enough light, the plant’s deep purple hue may fade.

The plants should not be soaked to the point of discharge. Instead, water the plants using a wrung-out sponge to attain this amount of wetness. Add water-absorbing crystals to the soil to assist retain moisture if location is dry, not around to provide proper water.

Temperature and Humidity

Warm temperatures and high humidity levels are required for growing robust purple waffle plants. Bring plants inside before the first frost, or better before the temperature falls below 50 degree Fahrenheit.

Mist waffle plants in a tray filled with stones and water to increase the humidity around them. A steamy bathroom with a window makes a great plant spa for sickly waffle plants that have spent too much time near the heater.

Pests and Diseases

The majority of the problems that affect purple waffle plants occur when they are potted as indoor plants, and they are similar to those that plague many houseplants. The most common pests are scale and whiteflies.

Non-toxic pesticide soaps are the best way to treat these insects. Every seven days, spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves until the infestation is gone.

The most common disease is root rot, which happens when a plant is underwatering or grows in potting soil that absorbs too much moisture. Although fairly pest-resistant, a Waffle plant may attract whiteflies and scale.

Hope you enjoyed reading the Planting guide of Purple Waffle plant. If you think we missed something or have a suggestion, please leave it in the comments section below.

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