Pseuderanthemum alatum, or Chocolate Plant, is a low growing herb native to Mexico and Central America. The coppery-brown leaves with silver blotches along the midrib are broadly ovate with winged petioles. Leaves will reach up to 6 inches (15 cm) long by 4.5 inches (11 cm) wide. Plants only reach 10 inches (25 cm) tall. In USDA zone 7, they are treated as annuals.
Blooming Time: From early summer to fall, the plants are adorned with purple flowers on 18-inch (45 cm) tall racemes. Individual flowers are up to 1.5 inches (4 cm) across. Very showy!
Culture: Pseuderanthemum alatum need partial shade to full shade with a moist well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mixture consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plants are watered and then allowed to dry slightly, but they are never allowed to dry completely. Plants are fertilized on a weekly basis using a balanced fertilizer diluted to ˝ the strength recommended on the label. During the winter months, water is restricted to about once a week and the plants are not fertilized during this period.
Propagation: Pseuderanthemum alatum are propagated by cutting or by seed in the spring. Seeds germinate in 21-25 days at 55-60°F (13-16°C).
Pseuderanthemum alatum was featured as Plant of the Week August 15-21, 2003.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.