Setcreasea pallida
Purple Heart

Commelinaceae

Setcreasea pallida

Setcreasea pallida, or Purple Heart, a native of Mexico, is named for the striking purple color of the plant in full sun. The lance shaped leaves will reach 7 inches (17.5 cm) long by 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and are covered with pale hairs. The fleshy stems are first erect, later lying on the ground as a creeping herb, around 16 inches (40 cm) long. They make an attractive basket subject and can be used as an annual groundcover in USDA zone 7.

Blooming Time: In mid summer to early fall, the ½ inch (1.2 cm) pale purple flowers bloom at the ends of major stems.

Culture: Setcreasea pallida do best in full sun to light shade. If grown in lower light levels, the plant tends to lose its purple coloring. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. Even though the plants are drought tolerant, we water them at least twice a week and fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer. After flowering, the plants should be cut back so that they don't get too spindly. During the winter months, water should be restricted to about once a week and fertilizer should be withheld until new growth starts in the spring.

Propagation: Setcreasea pallida is propagated by cutting or from seed.

Setcreasea pallida was featured as Plant of the Week September 24-30, 2004.

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