Purple Heart Plant: Take Care of It Like a Pro - Absolute Gardener

Purple Heart Plant: Take Care of It Like a Pro

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Purple Heart Plant

It’s purple. It has a heart shape. And it’s not just your average purple, but the colour of royalty! I’m talking about the purple heart plant, which is also known as Amaranthus caudatus or love-lies-bleeding. The purple heart plant is occasionally mistaken as purple heart tree, may not be found in your typical garden center, but if you’re looking for an exotic and vibrant addition to your landscape that requires very little care, then this tropical beauty might just be your new favourite flower (or at least one of them).

What are Purple Heart Plant?

This purple queen plant is also known as purple velvet plants and they are also known as tradescantia pallida.

Purple heart plants are grown for their purple and orange flowers that bloom during the summer months, from June to October. These blooms grow on short stalks which make them perfect for growing in small spaces because they don’t take up a lot of room around the house.

They grow in a deep purple colour and the leaves have an attractive purple sheen to them. The purple is so dark that it almost appears black. It has bushy growth, but can be pruned into an even more manicured shape if desired. Purple heart tends to like a lot of water.

Purple Heart Plant
Image: via The Spruce

Origins of Purple Heart Plant

The purple heart plant is native to tropical regions. It’s scientific name is Anacampseros rufescens or Eriocea bracteata (depending on which source you consult). They are also known as purple succulent plants, and come from dry slopes in Southern Africa. The purple heart plant was introduced into cultivation in Europe in the 1920s and is now grown worldwide.

The purple heart plant takes its name from the purple line that runs down its center, which can also be seen on a cross-section of the stem. It has rounded leaves that are either green or purple, depending on variations in light exposure and climate conditions. The flowers have pink, purple, and white petals that form a head.

Purple Heart Plant Guide

A purple heart plant is not a weed! Purple Heart plants are actually an exotic species of Madagascar Periwinkle. These plants require more care than your average houseplant and will grow to be about one foot tall in the right conditions, which can take years.


In order for purple heart succulents to thrive they need porous soil that drains well and has proper drainage. They also need to be in full light, with little to no direct sun exposure as purple heart plants are susceptible to burning.

Purple heart plants need a well-draining potting mix that is rich in nutrients. You can find purple heart plant potting mixes at most garden stores and for the best quality, buy organic purple heart plant soil from an online store like Gardeners Supply or Amazon.

If you are looking to save money on purple hearts it’s possible to make purple heart plant soil yourself. All you need is a pot, regular garden dirt or composted mulch that has been added to it for nutrients and perlite mixed in for drainage.


The purple heart plant prefers bright indirect sun. It is a good idea to place it near a window that gets natural light for at least six hours in the day, and you will need to provide shade outside of those hours when direct sunlight strikes your purple heart plant. If this isn’t possible, consider placing its container on an east-facing window for six hours and then move it to a west-facing window. This will give your purple heart plant twelve hours of sun exposure in a day.


In warm weather, purple heart plants need lots of water but can be allowed to dry out between watering. In cool summer months (or winter), the purple heart plant needs less frequent watering, only once a week or so.


Take the purple heart plant outside during periods when temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring it back in before sunset to avoid frostbite or being hit with cold winter winds that could damage its delicate leaves.


A purple heart plant will need more humidity than other types of plants. This is because the purple heart plant has a tendency to become dry and shrivel up when it doesn’t have enough moisture in its environment. You can achieve this by placing your purple heart plant near windows or kitchen/bathroom doors that are open for most of the day.

You can also buy a humidifier to help with the purple heart plant’s needs for humidity. Humidifiers are especially helpful during winter months when windows would be closed all day long which could cause too much dryness in the purple heart plants environment. Especially if you live in an apartment, where it is difficult to open windows on a regular basis.


Purple heart plants can be grown in containers, pots or garden beds. If growing purple heart plant from seeds then the purple heart plant needs to germinate before planting it into soil. You may need a potting mix with a high fertility content. Potting mixes are made of peat moss and other substances that help retain moisture.

Fertilise purple heart plant with a liquid fertilizer every six to eight weeks.


The purple heart plant is toxic and should not be handled by animals or children so make sure to keep it away from reach. If your purple heart gets overgrown, you can trim the leaves with a pair of scissors in order to remove dead foliage that could cause disease in other plants nearby. You’ll want to do this about every month during the growing season.


The purple heart plant is a hardy and easy to care for houseplant. It can easily be grown in low-light conditions, which makes it perfect for those of us who live in apartments or don’t have time to do much gardening. The purple heart requires pruning about once per month during the growing season so that it doesn’t grow out of control.

Propagation and Growth

Purple heart plant does not propagate by seed, but they produce very few seeds. They are propagated by division or cutting due to this genetic oddity. Division is the most common way of creating purple heart plants in a garden setting. The purple heart can be cut into pieces and planted in well draining soil that has been fertilized with compost.


The purple heart plant also needs to be repotted every one to two years, depending on the size of its container. A purple heart plant should not be allowed dry out between watering when it is in the potting mix that you have chosen for your purple heart plant’s new home! Give it lots of water and make sure it has a nice, thick layer of potting mix on top.

Plant Diseases

The purple heart plant is susceptible to a few common diseases, including anthracnose and powdery mildew. Purple heart plants are also sensitive to pest threats like mealy bugs or spider mites.

Treatment for anthracnose – Remove infected leaves with copper fungicide spray

Treatment for powdery mildew – Remove infected leaves with a sulfur spray

Treatment for mealy bugs – Treat purple heart plant with insecticidal soap and allow to air dry

Treatment for spider mites – Wash the purple heart’s foliage off of any infested areas using an ice cube tray filled with water. Let it sit on the purple heart’s leaves for a few minutes and then carefully wipe the purple heart plant’s leaves clean with a paper towel.

Purple Heart Plant
Image: via Plant Care Today

Purple Heart Plant Variegated

Some purple heart plants are variegated purple and white or purple with pink edges. They can reach up to three feet tall in the ground, but for most people they will grow better when confined to pots

How do I know if my purple heart plant is happy? Check your purple heart’s leaves for a nice green color. If they are purple and look stressed, you may need to give your purple heart plant more light or water it a bit more.

Common Issues with Purple Heart Plant

Because purple heart plant is native to the rainforest, it can be sensitive to the change in humidity levels. The best way to combat this issue is by making sure that regular watering and misting of its leaves occurs during dry spells as well as regularly monitoring conditions like temperature and light. In addition, purple heart plants are also very susceptible to spider mite infestation, which can be combatted by using a contact pesticide or insecticide.

To keep purple heart plant happy and healthy it needs to have high humidity, plenty of water, good soil with some organic material mixed in for nutrients, intense light but not too much direct sun (around 40-50% shade) and moderate temperature.

Tips for Keeping Purple Heart Plant Happy

Putting purple heart plant in a room with lots of humidity can help to keep it from drying out and losing its purple colour as well as keeping spider mites away. If the purple heart is placed outside then make sure that there’s plenty of shade. Purple heart plants do not like hot or dry weather, so try to take care of purple heart plant in a cool moist environment.

Purple Heart Plant Frequently Asked Questions

How do you take care of a purple heart plant?

The purple heart plant is a succulent that is native to North Africa. The purple heart plant has thick, spiky leaves with a dark purple hue and can grow up to three feet tall.

Purple Heart Plants thrive in porous soils such as cactus mix or a mixture of potting soil and sand.

Purple Heart Plants are the perfect choice for a low-maintenance, drought tolerant landscape because they can withstand extreme temperatures all year long. In fact, purple heart plants thrive best in hot desert climates where there is little rainfall throughout the

Do Purple Heart plants come back every year?

No, purple heart plants do not come back every year. Purple Heart Plants are perennial and will live for years if they receive enough water each season which is why it’s vital to make sure your purple heart plant has a consistent watering schedule of at least once per week during the summer months.

Can purple heart plant grow indoors?

Yes, purple heart plants can grow indoors and can be ideal for people who live in warm temperate climates. Purple Heart Plants are a great choice for indoor gardening because they thrive on low light conditions such as sunlight from an east or west-facing window.

Is the purple heart plant poisonous?

No, purple heart plants are not poisonous. If you ingest purple heart plant or drink it as tea there may be some side effects like a stomach ache and diarrhea but nothing too serious.

Is purple heart plant poisonous to dogs?

No, purple heart plants are not poisonous to dogs. Dogs can eat purple heart plant safely but it is important that you monitor your pet and make sure they do not ingest too much of the purple heart plant as this may lead to gastric pain and diarrhea.

Is Purple Heart Safe?

Yes, purple heart plants are safe and they emit a lovely citrus fragrance that will fill up your home or office.


The purple heart plant is a succulent that grows purple leaves and can grow up to three feet tall. The purple heart plant thrives best in hot desert climates where there is little rainfall throughout the year, making it perfect for people who live in dry regions or those looking for low-maintenance landscaping options.

Purple Heart Plants are perennial, meaning they will live for years if given enough water which is why it’s important to make sure purple heart plant receives a consistent watering schedule of at least once per week during the summer months.

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