Live to Plant

Purple Heart Plant Care (Tradescantia Pallida)

Updated: December 30, 2022

What Is Purple Heart Plant?

The purpleheart plant is a species of the spiderwort family, grown for its vibrant purple frondescence. Its petals’ bloom colors range from silvery purple to rich royal purple, making it an ornamental plant.

Origin of the Purple Heart Plant

This herbaceous plant originates its nativity to Northeast Mexico. American variants are widely gaining popularity too because of their lush texture.

What Does Purple Heart Plant Symbolize?

Purple is widely associated with royalty. The purple heart plant signifies inner strength, wealth, and mystery.

Does The Purple Heart Plant Have Any Other Names?

Originally named Setcreasea pallida, its modern name is S.purpurea. The moniker “Moses in The Basket” and Purple Queen also label the purple heart plant.

Different Types of Purple Heart Plants

They include:

  • Tradescantia velutina
  • Setcreasea lanceolota
  • Tradescantia pallida
  • Tradescantia virginiana

Main Uses of Purple Heart Plants

The purple foliage is ideal for decorations in gardens and the house. Purpurea cascades nicely over walls and tabletops. Its blend with Lantana and Bougainvillea improves indoor air quality by filtering out toxic vapors. You can use them as ground cover; however, their invasive tendencies require regular pruning.

This plant has many great uses both indoors and outdoors and can work well in combination with these plants:

[categoryposts cat=”indoor-outdoor-plants”]

How To Prune Purple Heart Plants

Purple plants grow extensively owing to their broad leaves and wandering tendencies. You must prune them, primarily if you use them as a basket plant. Snip through the stem ½ “ below the node. Remove ⅔ of the growth for a wider horizontal appearance. Do this whenever the plant becomes spindly. The pruned foliage waste can be used to propagate new foliage.

Best Soil For Purple Heart Plants

Purpleheart does well in most soils. However, the ideal ground should be lightweight and porous with a pH of 6-8. Peat-based soil mixture such as African violet is perfect for extensive foliage growth. A commercial soil mixture will suffice where composite soil is not available.

How Much Light Do Purple Heart Plants Need?

Different climatic and growth conditions necessitate various lighting sources. Indoor purple plants do best under filtered light conditions. Purple plants sometimes revert to green leaves in late fall but spring back to their deep purple hue during summer. Adequate lighting gives your Tradescantia plant a more vivid purple color.

How Often to Water Purple Heart Plants

Purpleheart stems are succulent and therefore require an inch of water weekly during fall and spring. Increase the frequency to twice a week in extreme heat conditions. A general rule to remember is to water them when the soil dries up. Avoid over-watering since it makes the leaves droopy.

Ideal Temperature Conditions for Purple Heart Plants

Purpleheart is a forgiving plant and survives in all temperature conditions. Optimum temperature levels are around 60° F, with the lower bound at 40° F.

Humidity Conditions for Purple Heart Plants

Tradescantia plant is susceptible to frost, and therefore the ideal humidity conditions are 40 to 50%. Putting your pots in the bathroom or kitchen enhances growth. You can also use a humidifier in your house to balance humidity during summer. Low humidity makes the plant limp.

Best Fertilizer for Purple Heart Plants

General-purpose houseplant fertilizer is the best to use on a growing Purple Heart to maintain its natural lush. Use the 20-20-20 ratio of equal phosphate, potassium, and nitrate. Mix water with twice the amount of fertilizer and spray inside the soil once or twice per month, depending on the extent of growth.

How to Propagate Purple Heart Plants

These plants are generally invasive; however, the need to grow them in other locations in your home may necessitate propagation. Choose healthy branches and cut them about 3” from the node, put your cuttings softly in peat soil mixture in a pot, water it, place in a shade for one week, then expose it to higher light intensity incrementally until it develops a dazzling purple shade. Remember to use gloves to protect your hands.

Growth Rate of Purple Heart Plants

Purpurea has a fast growth rate with a growth projection of up to 14 inches tall and 16 inches wide. They are perennial plants; however, their flowers may die off in the winter because of diminished lighting conditions. It may require an underground root barrier to prevent its invasive roots from weakening the foundations of nearby structures.

Ideal Pot Size for Purple Heart Plants

Purpleheart grows on fleshy stems producing lance-shaped leaves between (20-25) cm high and ½” wide. The extensive wandering plant needs a pot size of 8”. It is archetypical to use a porous pot for adequate soil aeration.

Repotting Tips For Purple Heart Plants

As the verdure grows, and spreads over the mother pot, repotting it is essential. You can use the same propagation techniques for repotting, but use peat moss soil mixed with fertilizer. You should move it up to a larger pot by 2 inches or less. Roots growing through the porous holes are an indication for you to move your plants. Repot during spring when the climate is favorable for fast growth. Repotting is vital to prevent drying up of the foliage as it competes for nutrients.


Are Purple Heart Plants Edible?

It is not yet approved by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board as fit for human consumption, although some communities around the world make salads from the leaves of Tradescantia. It makes for wonderful soup too, however mucilaginous. You should consult with a nutritionist whether the variety of purple hearts you grow is edible or not.

Are Purple Heart Plants Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

Yes. The juice from its leaves may irritate some pets, albeit mildly. However, you should keep the purple plant within a safe distance from your cats and dogs.

Is The Purple Heart Plant Poisonous?

It is not catastrophic poisonous, but it may lead to stomach upsets when you ingest its sap.

How Much Does A Purple Plant Cost?

Botanical gardens have varied prices, but the range is between $11- $20 for a standard 3.5” pot. You can order this at amazon for fast and safe delivery of your plant.