The Q&A Archives: Purple Heart Plant

Question: I took a clip of purple heart plant from Florida in November of last year, rooted it,planted it and it flowered for a couple months with tiny pink flowers, then stopped. It is growing beautifully, but why did it stop flowering? It will be a year old in 2 months.

Answer: Purple Heart is Setcreasea pallida. Setcreaseas are more or less succulent, trailing, clambering, or erect with thickish roots and fleshy stems. The lavender to purple flowers are in terminal clusters, each partly enveloped by a pair of leaf bracts.

Purple Heart is a native to dry and semidesert parts of Mexico. In warmer parts of the country the plants never freeze so the planting can become overgrown and "snaky"; in colder climates the plant is root hardy -- the top freezes and is removed but it resprouts from the roots -- and has the attractive purple shoots during the hottest, driest part of the summer. Gardeners who live in warmer climates can enjoy the same beauty from this plant by mowing it off or raking the tops away every winter.

It is a beautiful plant which lives in shade or sun; with little or no water once it becomes established.

If your plant isn't flowering, it may need less water and less fertilizer, more heat or more sunshine. Try moving it to a different location and cutting back on the amount of water and fertilizer you provide.

Hope this helps your plant perk up!

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