Friday, February 26, 2010

Setcreasea pallida ( Purple Heart )

Setcreasea pallida

A sprawling perennial native to Mexico that eventually reaches up to 16 inches in height and up to 4 feet or more in width. Rapid growing; it can spread up to 2 feet per year. Its foliage is purple and narrow up to 7 inches in length. The stems are also deep purple. Purple Heart is evergreen at temperatures above 26 F.
The small rose purple flowers are borne in inconspicuous clusters with large purple bracts.
This plant is very useful for summer landscape bedding displays and looks awesome with white blooming upright flowers such as some Verbenas or Shasta Daisies and also around light blue foliage plants such as the Globe Blue Spruce. In zones 8 to 11 ( 7 if sheltered or against a south facing wall ) it is a perennial that will regrow in spring if cut down by frost. Further north it is an annual planted out each spring. Prefers sun and well drained soil. Very drought tolerant.

* sheltered against a sunny south facing wall; these plants in Clarksville, MD come up on their own every spring. Do not pull this plant in the fall ( just cut it to ground level ) since despite its tropical origins it is suprisingly hardy






* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken on July 17 2012 in Baltimore, MD

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photos taken on Oct 23 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photo taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.


'Kartuz Giant'
Very large foliage, up to 3 times the average size of species.

RELATED PLANTS

Tinantia pringlei ( Speckled Wandering Jew )
A low, spreading groundcover perennial, reaching up to 10 inches x 3 feet in just 3 years. It is native to mountainous northern Mexico at elevations around 3800 feet.
The olive-green leaves are speckled with purple.
Hardy zones 7 to 9 in partial shade.

Tradescantia 'Godzilla'
Purple Heart on steroids, is a bold container or groundcover plant with similar but larger leaves up to 6 x 3 inches.
Root hardy north to zone 8 ( zone 7 on sheltered sites or south facing walls )

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