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How to Grow Purple Waffle Plant — Hemigraphis

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Hemisgraphis, Purple Waffle Plant, is an interesting trailing plant with shimmering gray leaves that are puckered, with burgundy-colored undersides.

Hempgraphis is grown mainly for its colorful leaves. The leaves are heart-shaped with scalloped edges. A spike of small white flowers enclosed by large bracts appears in summer.

Hemisgraphis thrives in filtered light at average room temperatures. It is a good choice for a hanging basket.

Hemigraphis is a genus of more than 60 species of tropical plants with trailing branches. Hempgraphis is native to woodland margins in tropical Asia.

Get to know Hemigraphis

  • Plant type: Tropical trailing perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: 10-11
  • Hardiness: 65° to 80°F (18°-27°C) year-round
  • Height and width: Trailing to 24 inches (61cm)
  • Foliage: Leaves on arching or trailing stems are oblong or heart-shaped, about 3 inches (7cm) long and 2 inches (5cm) wide; leaves are deeply puckered or waffled; metallic gray-green or purplish-green on top, dark red underneath.
  • Flowers: Small tubular 5-lobed usually white flowers are inconspicuous
  • Bloom time: Spring to summer
  • Uses: Indoor hanging basket
  • Common name: Purple waffle plant
  • Botanical name: Hemigraphis alternata
  • Family: Acanthaceae
  • Origin: Tropical Asia
Hemigraphis alternata
Hemigraphis alternata

Where to plant Hemigraphis

  • Grow Hemigraphis in filtered light
  • Plant Hemigraphis in standard indoor potting soil.

How to water and feed Hemigraphis

  • Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  • Mist Hemigraphis daily; keep humidity at 45 to 60 percent.
  • Fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer every two weeks but do not fertilize in winter.

Hemigraphis care

  • Pinch off the growing tips to promote a bushy shape.
  • If the plant becomes leggy, it may help to prune it back by half in late winter.
  • Let the plant rest for a short period in winter; reduce watering, keeping the soil barely moist; withhold fertilizer during the rest period.
  • Repot every spring.

Growing Hemigraphis as a houseplant

  • Hemigraphis thrives in bright light; it can also be grown under fluorescent light.
  • The stems can become spindly if the light level is too low.
  • High humidity and an average to warm temperature year-round are needed.
  • The potting mix can be allowed to dry slightly between thorough waterings.
  • Fertilizer should be applied monthly during spring and summer.

Hemigraphis pests and diseases

  • Hemigraphis is rarely bothered by pests.

Hemigraphis propagation

  • Propagate Hemigraphis by cuttings

Hemigraphis varieties to grow

  • H. alternata has ivylike, heart-shaped 3-inch leaves, gray-green above with wine red undersides.
  • H. ‘Exotica’ puts forth elongated oval leaves that are healthy puckered, giving the foliage a “waffled” look. Leaves are purplish-green above, magenta underneath.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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