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ALTERNANTHERA brasiliana

Image of Alternanthera brasiliana

Michael Price

Family

Amaranthaceae

Botanical Name

ALTERNANTHERA brasiliana

Plant Common Name

Alternanthera, Brazilian Joyweed

General Description

Brazilian joyweed is a tender perennial from Mexico, the West Indies, Central America and Brazil. It is grown for its richly colored foliage, dense habit and exceptional heat tolerance. This shrubby species grows taller than most. Its leaves are narrowly oval and deep reddish purple or purplish green. Throughout the year, it produces clover-like clusters of small, white flowers. These are airy and pretty but still play second fiddle to the attractive foliage.

For best foliar color, plant Brazilian joyweed in full to partial sun; bright light and heat improve foliage color. Well-drained but moist soil is ideal. Joyweed does not tolerant periods of drought, so be sure to provide it with even moisture at all times. This species is frost sensitive and can only be grown as an outdoor perennial in subtropical to tropical areas. In temperate areas with cold winters it can be grown as a seasonal annual, houseplant or greenhouse specimen. Pinch or head back the plants to maintain a dense, tidy habit. Joyweed may be grown from seed or cuttings.

Joyweed is a great foliage plant for hot, sunny gardens. It makes an eye-catching groundcover when planted in masses and thrives in containers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-6' / 0.9m - 1.8m

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Purple, Dark Green, Burgundy, Dark Red

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Purple, Dark Green, Burgundy, Dark Red

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Purple, Dark Green, Dark Red

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Purple, Dark Green, Burgundy, Dark Red

  • Bark Color

    Purple

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes