Growing Purple Heart: How To Care For Setcreasea Pallida

The Setcreasea pallida is an easy perennial plant that blooms with pretty purple flowers. 

Although the plant’s flowers are pretty, they’re not the main reason gardeners love the Setcreasea pallida.

Growing Setcreasea PallidaPin

The plant has beautiful, soft, large purple leaves that look fantastic in a hanging basket. 

Because the stems aren’t rigid, they cascade over the edge of the container as they grow.

Native to Mexico, the plant wasn’t common in households until the 1950s. While it’s a popular houseplant, it also thrives as a groundcover in the right conditions.

Many people confuse the Setcreasea pallida with its close relative, the Tradescantia, but they are different.

The Setcreasea pallida are in the Commelinaceae family, also known as the Spiderwort family.

With its popular purple coloring, it’s no surprise that one of its common names is Purple Spiderwort.

Although the plant is a perennial, it is short-lived. Therefore, after several years the plant may appear leggy and bare.

You may want to think about propagating your plant during its healthy growth period to continue your plant’s life.

Some of the common names of Setcreasea pallida include:

  • Moses in the Basket
  • Purple Heart
  • Purple Queen
  • Purple Spiderwort

Quick Facts On Setcreasea Pallida

  • Family: Commelinaceae
  • Light: Full sun, partial shade
  • Temperature: 50° to 60° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water: Thoroughly in summer; keep the soil moist
  • Fertilizer: Feed every other week
  • Propagation: Leaf, root, or stem cuttings
  • Common Problems: Aphids, leaf browning, or colorless leaves

Setcreasea Pallida Care

What Does The Purple Spiderwort Look Like And How Big Does It Grow?

The purple spiderwort plant is known for its purple coloring-its leaves and flowers.

Most gardeners love this plant because of its long purple leaves, but the purple flowers are also an excellent addition.

Because the plant’s stems are not very strong, the plant will grow vertically for a bit and then tends to trail out of the container.

The trailing stems are why the plant looks best in a hanging basket or a high shelf where the leaves can hang down.

The trailing stems may grow 2′ feet or more in a season.

When Does Purple Spiderwort Flower? Are The Flowers Fragrant?

The Purple Spiderwort plant has small violet blooms at any time of the year.

However, most gardeners don’t purchase this plant for the flowers, as they are relatively insignificant to the beauty of the leaves.

The small flowers have no fragrance.

What Are The Lighting Needs And Temperature Requirements?

If you plan on keeping your Purple Spiderwort plant outside, it thrives on mild temperatures between 50° degrees (in the winter) and 60° degrees (in the summer).

However, it can adapt quickly to room temperature if you plan on growing indoors.

This plant loves light. The more light it receives, the more vibrant the coloring is. 

However, it does not appreciate the direct sun, so it’s a good idea to protect it from direct rays.

You’ll know the plant is not receiving enough sun because the deep purple leaves will lose their vibrant hue.

How And When To Water And Fertilize Purple Spiderwort?

Purple Spiderwort plant needs to be watered thoroughly, but not to the point of having soggy soil. It’s a good idea to keep your soil moist and not let it dry completely.

The Setcreasea pallida need a feeding every other week to keep it healthy and strong.

What Is The Best Soil For Setcreasea Pallida And When Should You Transplant?

The Setcreasea pallida does best in sandy potting soil.

You can repot this plant in the spring with fresh soil or propagate it to make new plants. 

Unfortunately, the Setcreasea pallida is a short-lived plant, only about 4 to 5 years old.

Does Setcreasea Pallida Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?

While Setcreasea Pallida doesn’t require any special maintenance or grooming, you can always trim back the trailing vines if they get too long for your hanging basket or shelf.

In addition, you can pinch back the growing tips if you want bushier growth. 

How To Propagate Purple Heart Setcreasea?

Since this plant is easy to grow but short-lived, many gardeners propagate the Purple Heart. It’s best to propagate in the spring or summer.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Prepare a few pots with sandy potting soil.
  • Water the soil before putting any cuttings in.
  • Take a sharp knife or pruning shears and cut off several stems roughly 3″ to 4″ inches each.
  • It’s best if the cuttings come from the youngest part of the plant.
  • Put 6 to 7 stem cuttings together in one pot to encourage a bushy Purple Heart plant.
  • Ensure that your plant has access to enough sunlight. For example, the purple leaves will become lighter in color if they do not have enough light.

Setcreasea Pallida Pests And Diseases

There is a reason why so many gardeners love this plant. Not only is it easy to grow and maintain, but it’s also easy to propagate.

On top of that, the Purple Spiderwort is relatively resistant to deer, drought, pests, and diseases.

The Purple Spiderwort may have aphids at some point, but spraying with a mix of soap and water usually does the trick. Worst case scenario, an insecticide will fix the problem.

If the plant’s leaves lack color, then you know that it doesn’t have enough light. On the contrary, if the leaf’s edges are brown, ensure the plant isn’t sitting in direct sun.

Suggested Purple Heart Uses

The Purple Heart can be used in various ways for decoration or in a garden.

Here are the most popular uses for the Purple Heart plant:

  • Hanging Baskets
  • Accent
  • Border
  • Patio
  • Slope/Bank
  • Houseplants
  • Rock Garden
  • Mass Planting
  • Small groups

Regardless of where you keep your Purple Heart, ensure it has suitable soil, mild temperatures, and enough sun, and it should thrive!