How to Grow Purple Waffle Plant (Red Ivy)

While some are born with a green thumb, while others are always mourning their dying plants. For the latter group, it’s important to select the plants that are easy to grow and require little to no after-care.

One such low-maintenance plant is the Purple Waffle plant.  The botanical name is Hemigraphis alternata, common names are purple waffle plant, red ivy plant, red flame ivy, or cemetery plant.

Compared to other indoor plants, the Hemigraphis Alternata plant stands out due to its unique foliage.

Originally from tropical regions of the world, this tropical plant also acts as a great ground cover under taller plants due to its dense purple leaves.

Let’s see how you can nurture a purple waffle plant in your home too.

What is a Purple Waffle Plant?

The purple waffle plant, also known as red flame ivy, cemetery plant or in the horticulture community as a Hemigraphis Alternata, is a popular house plant in multiple varieties.

As the name purple waffle suggests, the plant has leaves with a vibrant purple underside and a crinkly texture similar to a waffle.

red flame ivy plant showing the beautiful leaves (purple waffle plant)

Also regarded as the metal leaf, the rich purple-tinted foliage looks great in a terrarium, outdoor garden, or even next to your bed.

The leaf of this plant has great air-purifying qualities and a preference for bright indirect light, it’s best suited indoors.

Pair it up with other tropical plants to act as a trailing plant or solo in a hanging planter – it always looks good. Best of all, this plant is non-toxic for animals and humans.

There are other varieties of Hemigraphis Alternata such as Snow White, Belgian Waffle, Dragon’s tongue, and Hemigraphis Moonlight.

How to Grow a Purple Waffle Plant?

Even though it looks like an exotic plant, even a novice gardener can grow it with ease. As with other plants, the purple waffle plant needs a little bit of sun and water.

However, there are two primary things to look out for when planting your waffle plant: keeping the soil moist and making sure it’s in a consistent temperature environment.

How to Take Care of Purple Waffle Plant?

Once you have brought the easy-to-grow purple waffle to its new home, you need to be careful about a few things.

Pot or Container to Use

To plant Hemigraphis alternata, get a nice terracotta pot or hanging basket with a drainage hole on the bottom. Fill it up with good quality, well-drained potting soil.

The purple waffle plant can become a bushier plant and can be pretty invasive if it is allowed to grow freely.

By the way, we suggest using these hanging planters. They are self-watering and they look great!

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Soil to Use When Repotting

The pH level of the soil should be between 6.1-6.5 for the purple waffles and should be free from hard lumpy clumps.

If you want to test the pH level of the soil, you’ll need a pH meter. We highly recommend this pH meter as it’s economical and fairly accurate.

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Your plant requires moist soil all year round. The key is to water well but at infrequent intervals. If you allow your plant to sit in soggy soil, it may die.

Gently slide out the grow from the nursery container and loosen up the root using a rake.

If needed, prune extra roots using your pruning shears and place them into your pot.

Fill the sides of the roots with some more all-purpose potting mix and tap it to pack it compact.

They are actively growing plants, so if you see roots coming out of the drainage holes, it’s time to repot them.

This potting soil for houseplants is perfect for purple waffle plants. We have used this before and have had no complaints.

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Light

Keep your purple waffle plant away from direct sun, or it will overdry and make the plant lose its rich purple coloring.

The purple waffle requires bright indirect light and even does well under artificial lights. Make sure it receives enough light, but not directly from the sun.

purple waffle plant resting under sunlight

Water

As mentioned earlier, the purple waffle loves water, it’s best to water them regularly. However, don’t turn the soil soggy.

If the soil feels a bit dry or the leaves start to look droopy, it means your purple waffle plant is thirsty.

Water your plant every day if the air is very dry or if you feel the soil is barely damp 1/4 inch below the surface. Water it enough to ensure moist soil, but don’t soak the plant.

If you don’t have them already, we love these self-watering spikes. You fill them up, stick them in and let it do its job.

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The soil should feel like a properly wrung-out sponge.

Your purple waffles like to be misted, but the root doesn’t like to be drenched in water.

Not only does occasional misting provide humidity to your waffle plants with much-needed moisture, but it also protects them from pests.

Fertilizer

You do not need a monthly feeding schedule, rather you may fertilize your purple waffle plant twice a year – once in spring and then in the summer.

Use plant food but dilute it to half of the recommended strength to avoid burning the roots.

We suggest using a these fertilizer sticks. You stick them in and let them do the work – easy peasy.

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Does a Purple Waffle Plant Bloom?

Yes, the purple waffle plants bloom in Summer and bear small bright white color flowers. The colorful flowers are tubular in shape and quite tiny.

purple waffle plant showing its white flower

However, the true beauty of the purple waffle is in its shiny bright green colored leaves with an intense reddish-purple underside.

How to Propagate Purple Waffle Plant?

The lush green jungle dweller is very easy to propagate, thanks to its fast-growing properties.

If you want to give your friends and family a baby plant, the purple waffle plant could be an ideal choice.

From the stems, when it grows, it spreads at each growth node.

This is a great starting point for new growth. Propagating your purple waffle plant is similar to propagating any houseplant or succulent plant.

  • Examine a healthy stem and try to identify notice roots coming and forming at growth nodes (or stem nodes).
  • From a 4″ to 6″ stem, cut right below a node. Transfer it into another pot and keep the soil moist.
  • The new roots will start to grow from the stems. This is a very good sign of new growth.
  • Water the propagated Hemigraphis alternata regularly so it can actively grow.

If you have the tools to propagate, then you are set. However, if you need a gardening toolset to propagate or just to repot your plant, we suggest using this repotting mat and toolset. We like it because it has all the tools you need, plus a mat to keep your area clean.

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Garden Pests and Diseases of Purple Waffle Plant

Like all plants, your purple waffle is susceptible to occasional pests and diseases.

Most issues can be prevented by adequately watering your plant.

Too much water will cause root rot, while too little can make way for whiteflies or scale insects.

To remove the insects, use a strong stream of water to move them or trim badly damaged leaves.

A simple solution we found is just a little houseplant pest spray once every other week. We use this insect spray but any brand is just as good.

FAQ

Why is my Purple Waffle Turning Brown?

While the purple waffle prefers bright light, direct sun can bleach its leaves, making them appear brown and dry. Change the place of your pot to avoid this scenario.

Is the Purple Waffle Toxic?

The purple waffle is non-toxic for humans and pets around the house. However, it is not advised to consume it.

What Are the Different Varieties of Purple Waffle (Hemigraphis Genus)?

There are around 30 different varieties of hemigraphis alternata.

The most prominent other plant names include the Snow White, Belgian Waffle, Dragon’s tongue, and Hemigraphis Moonlight.

All of these varieties have the same characteristics as the purple waffle plant.

Conclusion

The purple waffle plant is an excellent choice for decorating your interiors.

In addition, purple waffle plants are great air-purifying plants. Since it’s easy to plant hemigraphis alternata, and they do grow fast, it’s an ideal choice for people looking for low-maintenance greenery.

Finally, don’t confuse the purple velvet plant with the purple waffle plant. Two completely different plants.

Just be sure to provide it less light and occasionally water it to enjoy its beauty around your house.

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