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Purple Waffle Plant

Purple Waffle Plant

Regular price $14.95
Regular price Sale price $14.95
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Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica'


Uses: Houseplant, patio plant, or outdoor plant (in approved tropical zones)

Benefits: Nontoxic to people and pets—perfect and safe for areas that children and pets may access. Air purifier. Super unique foliage. Convenient size. Easy to take care of. 

Zones: 10 - 12

Sun: Bright Indirect (full sun may cause leaf burn)

Life Cycle: Perennial 

Mature Height: 8" (easily trimmed branches grow longer but begin to fall over around this height)

Mature Width: 6' Outdoors (easily trimmed branches trail/hang up to 48" depending on grow situation)

Bloom Season: Intermittent and occasional  


The Purple Waffle Plant is a great houseplant due to its ease of care, its air purification abilities, and the fact that it's nontoxic to both pets and people.

It gets its name from its beautiful, hallmark metallic gray/green foliage with a purple underside.

A smaller plant than many, Purple Waffle Plant only grows to a height of around 8" and is easily trimmed.

It's the perfect pick to brighten up a variety of locations, doing best with bright, indirect light and weekly watering.


Purple Waffle Plant Care

How to Water a Purple Waffle Plant

We suggest watering Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' one to two times a week, attempting to keep the soil slightly moist at all times.

This plant does not do well in dry soil, although prolonged exposure to saturated soil is also unideal.

When watering, it's best to saturate its soil to the point of drainage, but not allow the plant to sit in standing water.

Avoid watering too frequently as too much watering will result in the yellowing of leaves, eventually followed by root rot should the wet conditions persist.

Purple Waffle Plant is not highly drought resistant and too little water will result in the browning of leaves and stems, eventually followed by death if exposure to dry conditions persists.

How Much Humidity Does Purple Waffle Plant Like?

Hemigraphis alternata does best in humid conditions when the RH is above 50%.

It loves a daily misting, especially in the morning.

If your Purple Waffle Plant is kept in dryer areas, we suggest supplementing humidity through the use of a pebble tray or humidifier.

How Much Sun Does a Purple Waffle Plant Need?

Avoid placing Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' in areas that receive extended periods of direct sunlight. 

The best lighting is provided by bright indirect light as direct light could fade the desirable metallic sheen and cause leaf burn.

Not enough light will often cause the distinct purple color on the bottom side of the leaves to fade, dull, or even transition into more of a greenish/gray color.

Purple Waffle Plants often do best in areas where they receive a slight amount of morning sun, followed by exposure to bright indirect sun and afternoon shade. 

What is the Best Temperature for a Purple Waffle Plant?

Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' are considered tropical and need warmer temperatures (above 50°F) to do well.

They will likely die after any exposure to frost. 

It's best to keep this plant in temperatures above 55°F to ensure its beauty and the integrity of its growth; however the optimal temperature range of this houseplant is between 65°F and 85°F.

Although it's a great houseplant, it's also known to thrive outdoors year round in USDA zones 10-12.

Some people plant it outdoors in cooler (9 or less) USDA zones and treat it like an annual.

What is the Best Soil for a Purple Waffle Plant?

We suggest a rich, well draining soil for use with our Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica'.

The key is to get a soil that holds consistent moisture, but still drains well enough as to not allow the roots to stay wet. 

Our potting soil is a great option to use when potting a Purple Waffle Plant.

What is the Best Fertilization Method for a Purple Waffle Plant?

We suggest fertilizing your Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' on a regular basis between mid-spring and late-fall.

Winter fertilization may be required on a less intense basis if your plant is exposed to stronger light and higher temperatures.

We suggest fertilizing your Purple Waffle Plant by using a liquid fertilizer, slow release fertilizer, or fish emulsion.

Be careful not to over-fertilize.

We have found that monthly applications of diluted/weak fertilizer do better for this plant than less frequent, stronger fertilizations.  

How to Trim and Maintain a Purple Waffle Plant

Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' are somewhat slow growing and don't really need too much trimming or maintenance.

You'll likely never have to trim the tops of the plant due to the fact that it doesn't really grow over 8" tall, although its horizontal shoots have the capacity to reach lengths up to 24".

As such, unless your Purple Waffle Plant is being used in a hanging basket or similar application, it's often necessary to trim horizontal shoots to keep this plant looking its best. 

All trimming should be done using a sharp and clean set of pruning shears to ensure a clean cut and to mitigate the spread of disease. 

We suggest lightly fertilizing after pruning.

The growth of a bushy plant can be encouraged by trimming or pinching new growth from the tips of the stems, which will signal the plant to sprout lower growth.

How to Repot a Purple Waffle Plant

Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' likes having a little bit of room to spread out and does not do well rootbound.

Considering the fact that it's a slower growing plant, you'll likely only have to repot every 3-5 years. When doing so, you'll want to select a new pot with at least 2" of room to grow on each side of the plant and use a rich potting medium with good porosity to help maintain the moist soil conditions that this plant loves.

You can repot your Purple Waffle Plant by placing the entire root ball into a larger pot then softly breaking up its root structure around the edges of its root ball prior to surrounding it with soil.

How to Propagate a Purple Waffle Plant

The propagation of Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' is very easily accomplished due to the fact that it's a prostrate and is always attempting to regrow itself via its horizontal shoots.

Because of its easy propagation, it's rarely grown from seed.

The easiest shoots to propagate are the ones that have already sprouted roots of their own or have already sprouted a new plant. Once identified, use a clean pair of garden scissors to snip the shoot off of the mother plant and gently separate the shoot from its soil and repot it in its own pot.

It's best to provide propagation cuttings with ample light, but to keep them out of strong, direct sun.

It's also advisable that the cutting be watered regularly and kept in soil slightly wetter than normally advisable for the species until there is definitive and slightly established new growth emerging from the cutting, at which point soil moisture should be reduced to slightly moist. 


What Size are the Purple Waffle Plants for Sale Online?

The Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' that we sell online will ship in a greenhouse grade grow pot. Each plant will be appropriately sized for its pot. Please contact us with any specific questions.

How Large Do Purple Waffle Plants Grow?

Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' are known to be perfect for a desk or table due to the fact that they are slow to spread and only grow to heights of 6" to 8".

Their width is typically about 1/3 of their height; however, they spread through the growth of horizontal shoots which have the potential to grow up to 24" in length.

Additional Information

Common Names of Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica'

  • Purple Waffle Plant

  • Red Ivy

  • Red Flame Ivy

  • Waffle Plant

  • Hemigraphis

A General Description of Purple Waffle Plant

The Purple Waffle Plant, whose botanical name is Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica', is a type of tropical perennial herb from Asia.

The genus name Hemigraphis comes from the Greek words hemi, which means half, and graphis, which means brush—which makes sense since the Purple Waffle Plant, growing to a max height of about 8", is about 1/2 the size of a "brush" type plant when fully grown. 

It's a prostrate plant, which means that as it grows outward it will develop horizontal shoots that will likely root themselves into the ground and contribute to its growth. Because of its style of growth, it's easily used as a beautiful and effective ground cover in USDA zones 10-11 where the temperatures stay above 55°F throughout the year. It also makes a wonderful and beautiful houseplant, patio plant, or outdoor annual. Many people have been known to use it in hanging baskets as its horizontal shoots can hang out the sides of the basket and grow to lengths of several feet.

Purple Waffle Plant likely gets its name from, and can definitely be identified by its vibrant metallic, rippled foliage that's silvery gray and green on the top and purple on the bottom. Its leaf color and sheen are dependent on the amount of light that it receives. Too much direct light and its leaves may burn, bleach, or at least lose their metallic sheen. Too little light and Purple Waffle might not be so purple after all. In addition to its awesome leaves, it will develop lovely, small, five-lobed, bell-shaped white flowers throughout the summer months and often longer if conditions are ideal. 

Purple Waffle is quite functional as a houseplant because of its excellent air purifying capabilities and the fact that it grows slower than most plantsmeaning less pruning and trimming. It's also not too picky of a plant in terms of watering, just try to keep things kind of moist and you should be good to go. Remember, you can easily modify your soil to help it retain water for longer periods of time by using water-absorbing crystals (such as vermiculite) and mixing them into your potting medium, or by simply purchasing low-porosity potting soil from a reputable supply center.

The History of Purple Waffle Plant

The Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica' is a member of the family of plants known as Acanthaceae. Native to Java (Indonesia) where it is used as a natural medicine for dysentery, the Red Flame Ivy (another common name of Purple Waffle Plant) has gained its modern level of distribution and popularity primarily through its use as an ornamental plant. It often thrives outdoors in tropical climates, and has actually been listed as an environmental weed in parts of tropical Australia.

The name alternata means alternating, and was likely chosen for this species due to its leaves which are one color on the top and another color on the bottom. 

Toxicity and Risks of Purple Waffle Plant

Purple Waffle Plant is not known to be toxic to people or pets. 

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Shipping Details

  • Free shipping on orders over $199*! We normally only ship our live plants on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays to help prevent weekend layovers. There is a processing period of up to three days on any order placed. Please check out our shipping policy or contact us with any other questions.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Marge J.

Beautiful plant shipped safely as well

Dayna R.

This plant just arrived yesterday. The plant arrivedvwith alot of dead leaves and i hope that was because of shipping. I like the look of the plant so I am hoping it will regrow and become fuller over time.

Donald O.

Awesome plants and great service….. thank you.

Laurel S.

Very nice and was packed great. Love it <3

Luciano Z.

Receiving the plant was like getting a gift, it was packaged very very well /// the plant is in lovely shape, I've had it for about 3 weeks now --- as healthy as the day it arrived. 100% recommend shopping here!