A lot of plants only offer a few weeks of color during the spring and summer months. If you're looking for something that will add color all year round, you need to consider adding a Persian shield plant or Strobilanthes dyerianus to your garden.
Persian shield plants are incredibly easy to grow, and they offer vibrant colors that will light up any garden or landscape. Follow these simple steps, and you'll be able to enjoy this beautiful plant in no time.
What is the Persian Shield Plant?
Also known as the royal purple plant, the Persian shield plant is a tropical fast-growing plant that loves humidity and warm temperatures. It’s a sub-shrub that is evergreen in hot climates; hence make one of the best evergreen flowering plants to grow.
It has dark green, iridescent leaves with metallic, light purple stripes. You can't compare the pale purple flowers of the Persian shield plant to the beautiful leaves. Royal purple plant can be planted outdoors but does better as a potted, indoor plant.
Persian Shield Plant Care
If your Persian shield plant blooms, it's usually in fall or winter. When you grow it as an annual, the Persian shield may not have time to set buds and flowers, but you'll not miss them with the colorful foliage. When planted indoors, they will bloom in the winter, but you may need to pinch them off and develop a fuller plant instead.
The Persian shield plant prefers moist soil and shade during the hottest parts of the summer. Persian shields aren't usually susceptible to fungus disease or other problems with the foliage except for water stress and spotting.
A Persian shield plant needs bright indirect light to maintain the vibrant colors in its leaves. If you plant your Persian shield plant in partial shade, it will pick up the light and reflect it off its leaves. If you keep it indoors, it will need bright light to keep its vibrant color. When there is not enough light, the plant will become thin and leggy.
Persian shield plants require constant moisture, so give them more shade when there is less water. Persian shields will quickly droop if it doesn't get adequate water, but it typically bounces back quickly after a drink. Spotting on the leaves may occur if cold water splashes on them. Water less in the fall and winter when the plant is not actively growing.
A well-drained potting soil is best for growing a Persian shield. The soil should be kept moist but not soggy. If you're using garden soil, mix in some organic matter to help with drainage. Persian shields grow well in the neutral range of soil pH and can tolerate slightly acidic soil. Test the soil pH and ensure it's between 5.5 to 7.5.
Do not fertilize your Persian shield plant during the fall and winter. Feed the plant in spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. Feed it every two weeks with a liquid plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.
If you grow it in rich soil with plenty of moisture, your Persian shield will need light feeding at the start of the season and again about midway through the summer. Fertilization is very important care, especially for potted plants.
Temperature and Humidity
The Persian shield requires warm temperatures and sultry humid air. It's hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11 but is more commonly grown indoors or as a summer annual in cooler climates. In zone 9 and during mild winters in USDA zones 7 and 8, the Persian shield may die back to the ground after frost but remain alive and regrow the following season.
If growing indoors, make sure there is high humidity because leaves dry up and fall off in low humidity. You can mist the leaves to increase humidity, but use rain water or distilled water. Misting your plant with water containing chemicals such as chlorine or water that has passed through a softener puts marks on the leaves. If the air in your home is very dry, consider placing your Persian shield plant on a wet pebble tray. Ensure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water.
Potting and Repotting Royal Purple Plant
When indoors in a container, keep your plant in a manageable size instead of letting it grow to its full capacity. You can accomplish this by pinching back plants, repotting younger plants annually until they reach their maximum size, then repot every other year.
Root prune older plants as a way of controlling their size. If your plant becomes leggy, take stem tip cuttings and discard the mother plant.
Propagating Persian Shield Plant
Persian shield plants can be started from seeds or cuttings. Seeds require warm conditions from 55 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. You can easily start the plants with softwood cuttings. Take the cuttings from the top of healthy stems just below a leaf node. Applying some bottom heat will keep the plants from rotting before they establish roots. Change water daily. Spring and early summer are the best times to take cuttings.
Pruning Persian Shield Plant
Since Persian shield is grown for its foliage and its flowers are not particularly showy, many gardeners like to pinch back the leaves to create a fuller plant. If you leave it to grow on its own, it can get tall, leggy, and floppy. Avoid removing the fading leaves that develop immediately after flowering.
The leaves may look sad at this point, but it's because the plant has gone dormant for the remainder of the winter. Do not pinch back at this point to avoid disturbing dormancy. Resume pinching when the plant starts growing in earnest in the spring.
Pests and Diseases
Tiny aphids feed on the liquids inside the plant leaves, sucking out the juices and leaving the foliage distorted, curled, or withered. However, you can treat these aphids by hosing down any infested plant, as the spurt of water from the garden hose will knock these tiny bugs off your plant.
Spider mites may appear on the underside of the plant leaves where mites have set up shop. To remedy this, remove the webbing as the mites might use it to travel from plant to plant and prevent treatments from reaching the insects.
The larvae of fungus gnats may feed on the roots of your plant, leading to stunted growth, or even leaves might droop or fall from the plant. Reduce the risk of you5r plant hosting fungus gnats by reducing extra moisture, as they're attracted to overly wet soil or any standing water that may be near your plants.
FAQs on How to Grow Persian Shield Plant
How do you maintain the purple color of the Persian shield plant?
Light is all this plant needs to maintain its purple hue, so keep it in an area with plenty of natural light. If you grow it indoors, give it bright light to maintain its purple color.
Is Persian shield easy to grow?
Yes, Persian shield or Strobilanthes dyerianus is an easy-to-grow plant that tolerates a wide range of growing conditions. It's drought tolerant, so it doesn't require a lot of water, and it can grow in full sun or partial shade.
Final Thought on How to Grow Persian Shield Plant
As you can see, the Persian shield is an easy-to-grow plant that tolerates a wide range of growing conditions. So, if you're looking for an easy-to-care-for plant to add some color to your garden, Persian shield is a great option.