It has unique iridescent foliage that is totally an eye-catcher. Plating them in the house would give contrast and a classic look.
Its foliage has positively shimmered in neon purple color, veined with green. The leaves are usually 6 inches long and the stem grows up to three feet.
The plant also bears blue flowers in fall or winter. These flowers thrive after planting year-round, small, tubular, cone-shaped that look similar to Virginia bells But, many gardeners snip off their bud before blooming so that the plant only focuses or uses its energy to grow foliage.
In the cooler region it grows as a summer annual plant and usually succumbs to frost before blooming.
Where to grow
Persian shield performs best in a container indoors or outdoors. They do well in partial shade, excessive sunlight can fade their vibrant foliage. Also, provide them with humidity and moisture, the best way to give extra humidity to the container Persian shield is to put a thin layer of rock in the saucer and balance the pot on the top. Keep the saucer full of water.
How to propagate
The best way to propagate Persian shield is by division or planting small plants.
Take a medium-sized container 6 inches in diameter that has adequate drainage holes in the bottom.
Put some rocks and stones in the bottom of the pot for good air circulation.
Fill the pot with a 50:50 ratio of native soil and potting mix soil.
Sow the plant division horizontally to the soil surface, do not sow them too deep.
Cover the roots or roots clumps with soil so that it is not visible.
Water pot thoroughly till water starts falling from bottom end.
Persian shields do well in drained soil, the pH level of the soil is generally not a concern for them, they grow in a neutral range of soil pH. They can tolerate slightly acid soil pH between 5.5 to 7.5.
When planted or placed in a partial shade spot they will pick up the light and reflect it back off from leaves. If you’re growing them indoors, give them plenty of light to keep their color.
Also keep in mind do not expose in extreme sunlight for longer duration, their foliage color may fade away.
Plant them where they receive early morning light and afternoon shade. In the early morning, the sunlight is lit and gives leaves freshness whereas in the afternoon the sunlight is harsh, the shade will protect them.
Persian shields need more water if you expose them to sunlight for a longer time. Coldwater sometimes causes spots on the leaves, so if you notice spots after rain it’s probably cold water and not any disease.
Always water in the base of the plant, so that foliage of the plant does not get wet. Wet foliage for a long time increases the chances of fungal diseases.
With that, do not overwater. Water thoroughly once a week till waterfalls from the bottom or water when the soil surface looks dry.
If the foliage turns leggy it’s the sign of improper watering practice.
Temperature and humidity
Persian shields need warm temperature and sultry humid air to grow well.
It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11 but more commonly grown as an indoor or summer annual plant in cooler climates.
In zone 9, and during mild winter of 7 and 8 this plant may die back to the ground after frost but remain alive and regrow in the following season.
In the zone 10 and 11, the plant remains evergreen or should I say “Everpurple”. If you live in this region make sure it has a humid condition. Dry air may cause leaves to dry and drop.
Misting is recommended to use water instead of chloride, as chloride may damage the leaves.
Generally, they don’t require any fertilizer if planted in rich soil. However, You may apply light feed at the starting of the season and midway through the summer for continuous growth.
Occasional pruning plays a vital role in the development of the Persian shield, if the plant is left to grow its own then it will become tall, leggy, and floppy.
As Persian shields grow particularly for their foliage and not flowers, you can snip off its buds before blooming and pinch bank leaves occasionally to create a fuller plant.
In early winter, do not pinch foliage, the leaves may look sad at this point. But, control the temptation to pinch because the plant has gone dormant for the rest of the winter.
Pinch back the leaves when the plant starts growing in early spring.
Potting and repotting
If you planted them indoors keep their sized manageable don’t let them reach their mature size.
The best way to accomplish this is to repot younger plants until they become their maximum size and repot every second year.
Pruning the roots of older plants is a way to control size. If the plant becomes leggy, take the stem cutting to regrow a new plant and discard the mother plant.
Pest and diseases
Persian shields are usually not susceptible to fungal diseases or any pests, except water stress and spotting. However, If the plant is drought-stressed, it might get attacked by pests like aphids and whiteflies.
Did I Miss Anything?
Now I’d like to hear from you: which tip from today’s post are you going to try first?
Or maybe, I didn’t mention your favorite plant growing tip. Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.
Before going if you want to grow beautiful flowers in your garden? Then click on these articles also.