Growing Alternanthera (Alternanthera)

Latin Name Pronunciation: all-ter-nan-'ther-ah 

Bright foliage is the big reason for growing these annuals and tender perennials from tropical and semi-tropical regions of Central and South America. The handsome leaves decorate containers and summer borders and make a real splash when used lavishly as a ground cover in frost-free areas. In winter, Alternantheras enjoy sunny windows, and cuttings can be easily propagated to embellish next summer's garden.

Light/Watering: Grown in full sun. Water thoroughly after planting in the garden, and give a new plant a good soaking once a week during summer, unless rainfall is plentiful (more than 1in per week). In containers, keep soil evenly moist; during winter when the plant is not in active growth, water when the top ½ in. of potting mix is dry to the touch.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly from spring through fall. Grow in moist, well-drained soil.

Continuing Care: Pinch tips to keep plant bushy. Treat as an annual in cold climates. Spider mites and wilt may be problems.

For information on planting and care of annuals, click Annuals.