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 How to grow annuals.