With striking, shiny grayish-green leaves with purple undersides, getting more purple waffle plant feels like the natural thing to do because one can’t get enough of the beauties.
Grown both outdoors and indoors as houseplants, they are easy to maintain and don’t even require pruning when grown outdoors or as annuals in colder climes.
You are guaranteed a healthy plant that would bloom in the summer producing small, white flowers shaped like bells by just keeping it in a warm area and ensuring the soil never dries out.
And talking about the flowers, the lack of fragrance makes the plant perfect for people allergic to certain scents.
There are tons of things to like about it but this article is all about how to grow new purple waffle from the parent plant otherwise known as propagation.
Despite its exotic look, purple waffle plant propagation is quite easy. As you’d find out in a bit, even a newbie can master it after a couple of attempts.
Purple Waffle Plant Propagation
Also known as Red ivy, Red flame ivy, Metal leaf, and Waffle plant, the purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata) is a perennial herbaceous plant with origins in South East Asia.
Though tropical in origin, it can be grown in temperate regions as annual houseplants as long as the indoor temperature is kept warm.
The growing pattern makes it very suitable and pretty easy for propagation.
They grow close to the soil developing into a prostrate, sprawling plant with roots developing and establishing on the nodes. In pots, they grow to a maximum height of just about 8 inches while the garden varieties can get a bit taller.
With nodes that are naturally predisposed to rooting, you shouldn’t face much propagation issues using the stem cuttings.
The only downside, when it comes to propagating the red ivy, is the need for patience.
Thing is, they are slow growers and it might take up to 8 weeks or more for the cuttings to finally sprout roots and begin to produce new growth.
As well as stem cuttings, you can also propagate purple waffle plants using seeds.
For home gardeners and even nurseries, this method is not very practicable because the seeds are hard to get.
The waffle plant stem cuttings can be rooted in potting soil and water. If you are going down the water route, you’d have to transplant the rooted cuttings to complete the process.
That said, rooting the cuttings in soil might also involve transplanting if the initial pot is too small.
Before propagating, here are some essentials to keep in mind:
When to propagate red ivy – The best time to do it is in the growing season at the beginning of spring.
This encourages quicker stem rooting while giving the roots enough time to become established.
How to get your cuttings – Use a sharp pruner or pair of scissors to snip off a stem. The stem cutting must include at least a node.
The nodes are recognizable as bulb-like, whitish swellings along the stem. This is where new roots would sprout.
Before cutting the stems, make sure the cutter’s blades are sterilized. Use rubbing alcohol or dishwasher soap to clean the blades.
Then rinse very well with clean water and allow them to dry.
You can collect as many cuttings as you want. And it’s best to prune close to the soil so you don’t leave bare stems sticking up from the soil.
This can distort the beauty of the parent plant.
Another advantage of cutting that close to the soil is that you can get lucky and obtain cuttings with nodes already growing roots.
That should speed up the propagation process.
Finally, each stem cutting must include leaves at the top.
The right potting soil – waffle plants love light, well-draining soil. Any high-quality potting soil from a garden center would do just fine.
For DIYers, you can create an awesome waffle plant potting soil by simply mixing two parts organic, humus-rich garden soil, 1 part peat moss, and a bit of perlite to promote drainage.
Growth conditions – The plan is to replicate the growing conditions of a matured purple waffle plant. That means bright, indirect light and soil that is kept moist but never soggy to avoid root rot.
You also want a warm environment and high humidity (at least 50%). If the air is dry, you can use a humidifier to rectify it.
You could also set the pot on pebbles or stones in a saucer filled with water.
The pot must not sit directly on the water to avoid soaking the soil and causing root rot.
Evaporating water from the saucer should keep the humidity around the plant at the required levels.
Now that you know how to get your stem cuttings and the ideal purple waffle plant growing conditions, let’s propagate some beautiful red ivy.
How to Propagate Purple Waffle Plant in water
For this method, you’ll need the following materials:
- Stem cuttings
- Jar of water
- Pot or planter with drainage hole(s)
- Potting soil
- Place a cutting or several cuttings in the jar of water with the leaves above the water. Trim leaves lower down the stem leaving only those at the top. Make sure the nodes are completely submerged.
- Place the jar where it is exposed to indirect sunlight. A brightly-lit area is also great.
- Inspect the water weekly. Change the water if it becomes cloudy or murky
- Being slow growers, it might take up 4 weeks before the roots appear and about 8 weeks before they are ready for transplanting. The time though depends on factors like the weather conditions and specie of waffle plant.
- When the roots are about 2 -3 inches long, the cutting is ready for transplanting.
Transplanting the rooted purple waffle plant
- Fill the pot about halfway up with the potting soil.
- Place the rooted stem cutting on the potting soil and add more soil to cover the roots.
- Water the soil and place it in a bright area or expose it to indirect sunlight.
- Remember to ensure that the growing conditions are present so it can grow into a healthy plant
How to Propagate Purple Waffle Plant in Soil
For this method, you’ll need the following:
- Purple waffle stem cuttings
- Potting soil
- Fill the pot with your soil
- Plant the stem cuttings as you would a normal plant. Make sure the leaves are above the pot’s rim.
- Water the soil and allow excess to drain out of the holes at the bottom.
- Place the pot where it can get indirect sunlight while ensuring other growing conditions are provided.
- It would take up to 8 weeks for new growth to show. In the interim, keep watering the soil anytime it appears dry to keep it moist.
- If you started with a small pot, you’d have to transplant the young waffle plant to a bigger pot if the roots start poking out of the drainage holes. Simply follow the transplanting instructions above to do it.
Important Purple Waffle Pant Care Tips
Your transplanted waffle would surely need care and maintenance even after reaching maturity.
As earlier stated, you don’t have to do too much to properly care for purple waffles. But going forward, keep the following care and maintenance tips in mind.
Water –The trick, when it comes to watering waffle plants, is to keep the soil moist always.
That means watering the soil regularly. The watering frequency should dip in winter because it takes longer for the soil to dry out due to a reduction in growth and other plant activities.
Finally, consider using filtered, distilled, or spring water to prevent salts buildup in the soil.
This can hinder plant growth in the long run.
Fertilization – Waffle plants love nutrient-rich soil: a throwback to their origins on the humus-rich floor of rainforests.
Even with high-quality potting soil, more nutrients in the form of 5-10-5 plant food supplements would be welcome.
This high phosphate fertilizer should be diluted to about half its strength and used in the growing season once a month.
And to avoid root burns, apply the fertilizer only when the soil is moist; preferably, immediately after watering the plant.
Pruning – If you live in zones where purple waffles are grown as perennials, pruning might be necessary as they can spread out and overwhelm the pot.
Simply uproot the shoots close to borders to keep the plant compact.
In temperate regions, pruning is unnecessary because they are grown as annuals.
However, whether grown in temperate or warm regions, pinching stems’ tips to keep the plants compact and bushy is also a great maintenance routine.
But this won’t be necessary if the plan is to put them in hanging baskets as some stalks need to grow long to achieve the desired effect.
Repotting – Since purple waffle plants are slow growers, it might take up to 5 years before they outgrow their pot. In any case, you want to keep an eye on the roots.
When the roots start poking out of the drainage holes, it’s time to repot.
Use a pot that is one size larger than the current pot and similar potting soil. Be careful not to break the fragile stems while unpotting the plant though.
To a large extent, purple waffle plant propagation is similar to how most houseplants are propagated.
The stems cuttings, which must include nodes and leaves up top, can be rooted in water or soil.
The downside is that it takes a while before the stem cuttings sprout new roots; so you’ll need tons of patience.
Propagating purple waffle plant is best done in the growing season. You’ll also need to replicate the growing conditions of the matured plant to successfully complete the process.