Grow Guide – Purple Hearts

Growing Guide for Purple Hearts (Tradescantia pallida)

Purple Hearts, scientifically known as Tradescantia pallida, are stunning and low-maintenance plants that are popular for their attractive purple foliage and ease of care. They can be grown in gardens, hanging baskets, or as indoor houseplants. In this complete growing guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to cultivate and care for Purple Hearts, including propagation and winter care.

Purple Hearts were one of the very first plants I learned how to propagate, many, many years ago. You can simply break off a stem and stick it in the ground. A few days later, it will have fully rooted. This excited me so much as a young adult. Especially as a single mom trying to beautify my landscape on a very tight budget.

1. Planting Purple Hearts:

a. Choosing the Right Location:

  • Purple Hearts thrive in well-draining soil and prefer full sun to partial shade. They are fairly versatile which makes them great for various garden settings.

b. Soil Preparation:

  • Prepare the soil by adding organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, to improve drainage and fertility. This will help your Purple Hearts grow vigorously. (Check out our DIY Soil Mix for a great way to build your existing soil while saving money in the process)

c. Planting:

  • Plant Purple Hearts in spring or early summer. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball and place the plant in the hole. Make sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
  • Space multiple plants about 12 to 18 inches apart to allow for proper air circulation and growth.

2. Watering:

  • Purple Hearts prefer moderately moist soil. Water them regularly but ensure the soil dries out between watering to prevent root rot.
  • Water less frequently during the winter months, as the plant’s growth slows down.

3. Fertilizing:

4. Pruning:

  • Prune your Purple Hearts as needed to maintain their shape and size. This can also encourage bushier growth and prevent legginess. When pruning simply push the clippings in to the surrounding soil and they will take root in a few days.

5. Propagation:

One of the great things about Purple Hearts is their ease of propagation. You can create new plants from stem cuttings in just a few simple steps:

This hanging basket is one I created strictly from stem cuttings from our office garden.

a. Selection:

  • Select a healthy stem with several leaves, preferably without flowers.

b. Cuttings:

  • Cut the stem into sections, each with at least one node (the point where leaves or stems attach).

c. Prevent Rotting:

  • Allow the cuttings to air dry for a few hours to prevent rotting.

d. Planting:

  • Plant the cuttings in a well-draining potting mix or directly in the garden soil. Place them 1-2 inches deep.

e. Soil Moisture:

  • Keep the soil consistently moist until the cuttings establish roots, usually in a few weeks. After that, treat them as mature plants.

6. Winter Care:

  • Purple Hearts are not frost-tolerant, so if you live in a region with cold winters, you’ll need to provide some winter care to keep your plants healthy.
  • Before the first frost, dig up outdoor Purple Hearts and transplant them into pots. Trim the foliage back to about 6 inches.
  • Place the potted plants indoors in a bright location where they can receive indirect sunlight. Maintain a cooler temperature, around 50-60°F (10-15°C), during the winter.
  • Water sparingly during the winter months, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
  • In the spring, when the risk of frost has passed, you can transplant your Purple Hearts back into the garden.


By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the beautiful foliage and easy care of Purple Hearts in your garden or as indoor houseplants. Their striking purple color and low-maintenance nature make them a great addition to any plant collection.


I hope you have enjoyed this grow guide for purple hearts. Let me know in the comments if you have grown purple hearts or if you are planning to.


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