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Purple Waffle Plant – Red Ivy

The Purple Waffle plant is a tropical perennial native to Asia. In cooler climates the plant, also known as Red Ivy, is common as an annual garden or container plant. The Purple Waffle plant also makes a great house plant prized for its air-purifying properties.

Purple Waffle Plant Appearance

Red Ivy has an upright and spreading growth habit. The plant reaches a height of 6 inches (15 cm) tall and 8 inches (20.3 cm) wide. The Purple Waffle plant features oval leaves with grayish-green tops that morph into purple at the bottom. Tiny, white blooms appear in summer though it’s the colorful foliage that’s the real eye-catcher.

Purple Waffle Plant Light Requirements

Provide bright, indirect light to enhance the foliage’s purple color. Avoid full sun as too much light will scorch the leaves, as well as fade the color and metallic sheen. The red ivy also does well under artificial light, making it a good choice for offices or homes with limited window space.

Watering Your Red Ivy Plant

Watering Your Red Ivy Plant

Keep the plant’s soil moist, but never soggy. Water when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry just until the moisture runs out the pot’s drainage holes. In dry climates, or for those who forget to water regularly, add water absorbing crystals to the soil or place a layer of mulch on top of the soil. Both will help retain soil moisture.

Soil and Fertilizer Requirements

The Waffle plant is not particular about soil types, so a regular potting soil works well. If the soil drains slowly, add some peat to lighten the soil and improve drainage. Use a slow-release, 6-12-6 NPK fertilizer for optimal growth. If your plant becomes leggy, it’s an early sign of too much fertilizer and feedings need to be decreased.

Temperature and Humidity Levels 

The Purple Waffle plant needs warm temperatures and high humidity. Average household temperatures are adequate but, if you move the plant outdoors, avoid temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit ( 10 Celsius). To increase low humidity, place a tray filled with pebbles and water under the pot’s drip tray. Placing your Red Ivy in a bathroom with a shower or tub also gives the plant the humidity it needs.

Propagating the Waffle Plant

Propagation by cuttings is the easiest method to create new Waffle Plants. Use a sharp pair of shears to cut a healthy stem with at least one node. Plant the cutting in a small pot filled with moistened potting soil, ensuring the node is below the soil’s surface. Place the cutting in indirect sunlight and keep the soil moist until new growth occurs. Once the plant is established, transplant the cutting to a new, larger pot if needed.

Common Pests and Diseases

Common Pests and Diseases
Keep Your Plants Alive

Scale and whiteflies are common pests that infest the Purple Waffle plant. Scale are small, oval insects that leave a sticky honeydew residue after feeding on the plants. Whitefly infestations turn leaves yellow and wilted by also feeding on the Red Ivy. Treat both infestations by using an insecticidal soap as directed.

Root rot is common among Waffle plants that are overwatered or have slow-draining soil. Wilted or yellowing leaves are often initial signs. Reduce watering or improve the plant’s soil texture to avoid further damage. Remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots. Dark and mushy roots indicate rot. Trim away infected roots and repot the plant in a clean pot with fresh soil. 

The Purple Waffle plant features colorful foliage with a unique texture. The plant is happy in most lighting, as long as direct sunlight is avoided. This easy-care house plant is slow-growing, so it will be happy in its pot for a while before needing an upgrade.

Purple Waffle Plant FAQ

Can I Grow My Waffle Plant Outdoors?

The Purple Waffle plant prefers warmth and humidity, therefore it is only recommended to grow this plant, year round, in USDA zones 10 and 11. You may bring it out in cooler climates for the summer, provided temperatures remain above 59 F (10C) for the duration of its time outdoors.

Why Is My Red Ivy Plant Leggy?

Leggy plants are a result of either too much fertilizer, causing the plant to grow too quickly, or not enough pruning. Decrease feedings and pinch back leggy stems just above a stem’s node. This will encourage bushier growth.

Should I Prune My Purple Waffle Plant?

Pruning is recommended for both removal of diseased or dead foliage, as well as promoting fuller growth in leggy or spindly plants.

Is the Waffle Plant Considered Toxic?

No, according to the ASPCA, the plant is considered non-toxic and pet friendly. 

Are There Benefits to Owning a Purple Waffle Plant?

Yes, besides their beauty, Waffle plants are known for their air purifying properties.