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Alternanthera dentata

Phonetic Spelling
al-ter-NAN-ther-a den-TAY-ta
Description

Joseph's coat is a tropical perennial typically grown as an annual in the Amaranthaceae (buckwheat) family native to the West Indies and South America.  Known for its bright colorful foliage that ranges from burgundy, white, pink, to chartreuse, or purple.  The genus name comes from the Latin words alternans meaning alternating and anthera meaning anther. Alternate anthers in the genus are barren.  Specific epithet dentata means toothed referring to the toothed leaves.  The common name Joseph's coat is a biblical reference to Joephis many colored coat because of the striking leaves on this plant.

Plant in rich, consistently moist, and well-drained soil and this plant will reach 6 to 12 inches high.  The best leaf color appears when in full sun.  It has a spreaching habit so pinch stem ends to promote more compact growth. This plant is showy from spring until the first frost.

Excellent choice for containers on a patio, in the front of an annual border or bedding plants in a cottage garden.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Brazilian Red Hots', 'Little Ruby', Purple Knight, Snow Queen
Tags:
#purple#full sun tolerant#small spaces#annuals#white flowers#purple leaves#green flowers#showy leaves#cottage garden#moist soil#well-drained soil#tropical perennials#burgundy leaves#bushy#burgundy#border front#patio planting#partial shade tolerant#tropical feel#container plant#drought tolerant annual
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Brazilian Red Hots', 'Little Ruby', Purple Knight, Snow Queen
Tags:
#purple#full sun tolerant#small spaces#annuals#white flowers#purple leaves#green flowers#showy leaves#cottage garden#moist soil#well-drained soil#tropical perennials#burgundy leaves#bushy#burgundy#border front#patio planting#partial shade tolerant#tropical feel#container plant#drought tolerant annual
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Alternanthera
    Species:
    dentata
    Family:
    Amaranthaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    West Indies and Brazil
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit type is technically a utricle, a type of achene.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Insignificant
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Flower's color are white to greenish.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Purple to burgandy leaves in a linear-lanceolate to ovate shape. Boldest color comes in full sun.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border