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Joseph's Coat Alternanthera ficoidea

Phonetic Spelling
al-ter-NAN-ther-a fy-KOY-dee-uh
Description

Joseph's coat is an herbaceous perennial in the Amaranthaceae (buckwheat) family.  With its strikingly colored foliage it is commonly grown as a houseplant or annual groundcover with its sprawling habit.  

This plant grows in full sun to partial shade in moist organically rich well-drained soil.   Brightly colored leaves are most showy in full sun conditions.  Once established, it is quite drought and heat tolerant.  There are many popular cultivars featuring green leaves blotched with yellow, orange, red, brown, copper, or purple, sometimes with red veining.   Pinch back stems for a more bushy habit. 

If planting outdoors as a groundcover, place plants 4 to 9 inches apart.  Plants can be overwintered indoors, tip cuttings can be taken, or they can be grown from seed. 

Colorful cultivars make for interesting backdrops in border or edge gardens placed among more common green-leaved plants.  Plant in an English or cottage garden, or use in a container on a patio.  This plant can also be grown as a houseplant.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: This plant does not have any serious insect or disease problems.  Leaves may bleach in the full sun during hot summers.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Border Garden, Upcycled
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Creme de Menthe'
    White and green variegation
  • 'Purple Prince'
    Burgandy leaves
  • 'Red Carpet'
    Red leaves
  • 'True Yellow'
    Chartreuse leaves
'Creme de Menthe', 'Purple Prince', 'Red Carpet', 'True Yellow'
Tags:
#evergreen#heat tolerant#houseplant#annuals#drought tolerant#red leaves#showy leaves#colorful leaves#colorful#interiorscape#cottage garden#interesting leaves#mass planting#moist soil#edging#tropical perennials#border planting#bedding plants#English garden#border front#container plant#drought tolerant annual
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Creme de Menthe'
    White and green variegation
  • 'Purple Prince'
    Burgandy leaves
  • 'Red Carpet'
    Red leaves
  • 'True Yellow'
    Chartreuse leaves
'Creme de Menthe', 'Purple Prince', 'Red Carpet', 'True Yellow'
Tags:
#evergreen#heat tolerant#houseplant#annuals#drought tolerant#red leaves#showy leaves#colorful leaves#colorful#interiorscape#cottage garden#interesting leaves#mass planting#moist soil#edging#tropical perennials#border planting#bedding plants#English garden#border front#container plant#drought tolerant annual
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Alternanthera
    Species:
    ficoidea
    Family:
    Ameranthaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico, South America
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Insignificant
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are white, no petals, insignificant appear in axillary clusters from fall to winter.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are elliptic to broad ovate green leaves (1” long). There are many colorful cultivars with blotches of gold, orange, red-brown and purple, often with red veining. Brighter leaved varieties are often confused with coleus.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    English Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting