Purple Waffle Plant Care 101: A Care Guide For Plant Enthusiasts

Last Updated December 15, 2020 By Bella Zinti

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Botanical Name

Hemigraphis alternata

Common Name

Purple Waffle Plant, Red Ivy

Plant Type


Mature Size

6 in. tall, 8 in. wide

Sun Exposure

Full, Partial 

Hardiness Zones

10-11 (USDA)


Non- Toxic To Human Or Pets

Are you prepared to infuse your indoor sanctuary with a burst of vibrant color and exotic allure? Look no further than the captivating Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata), a botanical masterpiece that's taking the houseplant world by storm! With its striking, iridescent leaves and a personality as unique as its name, this little gem is an absolute must-have for plant enthusiasts and green-thumbed novices alike.

With its exotic appearance and vibrant purple foliage, this plant isn't just a breath of fresh air; it's a botanical work of art that's about to transform your living space into a lush tropical paradise. But wait, there's more! Growing the Purple Waffle Plant isn't just a joy; it's a journey filled with wonder, beauty, and some truly unique gardening tips you won't want to miss.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to grow purple waffle plants. Whether you're a seasoned green thumb or a newbie to the world of plant parenting, you're in for a treat.

Botanical Name

Common Name

Plant Type

Mature Size

Sun Requirement

Soil Type

Hardiness Zone

Pet Friendly

Hemigraphis alternata

Purple Waffle Plant


6-9 inches in height, 9-18 inches in spread

Partial shade to full shade

Well-draining soil, preferably slightly moist

10-11 USDA (typically grown as a houseplant)

No (can be toxic to cats and dogs)

What Is Purple Waffle Plant

The Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata) is a captivating tropical indoor plant celebrated for its unique and striking foliage. Its leaves, which are shaped like waffles, feature a mesmerizing blend of deep purple and green hues. This unique appearance sets it apart from traditional houseplants, making it a popular choice among plant enthusiasts.

Native to Southeast Asia, the Purple Waffle Plant thrives in warm, humid conditions and is relatively easy to care for. It typically stays compact in size, making it ideal for indoor gardens, terrariums or as an eye-catching addition to any room. Its vibrant colors and easy-care qualities make it an excellent selection for both newcomers to plant care and seasoned enthusiasts alike.

Purple Waffle Plant Care Guide


Purple Waffle Plants flourish in well-lit areas with indirect sunlight. This tropical plant loves light and warmth, but not too much. To grow purple waffles, they will need bright but indirect light when indoors or partial shade when outside.

Ideally, place them near a window with filtered sunlight, as direct sun can scorch their delicate leaves. They'll appreciate consistent, moderate light throughout the day, but avoid exposing them to harsh, midday sun. Too much direct sunlight can cause sunburn and scorching of the leaves, but not enough can cause the leaves to lose color and become dull.

In lower light conditions, they might lose some of their rich purple coloring and become greener. To maintain their striking appearance, ensure they receive the right balance of light, and consider rotating the plant occasionally to ensure even growth.


Purple Waffle Plants prefer moist soil but not waterlogged soil. Provide a thorough watering when the soil's surface feels dry to the touch, approximately an inch deep. Ensure good drainage to prevent root rot, as they don't like to sit in standing water. Occasionally mist the plant to satisfy humidity requirements, particularly in drier indoor settings. In the active growing season (spring and summer), consider slightly increasing your watering frequency, but reduce it during the dormant period (fall and winter).

Make sure that pots have holes in the bottom to leak any excess water, and always empty the drainage saucer. Never leave the roots sitting in water. If the plant seems wilted or limp, add some water, which will perk up. The purple waffle will tell you what it needs.

Temperature And Humidity

Purple Waffle Plants flourish in temperatures ranging from 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C) during the daytime, with slightly cooler conditions at night. It's crucial to shield them from chilly drafts, so refrain from positioning them near doors or windows, especially during the winter months. These plants also adore high humidity levels, ideally around 50% or higher.

If your home is dry, consider using a humidity tray or a room humidifier to maintain the required moisture level. If your plant needs an added boost, try putting it in a moisture-rich room in the house, like the bathroom during a steamy shower. If your bathroom has a window with sunlight coming through, this might be a great place for a purple waffle plant to live.


Because the purple waffle plant is native to Asia's tropical jungles, this plant grows best in rich soil. Soil also should be slightly acidic/ neutral, which can and should be supplemented with fertilizer and compost. To grow this plant, you can use an all-purpose potting mix. If you choose to grow them outdoors and plant them directly in the ground, add fertilizer or compost to enrich the soil.


In its native habitat, the purple waffle plant feeds off the natural fertilizer of other decayed plant life on the jungle floor. For a thriving growth environment that mimics these conditions, utilize a slow-release houseplant fertilizer with a 6-12-6 nutrient ratio. In the cooler months, the growth rates of plants decelerate, and fertilizing is less critical. However, in Spring and Summer, try adding fertilizer to the soil once a month, or as necessary, to recreate this rich soil and help the purple waffle plant grow faster.

Plant's Best Feature

The leaves of the purple waffle plant are grey/green on top, with purple underneath. They are dimpled, dented, crinkly, and puckered throughout, hence the "waffle" name. These dents cause the surface area of the leaves to be doubled, which helps this plant act as an air purifier, removing toxic compounds from the air around it like benzene, octane, etc. This is another great reason to invite this plant into the home or office.

Potting And Repotting

Potting and repotting are crucial milestones in cultivating a potted purple waffle plant. To maintain healthy Purple Waffle Plants, starting with the right pot and soil mix is essential. Initially, choose a container with adequate drainage holes, preventing water from stagnating around the plant's roots. Employ a well-draining potting mix, which mimics the plant's native environment, ensuring that water doesn't become a problem.

When the time comes for repotting, usually every 1-2 years or when the purple waffle plant outgrows its current home, select a new pot slightly larger than the previous one. Carefully remove the plant, examine its roots, and trim any roots that appear damaged or excessively long. Introduce fresh, well-draining soil into the new container, position the plant, and carefully fill the space around it. Water it generously to help the soil settle and facilitate root establishment in its fresh surroundings. After repotting, ensure stability in conditions for a few weeks to promote the adjustment of your potted purple waffle plant to its upgraded home, contributing to the growth of healthy Purple Waffle Plants.


You can propagate purple waffles through either stem cutting or division. Here is step-by-step how to go about it:

Stem Cuttings

  1. Choose a mature, healthy stem from the parent plant, preferably one with several leaves.
  2. With sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears, cut the chosen stem just below a leaf node, which is where a leaf connects to the stem. Aim for a cutting that's around 4-6 inches in length.
  3. Take off the leaves from the lower portion of the cutting, ensuring that a few leaves remain at the top.
  4. Let the cutting air dry for a few hours; this step prevents rot.
  5. Place the cutting into a small pot filled with well-draining potting mix. Create a small hole in the soil using either a pencil or your finger, and then insert the cutting.
  6. Water the cutting lightly, and cover it with a plastic bag or a plastic dome to create a mini-greenhouse effect. This will assist in retaining humidity and fostering the growth of roots.
  7. Place the pot in bright, indirect light and maintain high humidity by misting regularly or using a humidity tray.
  8. Within several weeks to a couple of months, the cutting should begin to develop roots. At this point, you can transplant it into a larger pot and continue with standard care procedures.


  1. If your purple waffle plant has become crowded or features multiple stems, division can be performed when repotting.
  2. Carefully extract the plant from its container, avoiding damaging its roots.
  3. Inspect the root system, searching for natural divisions that allow you to split the plant into smaller sections.
  4. Use clean gardening shears to cut the plant into sections, ensuring each section has roots and some healthy stems and leaves.
  5. Transplant each divided section into its individual pot filled with fresh potting mix.
  6. Water them well and provide the same care as you would for mature Purple Waffle Plants.

Common Pests And Diseases

Fungal Leaf Spot

This disease appears as small brown or black spots on your Purple Waffle Plant's leaves. To safeguard against it, refrain from overhead watering, as damp foliage creates an ideal setting for fungal development. Ensure your plant enjoys adequate air circulation, and water it at its base to prevent moisture from accumulating on the leaves. If a leaf spot appears, prune affected leaves promptly and consider applying a fungicide as directed.

Root Rot

Excessive watering and inadequate soil drainage can result in root rot for purple waffle plants. To avoid this issue, opt for a well-draining potting mix and permit the top inch of soil to dry before watering again. If you suspect root rot, promptly remove the affected plant parts and repot the healthy portions in fresh soil that provides improved drainage, ensuring a healthier environment for your purple waffle plant.


Purple Waffle Plants can occasionally face pest problems, with common invaders like spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can compromise the plant's health by feeding on its juices or causing discoloration. Regular inspections and early detection are vital for effective pest control. Depending on the pest type, remedies include washing with water, applying neem oil or insecticidal soap, or physically removing them. Maintaining a healthy environment with appropriate humidity levels and proper watering can help prevent these unwelcome guests from taking hold in the first place.

Is Purple Waffle Plant Toxic To Pets

Yes, the purple waffle plant is categorized as mildly toxic to both pets and humans if ingested. It contains compounds that can potentially lead to irritation and mild gastrointestinal discomfort when consumed. As a safety measure, it's highly recommended to place this houseplant where it's inaccessible to inquisitive pets and children.

While the toxicity level is generally low, exercising caution and preventing any potential ingestion is always better. If accidental consumption occurs, it's a good idea to contact a medical professional or veterinarian for guidance, especially if symptoms like nausea or vomiting develop. It's essential to prioritize the safety of both your plants and your loved ones.

What Is The Difference Between Purple Waffle and Belgian Waffle Plant

The Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata) and the Belgian Waffle Plant (Monstera deliciosa) are two distinct houseplants, each with unique characteristics. The primary difference lies in their botanical classification and appearance.

Purple Waffle Plants are part of the Acanthaceae family and are known for their small, crinkled leaves with striking purple and green coloration. Their compact size makes them perfect for smaller areas and decorative planters.

On the other hand, Belgian Waffle Plants belong to the Araceae family and are often referred to as "Swiss Cheese Plants." They feature large, glossy, perforated leaves and have a more extensive, vining growth habit. Belgian Waffle Plants are well-known for their iconic tropical appearance.

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About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.