Alternanthera

barb_roselover_inJanuary 6, 2009

I fell in love with this plant when I used it in my whiskey barrel planter, so I dug it up and brought it into my basement under florescent lights. It has become quite big, so I have tried several times to propagate it--with no success. I tried rooting it in plain water. I tried tying down one branch (I thought it had rooted but when I disconnected it from the mother plant, it died). I believe it is not just a house plant, but that it is a shrub. Anyway, has anyone been successful in propagating this? I also planted one cutting in sterile soil, but it quickly died. I would appreciate any help--thanks in advance. - Barb

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jeannie7

There are, evidently, a number of varieties of this plant from shrub to matting groundover.
It definitely speaks of being a perennial.

The "big" nature of how you grew it might also suggest 'gangly', and be needing more light than how you are delivering it. You mention using fluorescent light...is that by way of a "gro lite" or just the usual fluorescent fixture up on the ceiling.

Such gro lites should be within 6 - 12 inches of the top of the foliage....and shine on the plant for upwards of 16 hours....then allowed to rest for the other eight.
As well, there are gro lites and then there are gro lites; many having much different light spectrums that influence plants growth rate.

The attempts; was that by way of cuttings--and what medium was ued. Was the medium sterile and was the method in line with the usual practices of growing.

The "end of a branch" put into the soil by bending it back, is that a prescribed method for this plant?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 7:29PM
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mr_subjunctive

Could you be mistaking dramatic wilting for dying? I haven't had a 100% success rate with propagating Alternanthera ('Purple Knight'), but it's been about 75%, and for that first week or so, the plant looks dead, even though it's usually not.

Also, which variety are we talking about? I've been successful with 'Purple Knight' and 'Partytime,' but that's all. It's possible that other varieties are more difficult.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 7:30PM
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Maryl zone 7a

I grow the green and white variegated form (rounded leaves/short compact mounded growth)and have for many years. After only a 10% success rate with cuttings, I decided to dig some of them up roots and all in late autumn and overwinter them inside under my growlights. They do fairly well for a couple of months and then it's downhill for the majority of them. Very frustrating since this is a hard variety to find. I spoke to a grower once and they said that even for them some Althernantheras are more difficult to grow artificially then others (my green/white form being one of the hardest). Bottom heat is essential they said. If I can get even a few branches on a plant to make it inside over winter then when the heat returns in spring they jump back to life and take off growing as if they are the most easily grown plants in the world - which they are - outside.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 12:51AM
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birdsnblooms

Barb, I have two Alternantheras..Started cuttings 10-08. The green and cream had a side branch I recently removed a few weeks ago..It's filled with roots..
I also have the red/pink/green, which was also started in water..


I don't know if you can see the roots on the green and cream..I'm holding it..
Cuttings were placed in warm water, 2 drops of Superthrive, set in a bright, (no direct sun) spot..3-4 wks roots should be large enough to pot in soil. Toni

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 2:52AM
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barb_roselover_in

Thank you all for answering. I guess I did not realize there were so many varieties of this plant. Hopefulauthor, the first one that you show is the one I am talking about--with the cerise color in it. I have four foot long shop lights in my basement. I also have a small attached greenhouse that is only heated with heat bulbs. I took this plant downstairs because I thought the other gets too cold. It usually stays around fifty in there, but when we were without electricity, it got down in the thirties. I have the plants surrounded with insulation material with an over-the-top of hard plastic--in the attached greenhouse. It was really built to protect our family room which is exposed on three sides.I will try again with the tip cuttings and put them in water. I understand you to say warm water with Super-Thrive. We do not have that available here. Can I put something else in the water? I also do have a small propagation heat pad if necessary. I am just trying to keep this thing alive until next spring. Thanks again for your help. - Barb

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 2:55PM
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birdsnblooms

Hi Barb,
There are quite a few Alternantheras, but the pink/red/green is prettiest..what do you think?

Do you have the plant? Was it growing in your garden?
I've rooted Alternanthera cuttings in 3 different rooms..front and back plant rooms are kept cool..Not 30's, but on the coldest nights, it can drop down to 50F. The third cutting was rooted in the living room, a warmer room..That was a disaster. It was too warm. No matter how often I changed water, it'd turn murky and emitted an fowl odor. The cuttings fell apart.
So, if you decide to root in water, place in a cool, not cold room, change water daily or every other day, in bright, no direct sun, spot.
Do you shop on Ebay? You can find Superthrive there, at decent prices..if not ST, there are other boosters that assist with rooting or pick-um-up for plants..If you'd like, I'll look around, and try to find a product..the only problem is since I strickly use ST, I can't vouch for other types.
Do you have a pic of your plant? Toni

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 8:18PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Wow Toni! The Alternantheras I'm familiar with certainly don't look like that. None have the large leaves. Wasn't aware they even existed. Now however I've got to ask you where you got the pink and green one. Do you ever grow it outside?.....Maryl

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 2:50PM
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birdsnblooms

Hi Maryl..Actually, I cheated..lol. Anternanthera's are sometimes sold locally, here in IL..I planted one (4" pot) in the garden last spring..that's the reason leaves are so big..lol..Then in autumn, Sept or Oct, I took cuttings, rooted and placed in the big pot you see in the pic.. in fact, every plant in that big, old, pink pot are cuttings from last summers garden. 2 Alternanthera's, 2 Coleus, and Beefsteak or Bloodleaf (Iresine) and another annual w/o an ID. I also saved 3 Ornamental Sweet Potatoes and 2 different type/colored Spikes (Cordyline)
Buying annuals/perrenials is one way, an inexpensive way, to pretty up your home in winter.
Home Depot sold Alternanthera's last spring..
We stopped at a HD last wkend..they had tiny baskets w/a mix of tropicals..Some included Alternantheras, which I thought odd. Although they're beautiful, they don't make the greatest/easiest house plants..Not here anyway..They need a lot of sun, and airy rooms.

Come spring, check out your Home Depot..
Do you have garden centers in your area? If you do, ask if they'll be getting any in..if not, sometimes they'll pre-order plants on request..
Where do you live? Which state? Toni
BTW, they're also called, Alternanthus and Brazilian Red Hots.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 4:46PM
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barb_roselover_in

Hopefulauthor: Seems to me that I read somwhere that Walmart had Superthrive. I asked our local store, and they do not have it. I really don't like to shop on Ebay although my son buys everything there. I do get on line and find places where they sell a particular article, but I don't like to give out personal info. I would much rather call a phone at their particular place of business and handle it that way. I usually have pretty good luck at propagating, but I had a particular hard time with this one. I'm not proficient at taking pictures, etc. I do like GardenWeb forums though. My basement where I have the inside plants is not hot. I keep all of my plants on trays that have the fabric that wicks the water up from underneath. I had this plant and several others in containers and am just trying to keep them alive until I can take them out into the little unheated greenhouse that is on the side of our family room. The way I had the best luck was by pegging one of the branches down. I do believe that it is going to take off, but I need to start others. I also like to winter sow plants.My plant is starting to get leggy now. I don't know if I should cut it clear back or not. Thanks for your interest. I do appreciate any of the advice I get on here. - Barb

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 11:11PM
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birdsnblooms

Hi Barb..
Barb, I know how you feel about giving personal info on the net..We've been using Ebay since the 90's, pay through Paypal, and thank God, never had any problems.
In the beginning I was skeptical, but when I thought about calling or mailing 5 nurseries meant 5 additional ppl getting access to our cc numbers. It's up to you of course, if you're leery, stick with your feelings.

There's several nurseries that sell Superthrive.. www.homeharvest.com is one, but their price is a bit higher than any seller on Ebay..I used to buy ST at Home Harvest before Ebay; they're a good company, and quick to ship.
Our Walmart gets it is occassionally, same w/Home Depot and hardware stores like Ace.

Which plant is leggy? Pruning depends on the type of plant. Some plants cannot be cut back. If you're talking about an annual, and it's spindly, cut back, and add more cuttings.

I bought a little, heated seed green house..nothing fancy, but it should help speed up germination. It comes with a heat mat, and a 7" tall dome..It also has two twist on caps for ventilation..tomorrow, I'm planning on sowing several Adenium (Desert Rose) seeds, various types. Can't wait!

What type of plants do you sow? Indoor, outdoor? Tropicals, succulents, annuals, perrenials?

You're sooo lucky having a gh on the side of your family room. Is it a 3 season? Wish it was warm enough here to have a 3 season, but it's way too cold..
They're predicting, tomorrow's high 0F. It's 3.6F now. Too cold to do or go anywhere.

At least plants keep me going, well, year round, but quite a bit during winter..IL winters are too harsh and dark.
Even though I don't fertilize in winter, (except for Geraniums, African Violets and Hibiscus,) it takes time hauling plants to sink/shower, each getting spayed. A great exorcise program, too..lol..

I used to sow annuals in late winter, but the area where plants were summered is now covered by a small gh. I miss the extra garden space, but glad I have more room for house plants. The house is packed, every window filled. Where windows face north and east, gro lights are hanging or shelved. IS that a word?? lol..

Good luck, Barb..Going to put the birds to bed, then try getting some sleep, too. Toni

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 12:58AM
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mr_subjunctive

Hey, um, Toni -- one of the plants in your pictures is not an Alternanthera. I didn't know this until yesterday, when I was flipping through one of the catalogs at work, but the second one, with the yellow stripes, is Iresine herbstii 'Blazin' Lime.' (The first of the "other pictures of this variety" at the link is pretty clearly your plant.)

The one with the pink blotches is Alternanthera 'Partytime.'

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 8:46AM
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birdsnblooms

Mr Sub..um, hello..
When I bought both plants, (same garden center) the tags read Alternanthera.
We know tags are often mislabled, but it's possible they named the green and yellow plant, Alternanthera because both Alt and Iresine are in the same family, Amaranthaceae.

I've seen various Iresine's before..(planted two in the garden one summer: Chicken Gizzard and Beefsteak) The Blazin' Lime looks a lot like my plant, down to trunk color, red, but leaf shape differs. The leaves on BL are small to mid size..my plant had (in summer) long, 7-9" narrow leaves. Do you know the size of leaves on Blazin Lime?
For some reason I saved the tag for Partytime..They call it Brazilian Red Hot..lol..but it's Party time. Toni

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 8:14PM
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barb_roselover_in

Hopefulauthor- I messed up and got my answer on another post. I bet everybody thinks I am nuts but I just made a mistake instead of posting a follow-up. See the new one for my comments. I am sorry I made that mistake - Barb

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 1:37PM
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