Persian Shield

elkay_gwMay 25, 2012

(Strobilanthes dyerianus)

I've heard of these, but never saw any for sale anywhere.

Anyone have one? What has been your experience with them - easy to grow? I assume it needs pinching frequently?

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

It's as easy as Coleus! I've had these for many years, my fav purple plant! I went a few years without any and found some last spring. They're all over my yard by now. I've had the plant below for a little over a year. If you see it begin to wilt, water it ASAP (probably every day it's hot out.) These do not like to dry out. Not at all hard to keep over winter if you can tolerate its' appearance during that time (most of the leaves fall off, and occasionally you'll get a little bluish purple flower.) They're fairly easy to blow over if the pot isn't big & heavy enough, the big leaves catch a lot of air.

In zone 6, yours should be able to handle any exposure except the middle hours of the day. This one is probably getting a bit much, I keep shifting it around looking for the best spot but all of the porch plants get moved around a lot. The ones out in the yard that are under highly-limbed trees getting very bright shade all day and a little morning or evening sun have the best color but the rays are a lot stronger here. If you notice a burned leaf, back it up a bit to slightly more shade.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Took some more pics. The first pic shows the plant above again, more accurately representing the color. Phones don't take the best pics, but they are better than my older digital camera.

The plants that lived through winter although they weren't supposed to are struggling to come back.

The cuttings I kept in bottles of water are (so far) much bigger than the "perennials."

Same spot, diff. angle:

By the end of summer, the ground plants become shrubs, 4-6 ft. across, 3-5 ft. tall. When you feel like you can part with a branch, I highly recommend sticking it in the ground to see what a big plant you get, or sticking the whole plant in the ground now. If you like that option, on "panic night" (the frost is coming, the frost is coming!) you can cut it all down and put the cuttings in water in a windowsill until it's safe outside again. If you miss panic night, the leaves will definitely and the branches will probably be dead but you could likely save the roots & crown by digging it up. Lots of options with this plant.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 4:17PM
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elkay...if you lived close by, I have 20 seedlings...Rina

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 6:21PM
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I should have stated that I DID see some at a garden center in their greenhouse with the other houseplants, so I bought one (pic). From the info I've found, it's mostly grown outside. Hope I can keep it going thru the winter INSIDE.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Did you read what I said?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 11:53AM
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:) Yes, I did. I mean I hope "I" can keep it over winter and looking decent.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I'm sorry, that was kind of snippy. I didn't mean for it to be, but feel bad about it as I read it again. And I thought I had mentioned what a beautiful plant yours is, very large, very purple leaves. I think it needs a much larger pot ASAP!

Here's some more specific info about what I do. I bring in ONE potted plant, it's all I have room for in the main sunny window. I know from experience that all of the leaves are going to fall off, so I remove them all except the smaller ones at the tips. Keep it a little more dry than during the summer, watering thoroughly when it first begins to wilt. If you have a more sunny window than I've ever had, your plant may grow while inside over winter, mine are always just pretty ugly and naked. All mine have ever done is grow much more greenish leaves at about the same pace as the ones which I left on the plant die and fall off. I wish you every bit of luck for keeping a pretty *purple* plant inside over winter, but don't be discouraged if it's ugly. It will grow beautiful purple leaves all over the stems when it gets to go outside again in the spring. All of the winter leaves are gone from my plants by now and what you see are all leaves that have grown since it's been put back outside.

We don't run the central air since we've discovered that hot oil heaters provide a much warmer heat for about the same cost and they don't remove humidity from the air, so it's not lack of humidity that defoliates these plants over winter. This house stays at about 70% humidity all winter.

For the rest of the plants (cuttings grown in the ground,) I cut off all of the branches and stick each one in a bottle of water. Remove all but the top 2-3 leaves. These go in east, west, or south windowsills. North isn't enough light. When danger of frost has passed, plant or pot them outside, and start the process over again. You can do the same thing with Coleus (except that I don't bother anymore trying to keep potted plants inside, just cuttings.)

Regarding pinching, I've found that removing leaves along the stem is the best way to encourage a bushy plant. As leaves lose their pretty color, just snap them off. Yours looks like it wouldn't need much done for a while except to remove 5 winter leaves that are less green:

The oval on the right is trying to indicate the green leaf under the purple ones. Bottom circle is the 2 green and 1 yellow leaf.

I LOVE to talk about PS and have had them for years in both OH and AL. Please ask if you have any other questions.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:01AM
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Thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

This seems to be the most recent discussion with this plant in the title, so seems like a good place to post pics of these blooms. Also, they're on the plant you can see in my pics from May 25. It's not been cold enough here to knock this one down (yet.) I've never seen this before except a single bloom on an indoor plant, or in pics.

Do you still have your plant, Elkay?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:26PM
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Yes, I still have it. You're right, they really like a lot of water. It's in an eastern facing window and not looking bad, but not as nice as the first pic - not as purple and I've never seen any flowers. When it gets warm enough to stay outside, I'm going to cut it back, root the tip cuttings and put them back with the original plant.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:39PM
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