Persian Shield

Kris_1(9)November 28, 2011

In another thread I commented that I'd never seen a plant with purple leaves, and got a list in return. Purpleinopp, this is going to drive me crazy now.

Now that I think of it, I did see a picture of this plant before - and thought it was photoshopped, because bright purple leaves like that are just not possible.

Most of what I've read online says that this is a high humidity plant and low humidity is a good way to kill it. One site says average indoor humidity is okay though. I'm in zone 9, Arizona... would misting be enough to counteract the low humidity here? Are these plants at all adaptable to different conditions? It would be indoors, with a grow light.

Someone on ebay is selling them, but I don't want to order something that has no chance of surviving here. Do you think it's a foregone conclusion, or worth a try?

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zzackey(8b GA)

geez, there are so many plants with purple leaves. Purple shield doesn't need to be misted. It likes it on the dry side. Although when I worked at the nursery I think we kept it watered more. It didn't mind it. I would love to see the list of purple plants you have now. I can think of a few off hand. Setcretia, wandering jew, oh shucks now I can't think of the name of the outdoor one. Time to go to bed!

htee na,e

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 9:21PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Persian Shield is fairly common in nurseries and garden centers. Before spending the $ on eBay, I would checkcloser to home if you haven't already done so.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 9:52PM
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Zackey - Apparently so, but I'm a plant noob. If it's not in Home Depot or one of the grocery stores I frequent, I probably haven't seen it. The list is in a thread about a pothos, I'll link to it. It's one of the last posts.

That's good news, and shows that the internet can't always be trusted on plant care. Ehow says at least 50% humidity... I think it's usually closer to 10-20% here. Or something. I'll probably get one then... or two, and see if one can grow outside. Although I don't think anything with full sized leaves can grow here outside. We have caliche. And lots of sun. But that's another subject.

Thank you and good night!

Paul - It doesn't seem to be very common here. Although I guess HD could have it with the outside plants, I didn't check there. Same thing with Lowes. Assorted grocery stores with garden centers don't have it. I know HD sells it in other states, I've seen posts by people who bought it there. I was assuming they didn't carry it here because they couldn't keep it alive, because of the humidity. *shrug* I've never seen it in a yard, or anything, either.

I'd definitely prefer to see it before buying it, especially with low temperatures in some states it might be shipped through. The nurseries I've found online seem to be a bit of a drive from where I am... I guess I can call though. They either don't show inventory online, or they don't show this plant... wait a sec, did I read somewhere about requesting plants at HD? ...That actually worked pretty well for me at Bashas. Inadvertently I might add.

Well, I'll get it somewhere. I just wanted to make sure the lack of humidity here wouldn't automatically kill it.


Here is a link that might be useful: Thread with purple plant list

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 11:25PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Kris,

If you're so concerned about humidity, please read up on 'humidity trays' & their use. I often use them to combat the effects of radiator heat in NYC winters.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 12:32PM
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Kris, Persian Shield not only needs humidity, but fresh, circulating air, too.

PS is sold here, in spring, as outdoor, Accent Plants. Ususally 1.50 in a 4" container.

It's similar to over-wintering a Petunia, indoors, kept in a hot, stuffy, air-less, low-light room. Keeping it alive is a chore, BUT, with some effort, you might be able to keep it going.

I don't know the amount the seller on Ebay wants, but if you can find locally in spring, it'll probably be less expensive. Therefore if it doesn't make it, you're out a couple dollars.

Zacky. I was going to mention this to you in a different thread, but forgot.

There's a huge difference between soil moisture/dryness and air moisture/dryness.

Most plants' soil need to dry between waterings, but require high humidity..A big difference. This is where misting leaves come in.
Even though soil needs to dry before giving more water, X plant cannot live in dry 'air.'

There are numerous tropicals that need moisture in the air/humidity, yet, soil should dry between waterings. Toni

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 4:33PM
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Pirate_Girl, thanks for the tip. Sounds like something I used at the vets recommendation for a very dehydrated reptile, that had a full water bowl.

Hopefulauthor - Well, that's not good.

I'll ask around about it, see if anyone in the garden centers knows if they'll have it. I've never kept flowers, but I can get what you're saying there I think.

I'd definitely prefer to buy locally - $5 for plant + $8 express shipping is more than I'd want to pay for something I have a good chance of killing. (The cutoff point for that is about $4...)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 5:40PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

To a large degree, raising the humidity in a room and using humidity trays is sort of like trying to fix a flat tire by putting more air in it; and misting is like trying to fix a flat by getting really close to the tire and blowing on it - IOW, it's ineffectual.

If you want to grow a plant that you think might be marginal at the humidity levels you're going to be able to provide, you should start by understanding that necrotic leaf tips and margins and spoiled foliage are caused by the plant's inability to move enough water to the leaves to prevent tissue(s) from drying out and dying. The problem should be approached first by understanding the things that make it difficult for the plant to move water, and then ensuring that those conditions aren't a part of the cultural conditions you provide.

There is a triangle formed by your soil choice, your watering habits, and the amount of solubles (salts) in the soil, that is going to have the greatest degree of impact on the appearance of your foliage. While very low humidity can be a significant contributing factor, it's like the flat tire - it doesn't really fix the flat if all you do is air it up. Raising humidity in the hope that it prevents spoiled foliage is placing faith in trying to cure the symptoms instead of dealing with the root issue(s) - there's a pun there, but it's also sound reasoning. ;-)

If you're really interested in learning to become a more proficient grower, and are willing to do a little reading and maybe ask the questions you're left with at the end of your reading, let me know and I'll provide a few links that will furnish you all the basic tools you need.

Ball's in your court, Kris.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Here to learn! : )

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 3:00AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Most of the damage to foliage stems from soils that retain too much water and not enough air, and this occurs because the soils are made from particles too fine - like peat, coir, compost, manures, sand, topsoil ...... This is a very easy concept to grasp - just think about how much air space there is in a pint of BBs vs a pint of play sand. While sand might drain well, it doesn't hold enough air, and it holds too much water, to be considered a smart choice for bringing along containerized plants.

How much water a soil holds is very closely linked to particle size, so the increasing aeration and drainage in container media pivots on the size of the particles in our soils. Plants LOVE air in the root zone. Plants that don't get enough air and have poor gas exchange in the root zone suffer from impaired root function and the accompanying inability to move water efficiently - thus the spoiled foliage. When using these water-retentive soils, you have to choose between watering properly, so you're flushing dissolved solids (from tap water & fertilizer solutions) from the soil regularly) and risking root rot setting in because the soil remains wet too long, or watering in sips to prevent root rot, which practice supports the build-up of soil salts that inhibit the plant's ability to absorb water. Neither are good choices.

OTOH, using a free-draining and well-aerated soil that allows you to water copiously every time you water, with no concern for root rot issues OR salt build-up, offers you the best chance for being able to bring along attractive plants. These types of soils also increase the critical margin for error - offering you much wider, problem free latitude in your watering/fertilizing habits.

I'm going to suggest that you read this link, it's a good place to begin.

When you're done with that, try the one I linked to below. I have found that the cornerstone of a grower's ability to consistently produce healthy plants lies in an understanding of how important soils are to the planting. Some growers learn by trial and error over a number of years ..... unnecessary because you can learn it in an hour if it's laid out in front of you; and some growers are just content with whatever results they are presently realizing because of how their priorities are established. Anyway ....... find the other link below.

Good luck .... hopefully you'll have questions by the score! ;-)


Here is a link that might be useful: More about soils

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 8:01AM
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Just got home... a link specifically for soils? That's great, the only thing I know right now is that when it's been a week and a half since I last watered and the surface is still wet to the touch... that's probably a very BAD thing. In addition to poor soil choice to begin with, it turns out the diatomaceous earth I used to kill gnats holds water really well. One plant is already starting to get unhappy; the schefflera hasn't noticed yet for some reason, but from what I've read it probably will. Planning on repotting very carefully asap, tomorrow hopefully, or friday. Since the hose water is cold now... I'm thinking, large bucket or tub with warm-ish water to remove old soil. Which is actually new soil, but it needs to be replaced NOW.

...Definitely want to read first to make sure I get it right this time. I'll assume the right place to ask questions is in the threads you've linked.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 8:39PM
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