Alternanthera or Joseph’s Coat Plant: How to Grow Care

My wife saw a plant called a Joseph’s Coat and really liked it. I was hoping to get her one for Valentines Day. Are they hard to care for? Do you know where I can get one?

Hi Tom,

The plant referred to as Joseph’s Coat is fast growing and fairly easy to care for if you have a bright area and make sure not to forget to water it. jJoseph’s Coat (ALTERNANTHERA ficoidea ‘Partytime’) has colorful green wavy leaves with hot pink splashes and streaks. The coloring on the leaves is totally random. This plant is usually used to brighten a garden but can be used as a container plant indoors.

Bright pink and green Joseph's Coat Plant

Joseph’s Coat Plant
Alternanthera Partytime

Here are some care tips:

Light: bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light.

Water: Water when the top 1″ of soil feels dry. Be sure there are drip holes in the bottom of the pot and a saucer to catch excess water. Immediately drain the saucer so the plant never sits in water. Water less in the winter, allowing the top 2″-3″ of soil to dry out.

Food: fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.   once in the spring, two or three times in the summer and early fall. Always dilute the plant food to 1/4 the recommended strength.

Pruning: Trim back the stems whenever the plant looks thin and leggy to keep it bushy and full. You can use the stem cuttings to start new plants.

Pests: Joseph’s Coat is fairly pest resistant.