How to Care for a Persian Shield Plant

Could you tell me how to care for a Persian Shield plant (Strobilanthes dyerianus).

Hi Doug,

I really like this plant with its iridescent, green-veined purple leaves. The key to success is warm temperatures and high humidity. Here are some care tips.

Learn how to identify, grow, and care for a Purple Shield plant.
Persian Shield Plant

Light: A Persian Shield plant needs 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. to maintain the vibrant colors; no direct afternoon sun or the leaves may be damaged. The plant becomes thin and leggy when there is not enough light.

Water: Keep the soil barely moist, watering when the top few inches of soil are dry. Spotting occurs on the leaves o a Persian Shield plant if cold water is splashed on them (like a poinsettia). Water less in the fall and winter when the plant is not actively growing.

Plant Food: Do not fertilize a Persian Shield plant during the fall and winter. In the spring and summer, when the plant is actively growing, feed every two weeks with a balanced plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.

Pests: whiteflyLearn how to identify and treat the plant pest Whiteflies at how to identify and treat and AphidsSee a picture, learn to identify, and read about Aphid houseplant pests in the Glossary of

Humidity: Persian Shield plants requires humidity to grow well. Leaves dry up and fall off in low humidity. You can mist the leaves, but will need to use rain water or distilled water. Water containing chemicals such as chlorine or water that has passed through a softener damages the leaves. I recommend placing the plant on a wet pebble tray if the air in your home is very dry. Be sure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water.

Temperature: Likes warm temperatures above 60°F (15.6°C)

Flowers: A Persian Shield  plant has beautiful leaves  but the flowers are rather inconsequential. You can put the plant outside for the summer to encourage flower spikes, but be sure to bring the plant indoors before the temperature drops below 60°F (15.6°C)

propagationLearn how to propagate plants by plant division at Use 2″-3″ stem tip cuttings. Remove the section from the top of a healthy stem just below a leaf node.

Soil: A Persian Shield plant grows well in a rich soil that drains quickly.

Pot Size: Repot annually when the plant is young. As the plant matures, repot every other year. A Persian Shield is a fast growing plant. If it becomes too large, the best way to control its size is by pruning the roots.

Pruning: Pinch back new growth if the plant becomes leggy and you’d like it to be bushier.

Toxicity: Slightly poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants with a #1 toxicity levelThese are general guidelines that describe different poisonous plant toxicity levels. It's possible for an allergic reaction to occur from contact with any houseplant, toxic or non-toxic. If there is ever a concern, call: Poison Control Center: ******1-800-222-1222****** Level #1: Houseplants with low toxicity, may be mildly irritating, especially the sap of the plant. Level#2: Houseplants with medium to severe toxicity. Eating parts of these houseplants may result in vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains, skin irritations, and breathing difficulties. Level #3: These houseplants are  very poisonous. When eaten, especially in large quantities,  severe vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains, skin irritations, and breathing difficulties can occur. Level #4: These houseplants are extremely poisonous. Eating parts of these houseplants can be be life threatening. Every plant listed in our Popular HousePlant guide has a section explaining whether or not it is toxic and, if so, how dangerous it is. Amaryllis, alocasia, dieffenbachias, crotons, ivies, azaleas, lilies, and philodendrons are just a few of the highly poisonous plants we use in our homes and offices all of the time. If you don't know whether your houseplant can pose a threat, send an email to Ask Include a picture of your plant and a description. Judy will let you know if the houseplant should be kept away from small children and pets. See colorful pictures and get more information about poisonous houseplants in my book Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants