My Everchanging Garden

Gardening That Grows With Me

Alternanthera Purple Prince For Container Pots

I’m always looking for new annuals to use in pots and containers that are deer-tolerant. I decided to try Alternanthera and what a beautiful foliage plant. Grows quite large although you could clip it as it branches easily. The foliage of Purple Prince is brown-red and best of all showed no signs of pest damage all season. I had some planted in full sun, some in morning sun and afternoon shade and both areas did equally well.

alternanthera starts from cuttings

Alternanthera Purple Prince starts from cuttings, roughly 8 weeks

I grew mine from seed the first year. Germination was about 50% but that could have been me as I tend to overwater starts and these have to be surface sowed. They were also slow to get growing. I have lots to learn about that!

In the fall I took a few clippings and put them in water. They rooted easily, grew very fast and I now have two mother plants in the greenhouse to create more plants for the spring so growing Alternanthera from cuttings may be the better way to go.

Hardiness Annual
Exposure Sun to part shade, colour better in full sun
Deer Resistant? Yes
Bloom Small white blooms in summer although I did not see any
Habit Spreading, well-branched, spiller
Deadheading None, clip back for size if needed
Height 10-16 inches
Width 18-20 inches

How to sow

  • 10-12 weeks before frost (mine grew slow so I’d sow earlier if you want a 3-inch pot size by transplant time)
  • seedlings grow slowly, taking 4-5 weeks before transplant so use small pots to start aka 6-cell pack
  • surface sow, press lightly – do not cover. Seeds need light to germinate.
  • Germination is best at 80°F (26°C) so use heat mats. Germinates in 7 to 10 days.
  • Use bottom heat and water with warm water.

Plant starts take a while to get to transplant plug size. Apparently, lots of light prevents flowering.

I did not use a lot of extra fertilizer in the containers over the season. I put in slow-release pellets and then fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer once a month and mine grew very large by fall.

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