A new player on the scene and a “prince” at this year’s FNGLA Florida Flower Trails, Alternanthera “Purple Prince” is already holding court as a low-maintenance king of the landscape. The purple prince plant’s name comes from its majestic coloring: evergreen leaves that are burgundy or dark purple, contrasting with a rosy purplish red on the undersides. Like diamonds on a crown, small white flowers dazzle the eye, blooming from fall to early winter in the state’s warm southwest climate.
Purple Prince is a perennial averaging a bit more than a foot high and spreading to nearly two feet wide. Its compact, mounding nature and fast growth make it a go-to choice for filling in areas quickly. In the Florida Flower Trials, pests didn’t seem to notice it much; in fact, deer mostly steered clear. It can sometimes get chili thrips but no worries. They can be controlled with beneficial insects or an occasional insecticide application.
ArtisTree’s award-winning designers suggest using Purple Prince mostly as an annual since it takes the summer heat really well and doesn’t enjoy a frost. It’s also a grand option for coastal landscapes since it tolerates low-to-moderate salt spray (you’ll still want to protect it some). Overall, though, it takes to a wide variety of well-drained soils and tolerates drought once established. As with most plants, ample irrigation in long droughts keeps it healthier and looking like royalty. If you prefer a fuller, bushier look, simply pinch back when it’s young; otherwise prune to keep where you want it.
Once Purple Prince hits the mass market, you’ll want to call your local experts at ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design to schedule a design appointment. For low-maintenance, princely color, this specimen rules. Be one of the first to show off this regal plant in your borders, containers, or as a groundcover. Just call 941.488.8897 and ask for Jenni.