The purple waffle plant, often referred to as red ivy or botanically as Hemigraphis alternata, is a perennial prostrate native to India and Indonesia that is often grown indoors as a house plant; but can you keep a purple waffle plant outside?
Purple waffle plants can be kept outside as long as the conditions are acceptable. Purple waffles will thrive in USDA zones 10 and 11 with ideal temperatures above 50°F, relatively high humidity and plenty of partial sunlight.
Growing purple waffle plants outside has some great benefits, but there are also a couple of things to consider if you’re planning on doing so. Let’s get straight into it so you can weigh up the two options for yourself.
Benefits Of Keeping Purple Waffle Plants Outside
Despite the popularity of growing purple waffle plants inside, there are some key benefits to letting them grow outside. This is similar to other houseplants such as the pothos.
Growing any plant outside generally involves a lot less maintenance, as they will hopefully have most of their care needs met by rainfall and the abundance of natural light.
Purple waffle plants enjoy high humidity and a medium amount of water, both of which can be provided outdoors without the need for supplementation.
The only thing you will need to do is fertilize a couple of times per year and that’s about it. Common issues such as crispy leaves or root rot are much less likely to occur, as well.
Natural Environment And Growth
Purple waffle plants are prostrate plants, meaning they spread along the ground for most of their length.
If you grow a purple waffle outside you will allow the plant to grow in its natural way, rather than keeping it in a small pot indoors where this kind of growth is difficult to achieve. Furthermore, if you live in an area where the conditions are optimal you will encourage rapid and natural growth patterns.
It can be difficult to achieve the ideal natural environment for a purple waffle indoors, so if you want your plant to grow quickly and in its natural habitat planting it outdoors can be a great idea.
Drawbacks Of Keeping Purple Waffle Plants Outside
If you’re wanting to grow your purple waffle plant outside you’ll need to consider the points below first, as there are some places where they are not recommended to grow outside due to restrictions.
Invasive In Some Areas
The major roadblock with keeping purple waffle plants outside is that they are classified as an invasive species in several locations.
Luckily, most of these locations are not located in the US (data source):
- Dominican Republic
- Cook Islands
- French Polynesia
Most areas in USDA zones 10 to 11 remain out of this list, but you need to be aware of its classification before you decide to grow a purple waffle plant outside.
Takes Up A Lot Of Space
You probably saw this one coming.
Purple waffles aren’t listed as invasive for a joke. They grow incredibly quickly given the right conditions and cause a threat to natural plants as they grow and take up resources.
You can counteract this by using a container, which is generally recommended even when growing outdoors, as this plant will take up a lot of space if you let it grow without restriction.
Another thing to consider when growing any plant outside is that they will become much more susceptible to pests.
This can be prevented with insecticidal soaps, and you should check your purple waffle each week for signs of common pests such as scale and whiteflies.
Can You Keep Purple Waffle Plants Outside In Winter?
USDA zones 10 and 11 are suited for growing purple waffles outside during the entire year.
In other areas, if the temperature drops below 50°F for an extended period of time during the winter you should avoid putting your purple waffle plant outside.
When considering growing purple waffles outside you need to first make sure that they aren’t restricted in your area.
If this isn’t a problem just keep in mind that they will grow very quickly, and it is recommended to plant them in a container because of this. Aside from these two points, it can be very beneficial to grow them outside and also less hassle when compared to growing them inside.