Alternanthera Partytime

Alternanthera Partytime Plant - rooted from a cutting
Alternanthera Partytime Plant – rooted from a cutting

Alternanthera Partytime is actually the name of a beautiful plant which is grown for its colorful leaves.   It is also called Joseph’s Coat.  The variety that I like is bright green and pink.  Other varieties have burgundy, red, yellow or bright green leaves.     I bought this plant at a nursery last year and successfully grew it in a planter box in the front of my house under the trees.

Beautiful leaves
Beautiful leaves

I took two cuttings from the plant in early Fall and placed them in a glass of water.  Now when I take a cutting I pick a healthy looking stem that breaks off into a “Y”.  I cut the stem about 3 to 5 inches below the nodule (the middle of the “Y”).  I remove any leaves below the nodule and place the stem in water.  Next time I do this, I will have to take a picture – visualization is important!  Once they rooted, I planted them in a pot and put them on a side table in my dining room which was not right in front of the window.  One of two plants survived!  Not bad for my first time.  I think I gave the plant that died too much shade during our dreary winter.

Part way through the winter, I figured out which window to put the surviving plant in which was my second floor office that faces north west.   It gets just enough sun.  Now that it is slowly starting to get warmer, I moved the plant to the other side of the room because this plant likes the shade.  It will still get some light from the window and the ceiling light when I am working.

Alternanthera gets18 inches tall
Alternanthera gets18 inches tall

In May, I will transplant the Alternanthera Partytime to the front yard.   It can tolerate morning sun and afternoon shade and grows up to 18 inches tall (see below).  I have three trees in the front yard so this plant will be very happy in the shade again.  It is an annual in my area (Zone 5).   If you live in a warm area, you will be growing it as a perennial – lucky you because this plant is a beauty!

This year I may put this plant in the ground instead of a planter box.  Since it is a fast growing plant when it is outdoors, I may take some cuttings late Spring so I can plant more party plants!

While I have been providing a lot of seed ideas in crazyforgardening.com to save money, you should also consider rooting some of your favorite plants in water.  It works on most soft stemmed plants.  Stay tuned because we will discuss what other plants this method works with.