Waffle Plants: Crispy Leaves and Care Tips
The Waffle plants, native to the tropical regions of India and Malaysia, is a popular houseplant known for its rich purple leaves and waffle-like texture. However, if you notice that the leaves are turning crispy, there might be some issues with its care.
Natural Texture of Purple Waffle Plant Leaves
The Purple Waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata) has vibrant purple leaves with a distinct waffle-like texture. This texture is an adaptation to the humid conditions of its native habitat, allowing the plant to minimize water loss through its leaves while maximizing the surface area available for moisture absorption
Causes of Crispy Leaves and Remedies
- Underwatering: One common reason for crispy leaves is insufficient water. When the plant doesn’t receive enough water, its leaves dry out and turn crispy. As a general guideline, water your purple waffle plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Insert your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle – if it feels dry at that depth, it’s time to water. Establish a routine, and your plant will thrive.
- Excessive Sunlight Exposure: Too much direct sunlight can stress the plant and result in crispy leaves. It can also cause increased water loss through evaporation, leading to dehydration. Purple waffle plants prefer indirect sunlight. If your plant is indoors, find a location with bright, filtered light or create it by using curtains or sheer fabric. If it’s outdoors, find a shaded spot or strategically place taller plants to create shade for the smaller ones.
- Low Humidity: Purple waffle plants thrive in moderate to high humidity levels between 50% and 70% . In environments where the air is dry, the plant struggles to retain the moisture it needs for healthy foliage, resulting in crispy leaves. To counteract this issue, raise the humidity around your plant by misting the leaves regularly, placing a tray of water nearby, or using a humidifier. Alternatively, you can place your purple waffle plant in the bathroom, as they love a hot, moist environment.
The purple waffle plant is easy to grow and care for with just enough sunlight and adequate watering. However, things can easily turn for the worse when there’s too much sunlight and not enough water. Maintain a balanced watering routine, keep the soil constantly moist but never soggy, and find the right amount of sunlight. By following these simple yet impactful guidelines, you can ensure that your plant and its purple foliage will thrive.
What is the difference between a purple waffle plant and a snow white waffle plant?
The Snow White Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata) and the Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata) are actually the same species but with different color variations in their foliage. The Snow White Waffle Plant has light green leaves variegated with white and pink edges, while the Purple Waffle Plant has vibrant purple leaves with a distinct waffle-like texture. Both plants are native to tropical regions and require similar care, including indirect sunlight, moderate to high humidity, and regular watering. The main difference between the two plants lies in their leaf coloration and patterns, with the Snow White Waffle Plant having a more variegated appearance and the Purple Waffle Plant showcasing a more uniform purple color.
Both plants require similar care, including indirect sunlight, moderate to high humidity, and regular watering. Here are some care tips for both plants:
Both plants prefer bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can cause leaf scorching and bleaching of the colors. Keep them in a location with filtered light or partial shade.
Water both plants when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Water less during the winter when the plant’s growth slows down.
Temperature and Humidity
Both plants thrive in warm temperatures between 60-80°F (15-26°C). They also prefer moderate to high humidity levels between 50% and 70%. To increase humidity, mist the leaves regularly, place a tray of water nearby, or use a humidifier.
Fertilize both plants once a month during the growing season with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.
Pruning is generally not necessary for these plants, but if stems get too long or scraggly, you can prune them back at any time.