Purple Waffle Plant Care: 9 Top Tips

Despite its mouthwatering name, the purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata) is not a dessert you’ll find on the menu of your local pastry shop.

The purple waffle plant is a low-maintenance plant that will make even the most brown-thumbed gardener feel like a horticultural genius. It thrives in bright, indirect light—think of it as a plant that loves basking in the soft glow of a cozy reading nook rather than the harsh spotlight of a Broadway stage. Keep its soil moist, but not soggy. Also give it a spritz of water now and then to create a humid environment that will make it flourish.

Besides it’s undeniably attractive foliage, which looks like a funky combination of tiny purple waffles and delicate ruffles, it’s a total mood booster.

As a seasoned horticulturist who has welcomed a purple waffle plant into my home, I was utterly captivated by this botanical marvel. Its purple leaves intricately textured like a fine piece of fabric, seemed to dance with joy every time I watered it.

Purple waffle plant care is a piece of cake. It doesn’t demand much attention, but it gives back so much more in return.

Let’s lift the curtain on its care needs and unlock the secrets to keeping this enchanting plant happy and healthy.

purple waffle plant care

Table of Contents:

Can I Give It Too Much Light?

The purple waffle plant is a bit of a fuss pot when it comes to lighting. It yearns for that sweet spot between bright and indirect light.

When growing the purple waffle plant indoors, I positioned it near a sun-drenched window, thinking it would relish the opportunity to bask in direct sun. How wrong I was! Within days, its purple leaves resembled toasted marshmallows. Lesson learned: direct sunlight is a big no-no for purple waffle plants.

purple waffle plant with green and purple leaves

It’s not all doom and gloom. The purple waffle plant will thrive in bright, indirect light. Place the waffle plant near a window with enough light but a sheer curtain to filter out any harsh rays. Ensure you are protecting its delicate foliage from UV and direct sun overload.

If you can’t provide enough light in your space, don’t worry! The purple waffle plant is a trooper and can adapt to lower light conditions. Just make sure to provide it with some supplemental lighting, like a grow light, to keep its spirits high and its leaves a delectable shade of purple.

Full-spectrum LED grow lights provide the necessary wavelengths for optimal waffle plant growth, including the blue and red spectrums that promote healthy foliage development. Look for a grow light specifically designed for indoor plants or one that mentions “full spectrum” on the packaging.

purple waffle in white clay pot white background

Position the grow light above your purple waffle plants at a distance of around 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) to ensure proper light distribution. Remember that each grow light may have specific manufacturer instructions regarding distance, so check the recommendations provided.

The purple waffle plant will let you know if it isn’t receiving enough light. One sign is leggy growth, which will usually lean toward the direction of the light source. Try moving the plant around to even out the growth and move it closer to a brighter spot.

What’s the Best Purple Waffle Plant Watering Schedule?

These purple waffle plants know how to make a splash regarding their water requirements.

Drowning your plant in a deluge of water is not the way to their heart. In fact, soggy soil is a major turnoff for these leafy beauties.

purple waffle plant amongst other plants

The purple waffle plant enjoys moist soil but not a saturated environment. You want the soil damp but not squelchy, allowing your waffle wonder to absorb just the right amount of H2O.

In a moment of overzealous watering, I drenched my purple waffle plant, thinking it would appreciate a good soak. The poor thing started resembling a soggy mess. Moderation is vital to prevent root rot.

To find that sweet spot of moisture for the purple waffle plant, stick your finger about an inch deep into the soil. If it feels slightly damp, like a perfectly moist brownie, your purple waffle plant is content. If it’s bone dry, it’s time to give the waffle plant a drink. But remember, we’re aiming to keep the soil consistently moist, not dripping wet!

ariel view of purple waffle plant wiht sunshine

And here’s a pro tip: instead of drenching your purple waffle plant all at once, give it a steady, controlled shower. Pour water onto the soil until you see it flowing out of the drainage holes. Then let it drain completely before returning the purple waffle plant to its rightful spot.

What’s the Best Soil Mix?

Like a gourmet chocolate mousse, the purple waffle plant soil should be well-draining, rich and loamy. It wants its roots to breathe and stretch out comfortably without feeling suffocated by heavy, waterlogged soil.

In a moment of misguided enthusiasm, I used dense, compacted soil. I was thinking it would provide a sturdy foundation for my purple waffle plants. My poor purple waffle plant’s roots felt more cramped than a sardine in a can, and it protested by wilting like a deflated balloon.

purple waffle plant in the sunshine

To create the ideal purple waffle plant soil, start with a well-draining potting mix formulated for indoor plants. Add a dash of perlite or sand to the mix to enhance drainage and ensure your purple waffle plant’s roots can breathe freely.

Because I live in a dry, warm climate, I add water-absorbing crystals to my soil. This helps retain moisture.

The purple waffle plant thrives in slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. I used highly alkaline soil, thinking it would provide a solid foundation. My poor waffle plant’s leaves turned yellow, drooping like a wilting sunflower.

To amend the pH of your potting soil for your purple waffle plant, you can incorporate organic matter, such as peat moss or compost, into the existing soil. This gentle adjustment will help nudge the pH toward the desired range. Start by testing the pH of your potting soil using a soil testing kit or by sending a sample to a reputable lab.

Once you have the results, determine whether you must make your potting soil more acidic or alkaline to meet the purple waffle plant’s preferences.

waffle plant in a brown pot on white background

If your soil is too alkaline (pH above 7.0), adding organic matter with acidic properties, like peat moss or pine needles, can help lower the pH.

On the other hand, if your soil is too acidic (pH below 6.0), incorporating materials with alkaline properties, such as crushed eggshells or limestone, can help raise the pH.

Test the pH periodically to ensure you’re moving closer to the optimal range for your purple waffle plant’s happiness.

Does the Purple Waffle Plant Need Warm Temperatures?

Purple waffle plant care includes providing it with room temperatures between 60°F and 75°F (15°C to 24°C). Extreme temperatures are not their cup of tea.

Avoid placing your waffle plant near a drafty window during the particularly chilly winters. The poor thing will start shivering its leaves off!

purple waffle up close on wooden table

Keep it in a spot where the warm temperatures remain relatively stable. Additionally avoiding sudden temperature fluctuations or drafty areas. Steer clear of placing the waffle plant near air conditioning vents or radiators. These can create hot or cold pockets that’ll leave your purple waffle plant feeling like it’s on a rollercoaster ride.

If you’re wondering about nighttime temperatures, don’t stress! Our purple waffle plant is quite resilient and can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures. So, don’t worry if the thermostat dips a bit while you catch some Z’s.

What Are the Humidity Preferences?

The purple waffle plant enjoys moderate to high humidity levels between 50% to 70% relative humidity. Reminiscent of a rainforest getaway. It wants the air to be comfortably moist but not as humid as a sauna.

Create a comfortably moist environment, but avoid turning your home into a steamy jungle or a bone-dry desert.

purple waffle plant outside in sunshine

To create a humid paradise for my purple waffle plant, I misted it every few hours, thinking it would relish the moisture. The poor thing developed a case of soggy leaves. Which was devastatingly followed by an infestation of fungus gnats.

There are a few tricks to maintaining that moisture balance:

  • Humidifier: You can place a humidifier nearby to add moisture to the air. These work wonders and if you have a collection of plants then the small investment is worthwhile.
  • Grouping Plants: Grouping plants can also create a microclimate with higher humidity levels as they release moisture through their leaves, creating a leafy moisture party.

If you don’t have a humidifier or a group of plant pals, there are other ways to boost humidity:

  • Misting: Occasionally, molding the leaves with water can simulate a tropical rain shower and temporarily increase humidity.
  • Water Tray: Placing a tray filled with water near your purple waffle plants can also help as the water evaporates, in turn increasing the humidity levels around it.

How Much Fertilizer Does It Need?

Purple waffle plant care also includes a regular feeding schedule with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. It craves a well-rounded meal. Just like a plant version of a nutritious smoothie!

Look for plant fertilizers explicitly formulated for indoor plants with a balanced NPK ratio of 10-10-10 (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). This will provide all the essential nutrients for healthy and vibrant purple waffle plants.

purple waffle on counter

To kickstart the feeding regimen, apply the fertilizer at half the recommended strength every two to four weeks during the growing season, typically spring and summer.

You want to avoid accidentally dousing your purple waffle plants with too much fertilizer. The poor things will suffer from fertilizer burn.

Dilute the fertilizer according to the instructions on the package, usually by mixing it with water. Then, water your purple waffle plants thoroughly with the diluted fertilizer solution, ensuring not to oversaturate the soil.

During the dormant season, typically autumn and winter, fertilization is reduced as the purple waffle plant’s growth slows.

Firstly, keep an eye on the overall growth of your purple waffle plant. If you notice that it’s growing slower than usual or the new leaves appear smaller and less vibrant, it might indicate that your purple waffle plant is running low on nutrients.

Next, pay attention to the color of the leaves of your purple waffle plants. If you see yellowing leaves or the foliage starts to appear pale, particularly in the newer leaves at the beginning of the growing season, it could be a sign of nutrient deficiency.

Finally, keep an eye out for stunted or distorted growth during the growing season and a general lack of vitality in the purple waffle plant. If your purple waffle plant looks lackluster or weak, it may benefit from a nutrient boost to regain its vigor.

How Do I Propagate the Purple Waffle Plant?

Propagating a purple waffle plant can be done through stem cuttings, offering an exciting opportunity to expand your purple waffle plant family.

purple waffle leaf close up

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you become a propagation pro:

Selecting the Perfect Stem

Firstly, look for a healthy stem on your mature purple waffle plant. Ideally, one that’s a few inches long. Make sure it’s free from any signs of disease or damage.

Preparing the Cutting

Secondly, make a clean cut just below a node using a clean pair of pruning shears or scissors. A node is the point where leaves or branches emerge from the stem.

Removing the Lower Leaves

Then, trim off the lower leaves, leaving a bare stem about an inch or two long. This will prevent the leaves from rotting when placed in the growing medium.

Dipping in Rooting Hormone (Optional)

After that, to encourage faster root development, you can dip the cut end of the stem in a rooting hormone powder or gel. This helps stimulate root growth and increases the chances of successful propagation.

Planting in a Suitable Medium

Next, prepare a pot or container filled with a well-draining growing medium, such as a mixture of perlite and peat moss or a quality potting mix. Create a small hole in the medium and gently place the cut end of the stem into it.

Providing Optimal Conditions

Finally, place your newly planted waffle plant cutting in a warm and bright location away from direct sun. Keep the soil lightly moist but not overly wet to prevent root rot.

Patience and Care

It’s time to don your gardening cape and exercise patience. Over the next few weeks, monitor the moisture levels of the growing medium and keep an eye out for any signs of root development.

Before you know it, tiny roots will emerge, signaling successful propagation. You can pinch the stem tips as your purple waffle plants grow to encourage bushy and compact growth.

What Common Pests and Problems May Occur?

purple waffle growing outside in the sunshine

Be sure to equip yourself with the knowledge to combat the pesky invaders and common problems that might trouble your beloved purple waffle plants.

Spider Mites

These tiny arachnids can weave a web of trouble for your purple waffle plant. Look for fine webbing on the leaves and tiny specks moving around.

Combat these pests by regularly misting your plant to increase humidity and wiping the leaves with a damp cloth. Consider using organic insecticidal soap or neem oil for severe infestations, following the instructions carefully.


These fluffy white insects can appear like tiny cotton balls on your plant’s foliage. They suck sap from the leaves, causing damage and leaving behind a sticky residue.

Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove individual mealybugs. For larger infestations, consider using natural insecticidal soaps or neem oil.

Scale Insects

These pesky critters appear as tiny, raised bumps on the stems and leaves of your purple waffle plant. Scale insects can be challenging to remove due to their protective waxy shell.

Gently scrape them off with a soft brush or cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. For severe infestations, consider using horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.

Leaf Browning or Edges Curling

If you notice brown tips or curling of the leaves, it could indicate low humidity levels, underwatering, too much fertilizer, or too much direct sun. Increase humidity by misting the leaves or placing a tray filled with water near the plant.

Adjust your watering routine to ensure the soil remains moist but not soggy. Provide indirect or filtered sunlight to prevent leaf burn. If overfertilized, flush the root ball with water or repot it with fresh soil.

Leaf Drooping

Drooping leaves can be a sign of either underwatering or overwatering. Check the moisture level of the potting soil, and adjust your watering accordingly. Make sure the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. This can lead to root rot.

Leaf Spot

Circular, brown, or black spots on the leaves can be a sign of fungal or bacterial infections. Remove affected leaves and ensure proper air circulation around the plant. Avoid overhead watering and water the soil directly to prevent splashing. If the problem persists, consider using a fungicide or seeking advice from a local horticulturist.

Is the Purple Waffle Plant Toxic?

tiny white flower on waffle plant

The purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata) is considered mildly toxic to humans and pets. Therefore it’s essential to exercise caution and prevent unwanted encounters.

The sap of the purple waffle plant contains compounds that, if ingested in large quantities, can cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort. This means keeping curious children and pets away from nibbling on its tempting leaves is advisable.

If accidental ingestion occurs, monitoring the individual or pet for any adverse reactions is best. If symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea persist, it’s wise to seek medical attention for humans or consult a veterinarian for pets.

To ensure the safety of everyone in your household, consider placing the purple waffle plant out of reach of children and pets. Alternatively you could create a barrier around it if needed.

About Purple Waffle Plant

young purple waffle in green pot on desk

Originating from tropical regions like India and Malaysia, the purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata) brings a touch of exotic allure to our humble abodes. Its name might evoke images of a delectable breakfast treat, but don’t be fooled! Despite its appetizing name, it’s not something you’d want to slather with syrup and gobble up!

The leaves resemble miniature purple waffles. The foliage of the purple waffle plant showcases an intricate pattern of deep purple veins and has a slow growth rate.

Size-wise, the purple waffle plant is a petite low growing plant. Reaching a modest height of around 6 to 8 inches with a spreading growth habit.

This tropical plant thrives in bright, indirect light, making it perfect for indoor spaces. The purple waffle plant care doesn’t include constant attention. Give it some water, keep it away from extreme temperatures, and it’ll reward you with its purple leafy charm.

People use the purple waffle plant to jazz up their living spaces. Its compact size makes it ideal for terrariums, where it can add a touch of enchantment to miniature worlds. You can also showcase it in a decorative pot, a hanging basket, or as part of a vibrant indoor garden.


How often do I water my purple waffle plant?

Aim to water the waffle plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Be mindful not to drown it in excessive H2O or leave it dried for too long.

Should I mist my purple waffle plant?

The waffle plant adores a little misting action. Its tropical origins have instilled in it a fondness for humidity.

Do purple waffle plants like humidity?

The purple waffle plant thrives in humid environments. Mimicking the waffle plants’ tropical origins, it appreciates higher humidity levels. If your home tends to be dry, you can increase humidity by placing a tray of water near the waffle plant or using a humidifier.

Does a purple waffle plant bloom?

While the purple waffle plant can produce delicate flowers, they aren’t its main showpiece. The true star of the purple waffle plant is its stunning foliage, striking purple veins, and waffle-like appearance.

Does purple waffle plant need sun?

The purple waffle plant thrives in bright, indirect light. It appreciates a spot near a window where the waffle plant can soak in gentle rays without exposure to direct sunlight, which can scorch its delicate leaves.

Does purple waffles plant clean air?

While the purple waffle plant isn’t among the top performers in the air-cleaning department, it still contributes a bit of botanical freshness to your space. Its leafy presence can help improve indoor air quality.

A Wafflelicious Journey With the Purple Waffle Plant

Through its resilient nature and vibrant beauty, we’ve learned that even the most miniature plants can bring joy and charm into our lives. From its origins in tropical lands to the cozy corners of our homes, this plant has found its way into our hearts. Reminding us of the magic in nature’s creations.

With its intriguing purple veins resembling miniature waffles, the purple waffle plant (also known as metal leaf plant, red ivy, and red flame ivy) is a testament to the endless wonders of the botanical world.

Waffle plants have captured our imaginations and sparked conversations. Creating a sense of delight and fascination wherever they go. Popularity lies in the purple waffle plant’s appearance, adaptability, and ease of care, making it a cherished companion for novice and experienced plant enthusiasts.

Ready to Step Up Your Plant Care Game?

Dive into our resource-packed houseplant guides, where you’ll find all the latest on how to keep your green babies happy. From watering wisdom to sunlight secrets, we’ve cultivated a garden of valuable information to make your plants jump for joy.

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Alex Tinsman
An avid plant and flower lover! Ever since he was little, plants, flowers, and shrubbery of all kinds filled his life. Alex credits this fascination with nature's beauty to his mother and grandmother who were - and still are - dedicated gardeners. It's now Alex's mission to pass that same love for plants onto others and show them it's as easy as pie to bring nature inside.

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