Phillip Oliver is a Master Gardener in Florence, Alabama. He is an Assistant Professor/Librarian at the University of North Alabama. He chronicles the progress of his own garden at

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Persian shield
by Phillip Oliver       #Colorful   #Plant Profile

Persian shield is a stunning foliage plant that once you grow it, you’ll want it in your garden every year. Native to Burma (Myanmar), it was a popular plant during the Victorian era and is regaining popularity after the University of Georgia reintroduced it a few years ago. This plant loves heat and humidity and doesn’t start growing well until days start to get warmer.

The striking foliage, iridescent 6- to 8-inch leaves of purple, pink, green and silver (solid purple underneath), offer unique possibilities in the garden. Growing up to 3-4 feet tall (pinch it back a few times early in the growing season to get thicker, bushier foliage), it can be used as a dramatic focal point in a container combination or as a handsome companion plant in a border. The shimmering leaves complement plants with lavender or pink flowers (impatiens, wishbone flower) or silver foliage (lamb’s ears, dusty miller) and is also dramatic as a contrast with yellow and orange flowers. This plant also works well in tropical plantings.

Persian shield is easy to propagate and can also be grown as a houseplant although bright light and high humidity is necessary for success.

Common Name: Persian shield
Botanical Name: Strobilanthes dyeranus
Color: Iridescent leaves of purple, pink, green and silver. Blue flowers sometimes appear in late summer.
Blooming Period: Summer
Zones: 8-9 (can come back from the roots in Zone 7 if given extra protection)
Type: Tender perennial
Size: 3-4 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide
Exposure: Partial shade (morning sun, afternoon shade preferred)
When to Plant: Spring, after danger of frost
How to Plant: Plants should be placed 2 feet apart
Soil: Rich, well-drained
Watering: Consistent moisture needed
When to Prune: Pinch tips back to promote bushier growth
When to Fertilize: Monthly with slow-release fertilizer
In Your Landscape: Containers, semi-shady borders, bedding plant

Persian shield can be grown in containers. Here it is under planted with ferns.


Posted: 01/03/11   RSS | Print


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