Ruby Leaf, Parrot Leaf, Calico Plant, Joy Weed

Alternanthera brasiliana

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Alternanthera (al-ter-NANTH-ur-uh) (Info)
Species: brasiliana
Synonym:Alternanthera dentata
Synonym:Gomphrena dentata
Synonym:Telanthera dentata
Synonym:Gomphrena brasiliensis
Synonym:Mogiphanes brasiliensis




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Mid Winter

Blooms repeatedly


Grown for foliage


Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Fort Myers, Florida

Miami, Florida

Naples, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

St Thomas, Mississippi

Houston, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 2, 2013, dez42 from Naples, FL wrote:

Roots at nodes and will start almost anywhere, so must be controlled, but this is easy to do. Repeated trimming back will train to a dense compact mound of almost any size you'd like!
Will take full afternoon sun in zone 11 -more sun helps produce intense color in foliage- and quite draught tolerant.
Heavy bloom here at Christmas (though blooms off and on throughout year).Very festive !, with little white balls like ornaments or snow!


On May 16, 2011, balaitalisai from Pasig City
Philippines wrote:

I posted pictures of this plant in the Tropical Gardening Forum., asking for the ID of this plant...( thanks, Metro, for the right plant ID!) .One picture shows the plants in full bloom with their white button-like blooms and the second is after they have been trimmed.

From my experience, these plants love the sun...full sun.!
In my country, they are even used for landscaping large areas of uncovered grounds in malls, subdivisions and resorts.

They need regular pruning, however, to get the desired shape and look in your garden.


On Jan 25, 2003, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

A tropical perennial native to the West Indies and Brazil, it's often grown as a bedding annual in colder regions. Plants grow up to 3 feet tall and are noted for their brilliant colored foliage. Use them in the garden as you would coleus. Planting in large drifts is especially attractive. Root stem cuttings in fall to overwinter indoors.