Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ruby Leaf, Parrot Leaf, Calico Plant, Joy Weed
Alternanthera brasiliana 'Purple Knight'

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Alternanthera (al-ter-NANTH-ur-uh) (Info)
Species: brasiliana
Cultivar: Purple Knight

Synonym:Alternanthera dentata

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive prettyitup On Oct 9, 2010, prettyitup from Moss Point, MS wrote:

I'm in Z8. I bought a small one this spring from someone selling plants on the side of the road. He called it Blood Plant. I searched the database here to see if that was actually it's name. I am glad to know it's also called Joy Plant Purple Knight since I hated the name Blood Plant. I love mine. I have it in part shade in front of some Hidden Lillies which are a med. lime green. I don't mind the legginess...the dark burgundy color of the whole plant more than make up for it. My house is pale yellow and I plan to get a pot of cuttings going for the porch. I think it would look awesome.

Positive Pillita On Jul 30, 2009, Pillita from Keystone Heights, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a fantastic plant, extremely heat and drought tolerant, and adding vibrant color to the garden. It overwintered well, both in the greenhouse and heavily mulched in the ground, and reseeds well.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Nov 17, 2006, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a very adaptable plant for both sun and shade in my garden. It is less likely to be "leggy" in the shade, from my experience with the plant, but as noted above, it can be easily pruned back at any point along the stem with no damage to the plant. I generally just stick the pruned cuttings with no special care nor rooting hormone into the ground around the plant and within a week or so, they are already rooted and I have more plants to share. I've been passing this plant around to friends and all have been happy with it. The most recent experiment with it was to place it in a friend's garden in what I would call deep shade. It is thriving there. Another plus for this plant is that it seems to be drought tolerant. Though it will wilt somewhat if left dry too long, it will recover to full glory once water is reapplied. I agree with the above comments that the dark purple, nearly black, color of the leaves makes an effective, contrasting accent in the garden.


Positive michaeladenner On Jul 6, 2006, michaeladenner from Deland, FL wrote:

Very dark burgundy, nearly black ovate leaves and stems. The literature says they grow to 36", but I suspect mine will reach higher by the end of summer. Branching but mostly upright growth. I grew a dozen of these from seeds (Parks) -- very easy propagation. In warm weather, I had nearly 100% seed to garden. I rarely get such a high rate. Not terribly leggy yet, as some have remarked here, but I see the potential. I plan regularly to pinch them back.

I think Purple Knight looks stunning mixed with yellow: Think Dune Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis) and the mounding yellow Lantana; but I imagine any bloom would be enhanced with the burgundy backdrop.

Its cultural requirements: Full sun, slightly improved and well drained soil, low fertilizer and not overly wet.

Positive Badseed On Oct 22, 2005, Badseed from Hillsboro, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a delightful plant in zone 6! It is easy from seed, easy from cuttings and low maintenance. This plant can be pruned by snipping right above a set of leaves, to keep it more compact. It lends a definate punch of dark color to any foliage combination. It has worked well for me in full sun and partial shade.

Neutral Toxicodendron On May 16, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I grew this plant last year as a tender perennial planted in both full sun and part shade. It tends to get very leggy in my opinion, with long distances between nodes in spite of pinching back. It is a pretty contrasting color with pinks, especially purple coneflower hybrids like Magnus. I did not care for it enough to keep a piece for this year. Allow plenty of space if you grow it.


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

Clayton, California
Santa Clara, California
Bartow, Florida
Belleview, Florida
Deland, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Palm Harbor, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Camilla, Georgia
Davenport, Iowa
Ewing, Kentucky
Brentwood, Maryland
Moss Point, Mississippi
Fenton, Missouri
Saint Peters, Missouri
Greensboro, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Richmond, Ohio
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Del Rio, Tennessee
Dallas, Texas
Henderson, Texas
Fairmont, West Virginia

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