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Alternanthera, Calico Plant, Joseph's Coat, Parrot Leaf 'Partytime'

Alternanthera ficoidea

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Alternanthera (al-ter-NANTH-ur-uh) (Info)
Species: ficoidea (fy-KOY-dee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Partytime
Additional cultivar information:(PP14789, aka Party Time)
Hybridized by Saul
Registered or introduced: 2002



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color


Provides Winter Interest

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

White/Near White


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

By dividing the rootball

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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

Montgomery, Alabama

Bakersfield, California

Chula Vista, California

Merced, California

Bartow, Florida

Clermont, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Leesburg, Florida

Naples, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Pensacola, Florida(2 reports)

Riverview, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Valrico, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Lawrenceburg, Indiana

Barbourville, Kentucky

Lafayette, Louisiana

Pembroke, Massachusetts

Macon, Missouri

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Greensboro, North Carolina

Columbus, Ohio

Spencerville, Ohio

Amity, Oregon

Durham, Oregon

King City, Oregon

Houston, Pennsylvania

Ladys Island, South Carolina

Lugoff, South Carolina

Greeneville, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Colmesneil, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Freeport, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Hillsboro, Texas

Houston, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

La Porte, Texas

Lockhart, Texas

Plano, Texas

Rockdale, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

San Marcos, Texas

Victoria, Texas

White Center, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 1, 2014, chuey from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Can this plant, Joseph's Coat-Alternanthera ficoidea, be grown as a houseplant (low or bright light?)


On May 11, 2013, Welix from Amity, OR wrote:

My younger brother got this plant for me years ago for my birth day, we had no idea what it was an no one at the store did either. I thought it would be a goner since we had no care information, but the thing is hardy! Its never bloomed but it has lived through two murder attempts by family members, being accidentally left out in the cold, too much water, too little water...its immortal, and always beautiful. Absolutely adore it.


On Oct 20, 2012, Anne_Ealy from Baytown, TX wrote:

I'm not sure how they got a patent on this plant since it has been a passalong plant for many years. I got mine from a garden friend in Florida and he has grown it for a long time before he shared it with me. However, even if it was under patent, if you are not selling it I believe you can propagate it for your own use in your own garden.


On Aug 23, 2012, sapensacolafl from Pensacola, FL wrote:

Isn't this plant patented? If it is, propagation is only allowed by those licensed to do so--correct?


On Jul 15, 2010, maconkat from Macon, MO wrote:

I just bought my first start of this plant and it is beautiful. I can't wait to add it's beauty to my garden. I had to look it up here to find out how to care for it since the clerk didn't know anything about it...not even if it was a perennial or an annual. I would like to know if I should cover it with a jar for at least the first winter since it is already the middle of summer and I am not sure how fast it's root system will be able to be established. Our winters can be harsh with temps getting into the minus 10's and 20's. I read that it is being grown in Ohio so I believe it should do fine here. Anyone's help would be much appreciated.


On May 20, 2010, silly_jilly from Keystone Heights, FL wrote:

Love this plant! Everytime I trim it back to help it get bushy.... I just stick the cuttings in with other plants or create new pots. No special treatment. They almost always root & do well. I live in Florida, so I do try to water mine almost daily or more. But, honestly sometimes I forget for days & they still do quite well!


On Nov 1, 2009, Blackwill from Bakersfield, CA wrote:

I gave a Neutral rating, because I have not yet planted the seeds for this plant. However, I do have some information:

For those of you interested in growing Joseph's Coat from seed, they are readily available through the Thomas Jefferson Memorial at Monticello.

The pictures they show in reference to this plant are remarkable, and I am sincerely hoping that they mature at least as beautiful.

I will post pictures as the seeds progress, and the plants grow. They are scheduled to arrive here in South-Central California on November 4th.


On Jul 6, 2007, gardengirl1960 from Seabrook, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I just got this plant yesterday. It was a lot of small Joseph's Coat in a big pot. It was an unmarked plant so I did not know the name until I asked at DG.
It is such a beautiful plant with it's hot pink and green leafs.
Since I know what it is now. I will move some of the ones that I put in full sun, since we are in zone 9a Texas and the sun really bakes our plants.
So far so good!


On Dec 22, 2006, DaBenDan from Vancouver,
Canada wrote:

Did extremely well in shaded high indirect lighted balcony container in Vancouver BC..Unable to locate further plugs/seed in Canada, however.


On Oct 28, 2005, cflowerseal from Arlington, TX wrote:

Propagation easy by cuttings, has done good in part shade.


On Apr 11, 2005, fmhayes48 from Valrico, FL wrote:

This plant is very sensitive to the sun in Florida. It droops when direct sunlight has been fully on it for a couple of hours yet magically revives the minute the sun moves enough to allow shade to take over. It has been very tender during the start period and takes its time establishing its root system. But TLC is well rewarded by its lively colors...a real show off.