Botanical Name: Strobilanthes dyerianus
Persian Shield is a stunning house plant that's a cinch to grow with minimal attention. Its colorful, shimmery leaves are every bit as attention-getting as most flowering plants, plus it's easy to please.
Those lance-shaped leaves are deep purple and green with a shimmer of silver. Expect the colors to lighten as the plant ages, but this isn't a problem. Pinch off a stem anytime to grow a new plant. Keep pinching and you'll have a succession of new house plants. This is a plant that keeps on giving.
You may see light-blue flowers appear in summer, but they pale in comparison to the magnificent foliage. Pinch off the flower spikes as soon as you see them because they weaken the plant. Those beautiful metallic leaves are the real attraction, anyway.
This soft-stemmed shrub is fast-growing. Cut Persian Shield back in spring when it becomes leggy. Pinching off its stem tips in spring and summer will encourage branching and create a fuller, bushier plant.
Brown crispy leaves are caused by dry air. This tropical native wants moist air to look its best. Take a look at these easy ways to raise the humidity around it.
Repot in spring when the roots have filled the pot -- probably every couple years.
Make more plants. This beautiful plant will get leggy over time. By propagating stem cuttings -- which is easy to do -- you can replace the plant and keep it going indefinitely.
Origin: Burma (officially, the Union of Myanmar)
Height: Up to 2 ft (60 cm)
Light: Bright indirect light
Water: Water thoroughly and allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings. Keep soil drier in winter months, but do not allow it to dry out completely. Use distilled water because tap water often contains chlorine, which leaves white spots on the foliage.
Humidity: Moderate room (about 40-50% relative humidity -- or higher). The most efficient way to boost moisture for indoor plants is with a cool-mist room humidifier.
Temperature: Normal room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C. Strobilanthes dyerianus is a tender perennial. Hardy only in Zone 10, so if it summers outdoors, bring it back in if the temperature drops below 60°F/16°C at night.
Soil: Any good potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Only fertilize when watering to avoid fertilizer burn.
Propagation: Take 4 in (10 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring and root them in moist soil. Propagating the cuttings requires a heat mat for best results. Cuttings should root in about 2-3 weeks.