Are you interested in bringing some unique plants into the garden this growing season?
Persian shield is a fantastic option to switch things up in the yard this summer. If you have enough flowering plants in the garden, consider this option for its foliage. The leaves of the Persian shield come in hues of deep purple that look amazing in the garden or on the patio.
At a distance, the purple color of the leaves consumes your attention. However, as you move closer to the plant, you’ll see blue-green variegation, with the top of the leaves having a somewhat metallic sheen. The leaves also feature a textured finish, giving them a matte appearance at a distance.
The Persian shield flowers in the late fall to winter provided it has ideal flowering conditions. The plant produces small tubular blue flowers, but they pale compared to the beautiful foliage on the plant. The Persian shield is an excellent addition to the garden, bringing year-round color to the yard.
The Persian shield is hardy down to USDA Zones nine to eleven, and it’s an evergreen plant in warmer climates. We like the versatility of the Persian shield, making it suitable for growing outdoors in the garden or indoors as a houseplant.
The Persian shield also goes by the name “The Royal Purple Plant,” growing to heights of three to four feet with a two to three-foot spread. This exotic is native to Myanmar, and it’s a great choice for flowerbeds, borders, and even container growing.
This guide gives you everything you need to know about growing and caring for the Persian shield in your garden.
Planting Persian Shield
Choose a spot in the garden that receives indirect sunlight. The Persian Shield doesn’t enjoy the full sun, thanks to its dark leaves absorbing light and heat.
These characteristics of the Persian shield make it a suitable houseplant, thriving in indoor environments. If you’re planting indoors, you’ll need to leave it in a bright part of the room, or the plant starts losing its color.
The Persian Shield enjoys growing in rich, loamy soils that drain well. Planting in clay-like soils or compacted ground slows the growth of the plant.
The soil should have a pH range of between 5.5 and 7.5, tolerating slightly acidic soil. However, the plant does not do well in alkaline soils, and you’ll need to amend the soil to an acidic profile before planting.
Temperature and Humidity
The Persian shield likes growing in humid conditions, with temperatures above 60F. While it’s a hardy plant, suiting growing in USDA Zones nine through eleven, the Persian shield is more common in indoor gardens. It’s also a popular annual in cooler climates.
If you’re growing the plant in USDA Zones seven and eight, where you experience mild winters, the plant will die back after the first frost, returning the following spring. In USDA Zones ten and eleven, the plant has evergreen qualities, and gardeners can leave it outdoors year-round.
- Persian Shield Live Plant - Strobilanthes - 2.5" Pot
- Pictures for reference only
- 1 Persian Shield (Strobilanthes Dyerianus) Deep Purple Foliage Live Plant WCRF10
- This listing is for 1 Persian Shield plant similar to the ones in photos.
- Leaves: The leaves are elliptical and grow to about 6 inches long. They are puckered and the tops are washed in purple-pink and silver. The undersides are all purple. Stems are square.
- USDA Hardiness Zones 9–11 and up
The Persian shield is a somewhat thirsty plant. If you’re growing it indoors, you’ll need to mist the plant daily to keep it happy. A humidity tray also offers you an option for increasing humidity around the plant during the day.
If the leaves dry out, they die and drop off the plant. Gardeners need to note that chlorine in tap water can cause damage to the tissue in the leaves. Therefore, gardeners need to water or mist with distilled water for best results.
Water your Persian shield twice a week. If you’re growing in flowerbeds, try to give the plant an inch or two of water per week. If you’re growing in containers, an inch of water each week will suffice. Don’t let the soil dry out completely. Stick your finger around an inch into the ground to check if it’s time to water. If it feels dry, break out the hose or the watering can and give your Persian shield a drink.
If you’re running cold water irrigation in your garden, it may create spots on the leaves. Therefore, if you see spots appearing on your plants after a rain, it’s probably due to the cold rain and not disease infesting the plant.
Provided Persian shields receive good soil and moist growing conditions, they shouldn’t need much fertilizer during the growing season. You can lightly fertilize the plant at the beginning of the spring and again in the mid-summer.
Caring for Persian Shield
The Persian Shield blooms sporadically, especially if it’s indoors. Typically the plant will bloom in the fall or winter. When grown as an annual, the Persian shield won’t flower, refusing to waste its energy on budding and flowering.
Don’t worry about it if the plant doesn’t flower; the blooms are nowhere near as spectacular as the foliage display. We recommend pinching off the blossoms as they appear to drive more of the plant’s energy into producing pretty leaves instead.
Pinching back the lower leaves and the nodes helps to create a bushier plant. Without maintenance and pruning, the Persian shield may start to get leggy and tall, and some may even fall over. It’s important for gardeners to leave the fading leaves that grow after the plant finishes flowering.
These leaves might not look impressive, but it’s a sign that the plant is going into its wintertime dormancy phase. Pruning your plant after it enters dormancy isn’t a good idea, and it may affect growth the following season.
As mentioned, if you leave your Persian Shield to do its thing, it gets tall and leggy, and it might fall over. If you’re growing it as a houseplant, give it the occasional trimming to keep it to a manageable size.
To keep the size down on plants growing in containers, repot them every month until they reach maturity. After the Persian shield establishes itself, you’ll only need to repot every other year.
Pruning the root system also helps to manage the size of your Persian shield. Giving the roots a prune when you repot helps to limit the spread of the plant.
If your Persian shield starts to get leggy, you can take softwood stem cuttings to start another plant.
Propagating Persian Shield
You have the option of propagating a Persian shield from cuttings or seeds. However, finding the seeds is challenging, and most nurseries only carry small plants for transplanting, not the seeds.
If you manage to find some seeds, place them in seedling trays with moist potting soil. Lightly cover the top of the seeds, and ensure that the temperature in the room is between 55F and 64F to inspire germination.
While seeds offer gardeners a way to monitor the entire lifecycle of the plant, they are a hassle to grow. It’s a better idea to propagate your plant using softwood cuttings. Take your cuttings in the late spring or early summer for the best results.
Make sure you use sterilized, clean garden scissors or shears to take your cuttings. Take a two to three-inch cutting from the tip of the stem. Take the cuts below the nodes; this is the intersection of the plant where leaves present from the stems.
After taking your cutting, remove the bottom sets of leaves, leaving the top set.
Mist the plant and remove the tent for an hour each day to give the plant fresh air and reduce the chances of mildew occurring. It takes around 6-weeks for new roots to appear on your cutting. After the plant roots, place it in a container for two months before planting it out into the flowerbed.
What are the Pests and Diseases Affecting Persian Shield?
The Persian shield has to deal with a few pests during the growing season. Typically, pests and diseases are not a problem for indoor plants. The Persian Shield is one of the few plants in your garden that never has to worry about disease.
If your Persian shield develops a pest infestation, use fertilizer or pesticide that doesn’t contain nitrogen. Nitrogen stretches the plant, exacerbating the issue. We recommend avoiding the use of chemical pesticides on your plants.
Instead, try using a solution of diluted neem oil to chase the pests away. Neem oil is non-toxic, and it doesn’t bother your plants. Spray it on the affected area, and the bugs will vacate the premises.
Some of the pests gardeners need to look out for when growing Persian shields include the following.
Persian Shield Varieties
The Persian shield has more than 250 varieties spread across the globe. Most of them reside in Asia, where they have tropical climates.
The plant ranges in size from a few feet tall to a short shrub. Typically, the Persian shield produces leaves that are around eight inches in length. Most plants end up reaching heights of four feet.