Hemigraphis (Red Ivy), a climbing plant, is popular in the United States for hanging baskets but a rarity in Britain. Red Ivy has colored leaves – silvery in the shade, metallic purple when exposed to a few hours’ sunshine. Its satiny leaves are slender and lance-shaped with toothed, scalloped, or lobed margins. Hemigraphis is not an easy plant to grow, but it is not quite as difficult as indicated by some textbooks. It needs winter warmth, moist air, and pruning when stems become straggly.
Hemigraphis is an excellent garden plant. Its white flowers grow intermittently throughout the year.
Hemigraphis alternata is the usual one offered for sale. Despite its name, this plant is quite different from a true Ivy – growth is limited to 1-1½ ft and the 3 in. leaves are oval. Hemigraphis exotica (or Waffle plant) has puckered leaves. If growing waffle plants in direct sun, much of the foliage color washes out and leaf tips can burn. Keep growing waffle plants away from drafts as well.
Secret of success
Temperature: Average or above average warmth in summer. Minimum 55°F in winter.
Light: Bright light or semi-shade. Some direct sun will enhance color.
Water: Water liberally from spring to fall. Water sparingly in winter.
Air humidity: Mist leaves regularly.
Soil: Hemigraphis prefers a slightly acid, moist soil. Apply a well balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.
Repotting: Repot in spring every year.
Propagation: Take stem cuttings in late spring or summer.
Pests and diseases: Mealybugs look like white puffs of cotton can attack the plant. They suck plant juices and heavy infestations will coat the leaves with sticky honeydew.
Hemigraphis ‘Blackberry Waffle’