For those of you who want to add more colors to your home garden, the Purple Waffle plant is a perfect candidate. It has small, crinkly leaves that are a rich shade of purple. The full size of purple waffle plant is about 6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 centimeters) tall, just perfect for any home or office.
It is surprisingly easy to grow and keep happy. Purple waffle plant appreciate a warm environment and constantly moist soil. Then the last thing needed is medium to bright indirect light. If there’s not enough light, your plant may start losing its distinctive purple color. On the other hand, too much direct sunlight can make the leaves of your purple waffle plant turn crispy.
In this article, I will show you what other factors contribute, other than sunlight, to purple waffle plant leaves turning crispy and also what should you do about it. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!
What’s the Natural Texture of Purple Waffle Plant Leaves
The Purple Waffle plant, native to the tropical regions of India and Malaysia, naturally thrives in warm and humid environments. In its native habitat, this plant can be found growing as a ground cover, spreading its vibrant purple foliage across the forest floor.
Purple waffle plant, scientifically known as Hemigraphis alternata, got its name after two eye-catching (and hand-catching) characteristics. Its foliage is vibrant and a rich shade of purple. When you touch the leaves, they have a distinct waffle-like texture.
This natural texture serves as a clever adaptation to the humid conditions, allowing the plant to minimize water loss through its leaves while maximizing the surface area available for moisture absorption.
The leaves should not feel dry or crumbly. If they feel crispy and dry, there may be an issue going on in the background.
Why are Purple Waffle Plant Leaves Crispy
Crispy leaves on your Purple Waffle Plant can be a sign of thirst, much like a plant’s way of saying, “I need water!” Yet, too much sun can also cause this issue, along with low humidity levels. Check the soil moisture, it should be moist but not overly wet. Also, make sure your plant isn’t standing all day under direct sunlight.
Crispy leaves won’t be able to recover, so it’s best to trim them away to support your plant’s overall health.
In this section, we’ll take a look at all the different causes of the leaves turning crispy and how to address them. All these causes are highly interlinked – if your plant is getting too much sunlight, the water will evaporate more, leading to easier underwatering issues, etc. Take this as a general guideline of all the things that must be in check in order to grow a healthy purple waffle plant.
One of the common reasons behind those crispy leaves on your purple waffle plant is a simple case of thirst. When your plant doesn’t receive enough water, its leaves begin to dry out and turn crispy.
While these plants don’t enjoy having their roots soaked constantly, they do appreciate consistent moisture. Generally, you will need to water your plant every one to two weeks, more often during hotter months.
As a general guideline, water your purple waffle plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Insert your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle – – if it feels dry at that depth, it’s time to water. Don’t beat yourself over when you forgot to water it, establish a routine, and your plant will thrive.
Underwatering will show off way before the leaves become crispy. As an initial sign of underwatering you should look for discoloration or brown spots on the leaves. If you see one or two leaves like that, it's natural. But a whole plant with pale leaves should be addressed.
2. Excessive Sunlight Exposure
Sunlight is beneficial for every living organism. But, too much of a good thing can sometimes be detrimental to your purple waffle plant’s leaf health.
If your plant is getting too much direct sunlight, it can lead to stress and result in those crispy leaves. It is also connected to increased water loss through evaporation. When the plant is subjected to intense sunlight, it loses water more rapidly, leading to dehydration.
Purple waffle plant prefers indirect sunlight. If your plant is indoors, find a location with bright, filtered light or create it by using curtains or sheer fabric. When it calls the outdoors its home, try to find a shaded spot. Alternatively, you can strategically place other tall plants that can create shade for the smaller ones.
3. Low Humidity
The comfort of your home may not always match the native tropical habitat of the purple waffle plant, especially in the winter when heaters dry the air.
In environments where the air is dry, the plant struggles to retain the moisture it needs for healthy foliage. As a result, the leaves lose their vitality and become crispy at the edges.
To counteract this issue, raise the humidity around your plant. You can achieve this by misting the leaves regularly, placing a tray of water nearby, or using a humidifier. Alternatively, you can place your purple waffle plant in the bathroom. They love a hot, moist environment, and your bathroom may be the ideal place for this.
The purple waffle plant is easy to grow and care for, with just enough sunlight and adequate watering. However, things can easily turn for the worse when there’s too much of the first thing and not enough of the second.
When your plant is getting too much direct sunlight and not enough water (separately or at the same time), the leaves of your purple waffle plant can turn crispy. To address these concerns, maintain a balanced watering routine, the soil should be constantly moist but never soggy, and find the right amount of sunlight. By following these simple yet impactful guidelines, you can ensure that your plant and its purple foliage will thrive.