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Alternanthera dentata (Joy weed, Alternanthera, Gomphrena, Calico plant)

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Helpful articles

Garden Themes. This article describes various garden themes that should work well within Australia.

Angus's Top Gum Trees for Gardens. Angus Stewart's list of the best gum trees (Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora) for Australian gardens.

Native grasses and friends. An exciting thing is happening in the world of Australian plants. Wild species that have tantalised gardeners in the past are now being improved to create a diverse palette of new varieties that offer all kinds of advantages. In particular, the necessity for water-wise, low maintenance gardens has inspired interest in plants that can be used as ground covers that will not only suppress weeds and erosion but also look fantastic.

External privacy screens. External privacy screens began to appear in Australian residential and commercial building during the 1950's and 1960's, as a direct result of high density living and higher incomes. For more information and some examples read this article.

Plant description

alternanthera dentata joyweed.

alternanthera dentata alternathea

Alternanthera dentata is a low growing, groundcovering perennial with colourful foliage. It makes a great contrast or accent plant in warmer areas, and is low maintenance. It is frost tender, and can be used as an annual in cooler climates. It makes a good low hedge plant, for massed plantings, for contrast in flower beds, and is a good container plant. It bears clusters of small white flowers, but the plant is grown for the foliage colour.

Alternanthera likes a part shade to full sun position, but the best colour is developed in the sun. It does best in moist, well drained soil, but is an adaptable plant to different situations. Lightly trim the plant to encourage a compact habit, or to keep the plant to a particular size. They respond well to regular tip pruning. 

The leaves are edible, and can be used raw or in soups and stews. They should not be eaten by pregnant women. A poultice of the leaves can be used for boils.

Propagation is from cuttings, which root readily.

This plant is also known as Alternanthera brasiliana, Gomphrena dentata, Gomphrena brasiliensis and Telanthera dentata.

Additional plant information

Flowers

Flower colour: cream
Flowering season: not specified

Plant size

Maximum height: 1 metres
Minimum height: 0.6 metres

Maximum width: 0.9 metres
Minimum width: not specified

Sunlight, frost & salt tolerance

This plant will tolerate full or partial sunlight.
Light frost tolerance.
Plant is salt tolerant.

Fauna attracting?

Not specified.

Climate

This plant species will grow in the following climates: cool, temperate, subtropical, tropical.

Soil types & conditions

Loam: moist, well-drained.

Clay: moist, well-drained.

Sand: moist, well-drained.

Soil pH: 6.1-7.5

Pests

Mealy bug, aphids

Miscellaneous information

Planting season: Any in warmer areas, spring in cooler areas.

Types of fertiliser: Good general purpose fertiliser.

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