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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.
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.
Flower colour: cream
Flowering season: not specified
Maximum height: 1 metres
Minimum height: 0.6 metres
Maximum width: 0.9 metres
Minimum width: not specified
This plant will tolerate full or partial sunlight.
Light frost tolerance.
Plant is salt tolerant.
This plant species will grow in the following climates: cool, temperate, subtropical, tropical.
Loam: moist, well-drained.
Clay: moist, well-drained.
Sand: moist, well-drained.
Soil pH: 6.1-7.5
Mealy bug, aphids
Planting season: Any in warmer areas, spring in cooler areas.
Types of fertiliser: Good general purpose fertiliser.