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Alternanthera dentata 'Firebug' is a colourful groundcovering perennial. Use as a contrast or accent plant in warmer areas, or as as an annual in cooler climates, as it is frost tender. It makes a good low hedge plant, for massed plantings, for contrast in flower beds, and is a good container plant. Also good for green wall planting. 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.
This plant is becoming an environmental weed in wet areas in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Flower colour: cream
Flowering season: winter
Maximum height: 0.5 metres
Minimum height: not specified
Maximum width: 0.5 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.
Loam: moist, well-drained.
Clay: moist, well-drained.
Soil pH: 6.1-7.5
Mealy bugs, aphids
Planting season: Any in warm areas, spring in cooler areas.
Types of fertiliser: Good general purpose fertiliser, high nitrogen fertiliser will stimulate foliage growth.