The Persian Shield or Strobilanthes Dyerianus is an indoor spectacle that shimmers in neon shades of purple, which are veined with green throughout the year. The colorful leaves sometimes outshine the flowers, especially having a strikingly bloom in winter, giving you a colorful spot throughout the year. This native of Myanmar (previously Burma) comes with six inches long leaves and will grow to a height of 3ft or 1meter, giving you an extravagantly colorful bush indoor throughout its life.
To grow and care for a Persian Shield water it once a week or every ten days to keep the soil moist. However, do not soak the plant. Keep it under indirect bright light. Persian Shield requires warm temperatures above 60ºF/15.5ºC and high humidity levels. Its soil should be well-drained and have a pH between 5.5 and 7.5.
The Persian Shield will only perform its dazzling purple neon show when you provide adequate care to your plant. It also rewards plant owners with beautiful spike flowers in autumn and winter when it is satisfied with the quality of care you provide.
Here is a detailed guide on how to care for this gardening spectacle.
Basic Care Guidelines
Persian shields love moist soil at all times as long as it does not get soggy. It does not tolerate drought, requiring you to water it once each week or within ten days. Check the moisture levels an inch or two below the surface of the soil to ensure that it is wet.
Pay special attention to watering during winter. Remember, while the plant flowers during this season, low temperatures mean that evaporation from the soil is limited. Reduce the amount and frequency of watering but do not allow the soil to dry because it will affect flowering.
Mulching may help to maintain the right moisture without too much watering in summer. The Persian Shield is very sensitive to soggy soil and will begin having problems with root rot. Beyond providing sufficient water, ensure that the potting container provides sufficient drainage to protect your plant from getting soggy.
Drainage could take away the nutrients that the plant requires to thrive. Adding grit or sand also makes the soil too porous such that it does not hold water. The best option is to use compost that holds water around the roots while still offering adequate aeration. The compost will also enhance the nutritional value of the soil, supporting this heavy feeder to produce bushy foliage.
Balance watering with temperature and the amount of light. Where the water is limited, provide a shade. A heavily watered Persian Shield will require high temperatures and robust air circulation. The water should be at room temperature because cold water causes leaf spots.
Persian shield loves damp air. It requires humidity levels from 50%-60% that are balanced with high temperatures and excellent air circulation. If the air around is too dry, the leaves will curl, lose their color, and eventually drop.
The neon purple leaves require daily misting to keep them vibrant and colorful. This is an option for plant owners who love tending to plants daily and are not forgetful. Several days without misting could be disastrous to the leaves and could lead to the loss of the entire plant.
Keep the plant away from AC vents and appliances that generate drafts. The drafts drain humidity around the plant, leaving the air dry. Therefore, all the misting you will have done and other interventions will be futile.
A pebble tray around the plant will help to improve humidity. Water evaporates around the leaves to provide the perfect humid conditions. Your role will be to ensure that the tray never runs dry. It is a perfect option for the forgetful plant owners and those who love flowers indoors without the taxing duty of daily care.
Plant grouping is also an option to trap the humidity around the leaves. However, the space around the pot must not be too crowded that it hides the spectacle of this showy plant. An electric humidifier is also an option worth exploring, but you must prepare for the cost.
Use soft water for misting to protect the leaves from the chlorine that easily damages the leaves. Allow tap water to age for a day before using it for misting or watering. Other options include filtering or distilling misting water to eliminate the damaging impurities.
Persian Shield thrives in rich and well-drained loam or sandy soil. The soil may be alkaline, neutral, or acidic but should have a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. While draining excess water, the soil must also hold enough nutrients for this heavy feeding plant.
Peat moss is an excellent choice of potting material for Persian Shield. It only retains a reasonable amount of water yet allows the soil to breathe and hold nutrients. You can add it to your yard soil during potting to improve its quality. A half-share of perlite will also help to boost the quality of your potting mix.
The robust growing Persian Shield requires enough soil in the pot to sustain the broad roots and foliage network. The plant grows to a width of up to 1meter and will rise to a meter as well. You will, thus, require a large container that can hold enough soil to support such a robust growing plant.
Why would you keep such a colorful plant away from the light? The Persian Shield prefers bright light to shine on the leaves and activate its showy nature. It thrives when placed near the window where it can draw as much light as possible.
Bright light should not translate into direct sunlight exposure. While you place the plant near the window, maintain a meter away from the windowpane. The distance allows the filtering of light coming directly from the sun.
When growing outside, it can tolerate direct sun though the leaves will appear dusty and faded. It is best to grow it in a shaded area, especially where it can enjoy the morning and late afternoon sunlight. Provide shade during hot summer days to protect the leaves from scorching.
High humidity will help to protect the leaves if you live in a sunny place. Therefore, the plant will require some misting or the use of a pebble dish at the bottom. A humidifier will also help to balance the hot sun by humidifying the flower regularly.
Persian Shield requires regular rotation so that all leaves get enough sun. Failure to rotate the plant will result in a leggy plant as it tries to reach the sun. It will appreciate a position where it can receive light from all directions.
Temperature is one of the elements that you will never have to worry about when growing the Persian Shield unless it gets to the extremes of freezing or scorching sun. It requires a warm-towards-hot environment between 60ºF/15.5ºC and 85ºF/29.4ºC.
Temperature affects soil moisture, humidity, and the radiance of the leaves of a Persian Shield. The plant will also thrive based on the prevailing temperature. Moderate to a high temperature of up to 100ºF/37.7ºC promotes robust growth but must be complemented with high humidity, soil moisture, and fertility. Temperatures beyond 100ºF/37.7ºC will scorch the leaves.
The Persian Shield also flowers when grown in moderately high temperatures even though it waits for autumn and winter to bloom.
Low temperature also demands reduced lighting and will reduce the rate of maturity for your plant. The temperatures should never go below 50ºF/10ºC. This is why you are advised to bring the plant inside during winter. Remember that it does not go into full-blown dormancy and will, therefore, require some warmth to bloom.
The colorful Persian Shield will produce spectacular leaves and flowers when you press the right button during care. Special attention to such care points as fertilization, pruning, and repotting, among others, will produce a spectacular flower.
Here are a few advanced tips that will give you attention-grabbing flower indoor.
Persian Shield produces robust foliage and has a dense root structure that will require considerable feeding. The potting mixture must, therefore, provide sufficient nutrients to support the intense growing plant. Add plenty of compost because it holds sufficient nutrients and releases them slowly for the roots.
Persian Shield requires fertilizer application during autumn and winter when it thrives. These are also the seasons when it flowers, requiring more fertilizer. Reduce fertilizer during spring and summer to avoid overfeeding.
Because the Persian Shield is sensitive to soil composition, it is advisable to avoid granular fertilizers that would result in the chemical buildup. Use liquid fertilizer diluted to half-measure to ease absorption and protect the soil.
Compost is one of the best fertilizers to use on Persian Shield because it plays the triple role of enhancing nutrient composition, boosting aeration, and promoting better drainage.
It almost feels painful to cut these glorious leaves. However, pruning will add to the overall beauty of your plant. Too much foliage and such incidences as overfeeding or low lighting result in a leggy Persian Shield. Your indoor spectacle will turn into an eyesore if you fail to prune it regularly.
The best time to prune the Persian Shield is early spring to encourage bushy and fresh foliage. Warm temperatures around these seasons also hasten healing, helping your plant to recover faster. Cut the old and faded leaves that damage the appearance of your flower. In case your plant is attacked by pests or diseases, this is the time to eliminate the affected stalks.
The sensitive Persian Shield requires particular soils, free from chemical buildup or sogginess. Sogginess causes problems with root rot, while chemicals from fertilizers or water will affect nutrient availability. If you take care of fertilization and watering, the need for repotting will reduce significantly.
The fast-growing Persian Shield will also overgrow the original pot within a year or two. Strong growing roots also demand perennial repotting. Hence, repotting is also used to reduce the speed of growth and control the size of your flower.
Use a fresh potting mix to improve the quality of your soil and nutrient availability. Dip the roots in water to shed off as much soil without disturbing the roots. Place the plant in the middle of the pot and pour the potting mixture. Add water and place the new pot in a warm but shaded area. The best time to repot your Persian Shield is the warm months of spring and summer.
Persian Shield is propagated using seeds or cutting. However, since flowering is rare, cuttings would be the best option. It is done between spring and summer when it is warm enough to promote rooting.
Cut a slice of the stem around the middle and remove the leaves. Place it on water or in moist soil. It will take two to three weeks for roots to emerge without the assistance of rooting hormones.
Persian Shield is quite resistant to diseases but susceptible to pests. The most common pests are spider mites and fungus gnats. The mites pierce holes on the leaves, causing spots, yellowing, and your plant’s eventual death. You will need pesticides to deal with the mites that could burrow in the soil.
Frequently Asked Questions about Persian Shield (Strobilanthes Dyeriana)
Is Persian Shield Annual or Perennial?
It can be grown as an annual house plant in a cooler climate or as a perennial house plant in the hot regions. It will, therefore, depend on where you are growing it and the kind of care you provide.
Is the Persian Shield toxic to pets?
It might cause minimal distress when ingested but not enough to be regarded as toxic. It may also cause slight irritation on the skin when the pets come into contact with its sap.
Will my Persian Shield root in water?
Warm water enhanced with rooting hormones will help your Persian Shield to root.
Why is my Persian Shield Turning brown?
Check whether the soil is too dry. The sun or heat might be too much that they are burning the leaves. Spider mites could also have infected your plant, and it might be on its way to dying.
What are the good companion plants for Persian Shield?
The plants must prefer similar conditions to what the Persian Shield preferably humidity, temperature, and heat. These plants include Pretoria Canna, Fiery Red Coleus, Brug Peaches, and Calathea Louiseii. However, you can make your unique combination because there is a wide range of plants that can tolerate similar conditions.