Home Plants Alternanthera True Yellow – A Classic Perennial Plant

Alternanthera True Yellow – A Classic Perennial Plant

by gardeningit
Alternanthera True Yellow

Alternanthera True Yellow, a small perennial plant having thick chartreuse-yellow, cupped to crinkled shaped leaves and small white-colored flowers, is a tropical plant that is widely used for mass plantings, border edging, and in hanging baskets. The yellow to green foliage of this compact plant makes a perfect backdrop in home gardens for other larger plants with showy foliage or inflorescence.

This True Yellow Alternanthera is a cultivar of Alternanthera ficoidea from the Amaranthaceae family of flowering plants. The leaves of Alternanthera True Yellow resemble the shriveled-shaped leaves of Alternanthera ficoidea. Both of these species are incredible accent groundcovers.

Common Names

  • Calico Plant
  • Joseph’s Coat
  • Parrot Leaf


  • Genus: Alternanthera
  • Family: Amaranthaceae
  • Subfamily: Gomphrenoideae
  • Cultivar: Alternanthera True Yellow

About The Genus Alternanthera

This is a genus of flowering plants that are mostly herbs or subshrubs. It is a widespread genus that is commonly found in the tropical parts of America, mostly North America. However, some of its species are also found in Australia, Asia, and Africa.

These plants are notorious weeds; that is why these are also known as joyweeds. The species of this tropical genus are mostly terrestrial, but some species have aquatic plants too. These plants are known to produce allelopathic components that are harmful to other plants, such as crops.

Some of these species are edible, some are highly toxic, while some others are used as ornamental houseplants.

Origin and Distribution

These adorable compact plants are cultivars of Alternanthera ficoidea. These were first cultivated for their dense and bright colored foliage and exquisitely shaped leaves that make these shrubs a perfect ornamental plant for mass plantings.

Alternanthera True yellow, unlike its fellow species, is not originally from North America. It is a tropical plant that is mostly found in the wide tropical belt, mostly in South America, Asia, and Africa. These plants can also be grown in the tropical and warmer parts of Australia.

Alternanthera True Yellow Features

Foliage and Stem

These herbaceous plants have dense foliage that adds texture to the home gardens and works as a perfect backdrop for bold-colored flowering plants. These adorable plants grow new buds in early spring. These compact shrubs have chartreuse colored leaves. The bright yellow color gradually turns to greenish-yellow as the leaves grow older.

Alternanthera True Yellow has an herbaceous stem that is delicate and soft compared to the hardy stems. However, it still holds up the plant straight and erect. The stem can also be mounted for decorative purposes or to change its course of growth.


Alternanthera True Yellow is majorly known for its exquisite leaves and foliage. It does not have showy flowers or apparent fruit. It bears white-colored flowers that are just 1 inch in length and are very hard to notice. Its flowers and fruit are not ornamentally significant.


This beautiful perennial shrub is an evergreen plant that does not shed its leaves and whose foliage remains fresh green and functional throughout the year. This feature is what makes this fast-growing plant perfect for mass planting, as it will never lose its volume.


This eye-catching plant has a small height of just 6-12 inches. It matures when its height reaches 6 inches. The small height makes this plant easy to handle and easy to place; you can place it anywhere inside your home, on your bedside table, or your kitchen table; you can also place it in hanging baskets.

Temperature Tolerance

This adorable Alternanthera True Yellow is a temperature tolerant plant that survives extreme heat provided that it is placed in well-drained and moist soil. It is a tropical plant, so it prefers warmer temperatures. But protect your Alternanthera from chilling temperatures and frost.


True Yellow Alternanthera is a humidity tolerant plant that can survive high levels of humidity. Being a tropical plant, it loves to get misted all the time. Regulate a high humidity level in its surroundings. Mist your plant often to keep the humidity levels from dropping.

Drought Tolerance

It is a drought-tolerant plant that can manage to survive harsh conditions, such as droughts. It can store water in its juicy and herbaceous stem. This retained water helps it through dry seasons.


The small and compact size of Alternanthera True Yellow cannot bear external pressure from other big plants. If you are planning to place your True Yellows with your collection of large-sized, sturdy plants, make sure you give your Alternanthera enough space to grow, away from external pressure.

Disease and Pest Tolerance

This miniature species of the Amaranthaceae family is prone to slugs. The slugs are harmful to the dense True Yellow foliage. Slugs eat their leaves and stem, causing holes in them.

If you see any slugs crawling around your Alternanthera True Yellow, you have to get rid of them immediately before they cause irreversible damage to your pretty collection. Apply nematodes to the soil, and create a slippery and prickly barrier to get rid of slugs from your home garden.

This plant is also prone to Botrytis disease that is caused by a fungus, Botrytis cinerea. If your plant catches Botrytis, white-smudgy growth will start to grow on its foliage. Cut out the infected leaves to prevent this disease from destroying your whole plant.


This appealing tropical shrub has a fast growth rate that reaches its mature height in just some weeks. Its thick foliage covers a width of 18 inches and a mature height of 6 inches. If cared for properly and placed in optimum conditions, this True Yellow Alternanthera can live up to 5 years.


This species of the Alternanthera genus is highly toxic and should not be ingested by humans or animals. It produces certain compounds to deter predators and insects; these compounds are toxic to humans. Alternanthera has been proven to be highly poisonous to sheep.

If you are planning to bring your Alternanthera True Yellow indoors, keep your pets away from these poisonous shrubs.


This plant lives up to 5 years as it is a durable herb that can survive the pressure and extreme conditions. This plant can live through a fair amount of neglect as it is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but do not leave it unattended for weeks.


Your True Yellow Alternanthera does not ask for much attention and care as it is a relatively low-maintenance plant. You need not worry about its long list of needs. Just place it in well-drained, moist soil in full sun and watch it thrive.

Alternanthera True Yellow Care

Caring for Alternanthera True Yellow is a child’s play. It needs 3 hours of direct sunlight or partial shade. Water it moderately and keep it in slightly acidic soil of pH 5.6-6.5. It grows best in USDA plant hardiness zones of 9b to 11.

Water Requirements

This tropical plant is fond of moist soil, but it does not need to be watered frequently. Water your True Yellow only when its soil completely dries out. Prevent your plant from standing water as it can damage its root system and fresh foliage.


The adorable True Yellow species grow best in moderately to slightly acid soil with pH ranging from (5.6 – 6.5). The trick for conserving moisture is to apply thick mulch around the roots and topsoil.


This tropical plant is a sunlight-loving plant that prefers direct sunlight to partial shade. If you are going to place your Alternanthera True yellow indoor, place it in a spot where it receives 3 hours of direct sunlight. This light exposure is necessary for the proper growth of its thick and fresh foliage.

Temperature Requirements

The optimum temperature for this miniature plant is 8-15°C. It grows best in warmer climates where it receives enough sunlight.


This tropical plant is a fast-growing shrub that needs to be fed often. Proper feeding with appropriate types of fertilizers will let your Alternanthera True Yellow thrive and grow lush. Feed your True Yellow with soluble fertilizer or a balanced NPK fertilizer that contains all the three essential nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.

You can also add top dress fertilizers to the media surface of your containerized plant.

Grooming and Pruning

Being a beautiful topiary performer, Alternanthera True Yellow needs to be pruned before each growing season. You can also cut out the extra dead leaves and stem ending every two weeks; this stimulates its growth.


Your Alternanthera reaches half of its height in just a month. It grows up to its mature height in 8 to 10 weeks. This is the time when your True Yellow needs to be repotted in a larger pot.

After every 4-5 months, repot your Alternanthera to a larger pot with washed drainage holes.

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The best method to propagate an Alternanthera True Yellow is through the tissue culture technique. You can also propagate your True Yellow on your own through its stem and tip cuttings.

It is always wise to propagate these plants as these are a fine choice for mass plantings and carpet bedding.

Final Thoughts

All indoors need a touch of nature that keeps the inside environment fresh and tranquil. All home gardens need some filler plants that attract the observer’s attention through their effect of flow. Alternanthera True Yellow can do both.

It is a compact plant with curled and crinkled yellow-colored leaves that is best-suited for border edging, mass planting, hanging baskets, container planting, and general garden use. This pretty plant hardly has any negative features; this adorable shrub must be added to every home garden collection.

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