Heterocentron–commonly called Spanish shawl–is a tropical trailing perennial with slender, reddish stems. It grows to just 4 inches (10cm) tall and has small leaves with prominent veins and bears white, pink, or purple flowers.
Heterocentron is grown as a groundcover in tropical regions. The slender stems of a single plant form a mat 18 inches (45cm) across. Where Heterocentron is not hardy, it can be grown as a houseplant or in a hanging basket set outdoors in summer.
Heterocentron is a genus of about 25 herbaceous perennials and low-growing evergreen shrubs. Heterocentron is native to open bush in Mexico, and Central and South America. One species, Heterocentron elegans, is commonly cultivated as a houseplant,
Get to Know Heterocentron
- Plant type: Perennial
- Growing zones and range: Zones 12-15
- Hardiness: Tender
- Height and width: 4 inches (10-cm) tall and 18 inches (45cm) wide
- Foliage: Heart-shaped to lance-shaped, pale to dark green leaves
- Flowers: Open, funnel-shaped, 4-petaled, white, pink, or mauve flowers, singlly or in panicles
- Bloom time: Summer into autumn and winter
- Uses: Groundcover in tropical regions; houseplant
- Common name: Spanish shawl
- Botanical name: Heterocentron
- Family name: Melastomataceae
- Origin: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras
Where to Plant Heterocentron
- Light outdoors: Plant Heterocentron in full sun.
- Soil outdoors: Grow in moderately fertile, well-drained soil.
- Light indoors: Plant in full light
- Soil indoors: Grow Heterocentron in a soil-based potting mix.
When to Plant Heterocentron
- Sow seed or set out plants in spring or early summer.
Planting and Spacing Heterocentron
- Space Heterocentron 18 inches (45cm) apart.
How to Water and Feed Heterocentron
- Water Heterocentro to keep the soil evenly moist but not wet. Keep the soil moist in winter.
- Fertilize Heterocentro monthly; apply a balanced liquied fertilizer.
- Pinc h out growing tips to keep Heterocentron bushy.
Growing Heterocentron as a Houseplant
- Grow Heterocentron in averae temperatrue, bright light, and high humidity.
- Grow in rich potting medium; keep the medium evenly moist.
Heterocentron Pests and Diseases
- Heterocentron is rarely bothered by pests or diseases.
- Sow seed in spring.
- Divide or root softwood cuttinngs in spring or early summer.
Heterocentron Varieties to Grow
- Heterocentron elegans, Spanish shawl. Carpet-forming, evergreen subshrub with dense, ovate to oblong, fristly to downy mid-green leaves to 1 inch long; funnel-shaped magentat flowers.