A waffle plant (*Hemigraphis alternata* or *Strobilanthes alternata*), also commonly known as a purple waffle plant, has vibrant green leaves with rich purple undersides and a rumpled and puckered texture reminiscent of a Belgian waffle. Originally from Java, this tropical plant’s other popular names include cemetery plant, red ivy, metal leaf plant, and red flame ivy. \nWaffle plants’ small surface area suits them to being common indoor plants. Low-maintenance and attractive year-round, they grow just as well indoors in hanging baskets and [terrariums](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-make-a-terrarium) as they do outside in partial shade. Waffle plants can grow outside and provide excellent ground cover for other new growths in your garden. One clear benefit to growing them indoors, however, is that you’re more in control of their climatic conditions. This comes in handy if you live in a [hardiness zone](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/guide-to-planting-zones) that’s a little less humid or more chilly than they’re used to naturally.\nWaffle plants are easy to take care of, but they still need sustenance and attentiveness to succeed. Follow these seven steps to grow and care for your own waffle plants.\n\n1. __Ensure ideal soil conditions__. Waffle plants thrive in damp potting soil with ample drainage holes. Moist soil, so long as it isn’t overly wet or flooded, helps ensure these plants enter their growing season healthily. Too much water for your soil can lead to root rot, so make sure you have a system in place to drain excess moisture.\n2. __Mimic humid conditions__. Since waffle plants hail from a tropical climate, it’s important to treat them to a climate of high humidity (either real or artificial). If you don’t live in an area that’s very humid, misting these plants routinely can be extremely important. Planting them in or near a pebble tray can also help them retain humidity.\n3. __Get just enough light__. Bright, indirect light is what waffle plants need to thrive. Too much direct sun can lead to sun bleach on their leaves, but too little direct sunlight makes their leaves lose their colorful luster. As long as these plants are in [partial shade](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/types-of-sunlight-for-gardening)—either inside or outside—they can be eager growers.\n4. __Use plant fertilizers__. Fertilizing these plants regularly is essential. Applying a slow-release houseplant fertilizer every month or so will expedite their growth cycle and keep their roots healthy and their coloring vivid.\n5. __Drive away pests__. As with anything else in your garden, waffle plants may attract their fair share of pests. In particular, waffle plants attract scale insects—check for their honeydew secretions to tip you off as to whether these pests are starting to eat the waffle plant’s leaves. They also count whiteflies and aphids as common nuisances. Using an insecticidal soap after early detection can help solve a pest problem. \n6. __Prune when necessary__. Pruning your waffle plants can prevent them from becoming unwieldy, although their small size is very manageable overall. Additionally, if you notice a set of leaves succumbing to any form of plant disease, it’s best to use your pruning shears to remove any diseased plant matter before the issue spreads.\n7. __Repot and propagate plentifully__. Repotting and propagating waffle plants is simple. Take stem cuttings and replant them in different soil if you’re looking to start a new plant without taking too much girth off your main one. Alternatively, you can pull up the plant’s entire root ball, split it in two or more pieces, and then replant each root network into different pots or plots of your garden to split up the initial plant more substantially.\nGrow your own garden with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/) and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.\nA waffle plant can be a colorful and crinkly addition to your garden or a unique and decorative houseplant.