josephs coat plant

The Ultimate Guide to Growing and Caring for Joseph’s Coat Plant

Fred Bahnson 

Joseph’s Coat, also known as Joyweed, is a unique and vibrant addition to any garden. With its mounding and spreading ground cover varieties, this fast-grower is prized for its variegated foliage and comes in a wide range of colors and sizes. In this guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to successfully grow and care for this beautiful plant.

Types of Joseph’s Coat

The Alternanthera genus has hundreds of varieties, ranging in color from green to gold and deep maroon. Some are excellent ground covers, reaching up to 1 foot, while others can grow as tall as 3 feet. Here are some popular varieties:

  • Alternanthera ‘Partytime’: Vibrant pink, green, and yellow leaves
  • Alternanthera ‘Gail’s Choice’: Grows as tall as 3 feet; boasts deep purple foliage
  • Alternanthera ‘Little Ruby’: Great ground cover; showy ruby and burgundy foliage



Joseph’s Coat comes from hot, sunny climates, so it thrives in a lot of light. The plant is known for its bright foliage colors, but the eye-catching hues only shine in full sun. These plants can tolerate partial shade but may lose some of their coloring and take on a leggy or lanky look.


Joseph’s Coat loves rich, fertile soil. Before adding it to your garden, amend the soil with plenty of organic matter or compost. This will not only give the plant the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, but also allow for crucial drainage.


Joseph’s Coat needs a lot of water to stay happy. Give it at least an inch per week. Keep soil moisture consistent to avoid any problems. Let the first inch of soil dry out before watering to prevent overwatering. In the winter, your Joseph’s Coat will not need as much water as it does in its active growing months.

Temperature and Humidity

Joseph’s Coat is native to warm climates and cannot survive freezing temperatures. In zones 10 to 11, it can be kept outside year-round as a perennial. However, these plants are annuals in most other USDA zones. They are also native to humid areas, so keeping a regular watering schedule is essential. Adding a layer of mulch to your outside plants will help maintain the needed moisture in the soil.


Joseph’s Coat does not require much fertilizer if planted in rich soil. Too much fertilizer can burn and kill the plant. In poor soil, your Joseph’s Coat would do well with liquid fertilizer, such as fish emulsion, during the summer months. Fertilize in-ground plants every two months. For plants in containers, every two or three weeks is best. During the winter, withhold fertilizer to allow the plant to rest during its naturally slow-growing season.

Common Pests & Diseases

Joseph’s Coat is not commonly threatened by insects or disease, but like most other plants, it can fall victim to mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites. Apply neem oil solution to the stems, leaves (including the undersides), and soil to treat infestations. It can also be susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases like root rot and leaf spot disease.

Common Issues

  • Wilting or Browning Leaves: Leaves that look dehydrated are underwatered or are getting too much sun without enough water to replenish it fast enough. Gradually give it more water to remedy the situation.
  • Yellowing or Pale-Colored Leaves: Foliage that starts to dull or turn yellow, especially its lower leaves, can be a sign of overwatering or root rot.