If you’re looking for a plant that effortlessly combines toughness and beauty, look no further than the Jacobs Coat plant. This tropical wonder, also known as Joseph’s Coat, brings a burst of color to any landscape with its richly colored foliage. From the moment spring arrives until the first frost of autumn, the Jacobs Coat thrives, making it a favorite among both home gardeners and professional landscapers.
Native to Mexico and Brazil, the Jacobs Coat belongs to the Alternanthera ficoidia family, alongside celosia and gomphrena. These plants thrive in full sun, so be sure to provide them with a sunny spot in your garden. Additionally, they prefer fertile, well-drained soil. If your soil doesn’t meet these requirements, don’t worry! Simply add 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and till the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches to create the ideal growing conditions for these stunning plants.
To give your Jacobs Coat the best start, incorporate two pounds of a slow-release 12-6-6 fertilizer with micronutrients for every 100 square feet of bed space. Once your soil is prepared, set out nursery-grown transplants 6 to 10 inches apart in late spring.
Maintaining the beauty of your Jacobs Coat plant is as easy as keeping it sheared to a low-growing, compact form. These resilient plants perform admirably over a long period, so be sure to water them during droughts and apply a light fertilizer three times throughout the summer and early fall.
Thinking it’s too late in the year to add some vibrant color to your garden? Think again! Many garden centers offer large, high-quality Jacobs Coat plants during this time, providing you with weeks of brilliant color.
The Jacobs Coat plant is a standout addition to tropical-style gardens. Experiment with creating a tropical bed, combining these plants with bananas, elephant ears, cannas, impatiens, and coleus. For an even more fascinating display, try pairing them with caladiums. The possibilities for interesting combinations are endless.
For those looking to make a personal or artistic statement with their garden, the Jacobs Coat is among the best choices. Imagine spelling out the family name or creating a unique design with the various varieties of Joseph’s Coats. During my time as a student, I always looked forward to seeing Texas A&M spelled out on campus using Joseph’s Coats. The maroon-leafed variety formed the letters, while the background was composed of a lime green selection.
When selecting Jacobs Coat varieties, keep an eye out for Filigree, Magnifica, Parrot Feather, Tricolor, and Versicolor. Each one offers something special for your garden.
Lastly, don’t forget to consider the stunning Purple Knight, a selection of A. dentata. While it may not be available until next spring, this plant is truly incredible. It was initially expected to reach a height of 18 inches, but in my own garden, it has grown to an impressive 36 inches, spreading with abandon. The deep, dark purple leaves are produced continuously, even in high heat and humidity. For the best visual impact, place Purple Knight in the middle of a flower border and pair it with rudbeckias or New Gold lantana.
If you’re interested in propagating your own Jacobs Coat plants, they are relatively easy to root from cuttings. Simply strip the leaves from the bottom of a 6-inch cutting and place it in moist sand or peat, ensuring at least one set of leaves remains above the soil.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to bring the captivating beauty of Jacobs Coat plants to your garden. With their stunning foliage and resilience, they are sure to transform any outdoor space into a vibrant oasis of color and life.
Visit the Ames Farm Center for more information and to purchase your own Jacobs Coat plants.