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Heterocentron elegans (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Heterocentron elegans (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Zone
Zones 15-24
Partial Sun
Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Heterocentron elegans

Spanish Shawl
Melastomataceae
Perennials

Colorful Mexican and Guatemalan native formerly known as Schizocentron elegans. Grows to just 2–4 in. high and 1 1/2 ft. wide, with a creeping, vinelike habit. Glossy, oval evergreen leaves may take on reddish tones as the season advances. In summer, inch-wide magenta flowers appear among the leaves; calyxes remain after blossoms have withered. When used as a groundcover, blooming plants look like a carpet of bright bougainvillea. Great in hanging baskets. Needs frost protection in Zones 15, 16, 18–20. Best in partial shade but tolerates full sun (in cooler climates) as well as full shade. Protect from snails and slugs.

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