Strobilanthes dyerianus
Common Name: Persian shield 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Acanthaceae
Native Range: Burma
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Violet
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Wet Soil

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. In St. Louis, grow as annual bedding plants that are replaced in the garden each spring or in pots/containers which are overwintered indoors or as houseplants. Pinch stems as needed to avoid legginess and stimulate bushiness. Best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Likes consistently moist soils. Best foliage color in part shade. Full sun is probably best only in cool summer climates. Plants may be overwintered indoors in a bright sunny room, however as plants age and begin to develop woody stems the quality of the foliage color usually declines. Consider taking cuttings from overwintered plants for spring planting and/or taking cuttings in late summer for overwintering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Strobilanthes dyerianus, commonly called Persian shield, is native to Burma (Myanmar). It is a soft-stemmed, tropical, evergreen shrub or subshrub that is grown primarily for its attractive iridescent purple foliage. It grows 3-4’ tall in frost-free climates, but typically grows 1-3’ in the St. Louis area. Features ovate-lanceolate dark green leaves (to 8” long) that are flushed with silvery-purple iridescence above and dark purple beneath. Spikes of tiny violet 5-lobed funnel-shaped flowers usually do not bloom during the St. Louis growing season, but infrequently may be seen on overwintered plants in greenhouses. Flowers appear in short cone-shaped inflorescences, thus giving rise to the less frequently used common name of Burmuda conehead. Synonymous with Strobilanthes dyeriana.

Genus name comes from the Greek words strobilos meaning a cone and anthos meaning a flower for the form of the flower-head in some species.

Specific epithet recognizes botanist Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer (1843-1928), Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from 1885-1905.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for spider mites on indoor plants. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Annual bedding plant. Containers. Houseplant.