Photos by Sean Hogan, cistus design nursery and author Mark Leichty

The plant forms a dense, rhizomatous root system which gives rise to a lovely carpet of purple-brown scalloped leaves. It has a creeping habit, and in some cases, may need to be kept in check by removing unwanted incursions into surrounding areas. It has not been aggressively invasive in my experience. One of the key features of this species of Acaena is that it doesn’t have the spines that are characteristic of other species of the genera. It is evergreen in USDA Zones 7-9 and is root hardy to Zone 5.

Mike Hicks, the head grower at Little Prince of Oregon Nursery recommends growing A. intermis in well-drained soil, in partial sun.

“It’s a great plant when quick coverage and a bright color is needed. It will tolerate some light to moderate foot traffic, and it adds great texture and color to the landscape.”

Sean Hogan of Cistus Design Nursery has used A. intermis in many landscape designs over the years. “It’s hard to beat the dark purple of Acaena intermis if you’re looking to add a bold colorful groundcover. It forms a dense mat that’s great for weed suppression and is somewhat drought tolerant.”

Why grow Acaena intermis ‘Purpurea’?

  • It forms a dense groundcover
  • Provides excellent weed suppression
  • Attractive purple color
  • Drought tolerant
  • Can be used in large containers
  • Useful plant for living walls
  • Easy to grow in 4-inch pots or gallons
  • Evergreen in Zones 7-9
  • Deer resistant
  • Great for alpine and rock gardens

Mark Leichty is the Director of Business Development at Little Prince of Oregon Nursery near Portland. He is a certified plant geek who enjoys visiting beautiful gardens and garden centers searching for rare and unique plants to satisfy his plant lust.