Persian Shield – An eye-grabbing plant!

In 2014, my friend Pat Munts and I wrote the book, “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook,” for Cool Springs Press (more details on the “Books” page of this website). My task was to write the nearly 300 plant descriptions.

Of all the annuals, the plant that just knocked me off my feet was Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus). What? You’ve never heard of it? I’ve done a lot of talks and book signings ever since our book was published last January, and you’ll be relieved to know that most folks haven’t heard of it either.

So let me tell you a little about it.

Even though Persian Shield can bloom, the stunning foliage is what grabs a gardener’s attention. The leaves are purplish with green veins and a silver sheen.

If you live in an area that is zone 9 or higher, you can grow them year-round and they will likely bloom for you. Anything cooler than that and it will be an annual. They grow up to 3 feet tall and wide.

Plants grow in either sun or shade, but it depends on how intense the heat of your summers gets. Here in the Inland Northwest, we would have to put them in a partially shady location. In coastal and other slightly cooler regions, you can grow the plants in the sun.

One thing I learned while researching this plant is that they’ll do best when you water them at ground-level, rather than overhead which can cause streaks on the beautiful foliage.

Now that you know a little, are you just itching to grow them? Well, I just came across a source for Persian Shield plants: Select Seeds. If you purchase 3 to 5 plants, you can buy them for $6.75 each. Proven Winners also produces them so you might be able to find some at a local nursery. I’m very tempted to get some and see how they do in Spokane!

Have you ever grown Persian Shield? If so, how did they do for you? Let me know by emailing