Caring For The Picky Pupple Passion Plant
With it’s striking, velvety purple fuzz that cover it’s green leaves giving it a purple sheen, people are instantly drawn to the Purple Passion Plant (Gynura Aurantiaca) whenever we host a foliage terrarium night. Also known as a Velvet Plant, Gynura Aurantiaca was originally discovered on the island of Java in Indonesia and is happiest in consistently warm temperatures and humidity. It grows upright when it’s young but will cascade as it get’s older which makes it a favorite for hanging pots or training up a trellis or post. These unique beauties are particular about their care, so we’ve created a little cheat sheet to help you be a Purple Passion Pro in no time.
Light: Purple Passion Plants require bright light to maintain their unique color, but are susceptible to scorch if they are exposed to bright, direct light. A spot three to five feet from a South Eastern or South Western window is ideal. They can also be placed outside whenever the weather is between 60 to 70 degree as long as they are kept in filtered light. If Gynura Aurantiaca loses some of it’s vibrant coloring, lack of light is probably to blame.
Water: The Roots of the Purple Passion Plant are delicate and susceptible to rot if it’s over watered, and the foliage is susceptible to “fainting” if it’s under watered. Water the soil regularly, avoiding the leaves, to maintain a consistent level of moisture. You can test the soil with your finger, you want to make sure it is evenly damp without being too soppy. If the leaves start to droop you can revitalize it with a thorough watering. Set it in your sink and water thoroughly, letting it soak for about 25 minutes.
Soil and Fertilizing: Purple Passion Plants prefer a slightly acidic soil, like a mix of two parts peat moss, one part potting mix, and one part course sand. During the growing season in the spring and summer, fertilize your Velvet Plant every two weeks to support their growth and vibrancy.
Pruning: Pruning Purple Passion Plants helps to keep them bushy instead of leggy. Cut with pruning shears or sharp scissors that have been wiped down with a soft cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can root the cuttings by soaking them in water, then plant them in with the rest of the plant to increase its bushiness or plant in high quality fresh soil in another
Repotting and Long Term Care: Purple Passion Plant is a relatively short lived plant, only living for about five years. As it ages and gets bigger it will become less velvet-y and will lose some of it’s purple coloring. When Gynura Aurantiaca outgrows it’s container you can repot it in fresh soil. Purple Passion Plant grows bright orange flowers, which most people trim off because of they don’t like the smell.
Pests and Disease: The common indoor pests like whiteflies, mealybugs, spider mites, scales and aphids can all affect the Purple Passion Plants. To prevent infestations, check plants over regularly including under the leaves. Spider mites can be prevented by keeping the humidity high. For other pests leaves can sprayed with Neem oil. The only ailment to common to Gynura Aurantiaca is root rot. Be sure to avoid over watering. If root rot occurs, you can attempt to save your Purple Passion Plant by cutting off the afflicted area and planting it in fresh soil.
With the right know how, this beautiful and unique plant will brighten up your home for years to come.