Usually, houseplants are some shades of green, but some indoor plant enthusiasts are singing the praises of this iridescent purple plant. It’s called the purple passion plant, and it’s one of the best choices for adding a different color to that greenery. Its unique leaves are not actually purple. Rather, tiny, soft purplish hair covers the leaves, which gives them a mesmerizing purple sheen. The purple passion plant is a very popular choice as an indoor plant.
My favorite part of the purple passion plants is that they look exotic but are really easy to care for. So easy that even novices will not find them challenging. They are also great for hanging in baskets on patios or windowsills. Moreover, you can hardly get a better stress-reliever than caressing the purple passion plant’s velvety leaves.
Growing Purple Passion Plant
The purple passion plants have a considerable lifespan. It cannot survive colder temperatures and needs direct, bright sunlight. Besides, these plants have been a staple for indoor decoration for over 2 centuries!
Here is a short brief about this unique plant:
- Latin name: Gynura aurantiaca
- Other names: Velvet plant, Purple velvet
- Native to: Tropical Africa and Asia
- Invasiveness: Can become invasive.
- Tenderness: Evergreen perennial
- Sun: Moderate to Bright Indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight.
- Water: Let 1/4th of the soil dry before watering. However, avoid getting water on the leaves.
- Soil: Well-drained houseplant soil.
- Hardiness zone: Zones 10 through 12
- When to plant: Spring or summer
- Spacing: 6 to 8”
- Plant height: 2 feet.
- Bloom period: Fall/Winter
- Time to maturity: 1 to 3 weeks.
- Container friendly: Strongly recommended to be grown in containers.
- Fertilizer: All-purpose liquid fertilizer at half-strength
- Toxicity: Non-toxic
- Deer resistant: Moderate.
- Pest resistant: A bit.
Purple passion plants are best kept as houseplants because they are not the hardiest when it comes to winter. However, that does not mean they require a lot of minute care. In fact, in the growing seasons of summer and spring, they take root pretty quickly.
They like well-drained but can easily suffer from root rot. So it is vital that they are not watered too much. The purple passion plants reach blooming age after about 3 to 4 years. However, their beauty and vibrancy are the best when they are young. They are perfect for being grown in hanging baskets on protected patios and beside east-facing windows.
When the purple passion plants are young, they tend to grow vertically. However, as they mature, they tend to become shrub-like. Their flowers are orange in color, but their smell can be unpleasant in closed spaces. Thus, gardeners prefer to cut them off when they start flowering.
Water in moderation. You have to find a balance when it comes to watering the purple passion plants since their root system is quite fragile. It absolutely hates standing water, so make sure the excess water is drained off whenever you do water. At the same time, the leaves will start drooping if the plant has not been watered for too long. The most important point is that the plant loves moist soil. Too dry, or too wet, and it will begin to suffer.
Finally, try to avoid getting water on the leaves as much as possible. The hairs on the leaves can trap the water, and can eventually result in rotting.
The purple passion plant will get hurt by direct sunlight. So it is best kept in partially protected areas. Its leaves can get burnt off by too much sunlight. If you are keeping it beside windowsills, then you can draw the shades on it during the afternoons. However keep in mind that the more sun it gets, the more vibrant the velvet sheen will become. It just cannot be direct.
These exotic plants require well-drained soil since they can develop root rot comparatively easily. It is even better if the soil can retain moisture at the same time. Again, it will be about finding the perfect balance. It also prefers smaller containers.
The exotic purple passion plant eats quite a lot. You can fertilize them weekly with a half-strength water-soluble fertilizer for houseplants during summer and spring. During winter, though, only fertilize once a month.
They are not considered invasive. However, the purple passion plants are quite adaptable and can become invasive in warmer regions like Florida. As such, they are best grown inside containers.
Growing The Purple Passion Plant in containers
The purple passion plant thrives the best in small containers. But, it might outgrow its pot pretty quickly. So be on the lookout for tendrils rising above the soil surface in which case you will need to re-pot the purple passion plant.
When grown outdoors in colder regions, they can be grown as annuals since they will die during the winter. However, container specimens can be cared for inside the house.
Be careful to not put the plants in low light since that will make the velvety sheen lose its color. Try to get a container with a drainage hole as that will help you know when the plant has enough water.
Care & tips
The purple passion plants stay alive for about 2 to 3 years before blooming for one last time. However, the flowers are too pungent for closed spaces, which makes many gardeners remove them.
If the purple passion plant is kept in a large container, it can become extensively leggy which can make it more vulnerable to root rot. As such, the plants really like to be in small containers. Pinch back the stems’ tips to make them look bushier.
The plant also likes a bit of humidity. One of the best spots for the plant is near a humidifier.
Purple passion plants are susceptible to the usual pests such as spider mites, mealy bugs, and aphids. Immediately treat the plant with neem oil if you notice any sign of infestation.
If you see its leaves losing their purplish sheen, then it might be because it is getting too little sunlight. The age might also be the reason, in which case, you may not be able to do much.
Another common problem is the plant becoming too leggy. The solution is simply: simply trim some of the stems!
Propagating The Purple Passion Plant
The purple passion plants can be easily propagated using stem cutting. Simply place the cuttings in perlite or vermiculite or just water. However, they propagate slightly better when placed in a soil mixture. Once you see roots growing, you can pot the cutting in a well-prepared container.
Uses for The Purple Passion Plant
These exotic plants’ value lies in their tropical looks. It is a unique addition to the usual greenery that is sure to catch people’s eyes.
The plants are completely harmless to humans and pets. However, they are not edible, so do not keep them in proximity to children.
The purple passion plants may not be the toughest plants, but there are hardly any plants that are easier to maintain. If you are looking for an extraordinary plant that gives a different vibe to the usual greenery, then the purple passion plant is for you.