Purple Passion Plant also known as Gynura Aurantiaca, is one of 25 members of the eponymous genus of Herbaceous or shrubby plants native to tropical areas of Asia.
The genus includes various herbaceous plants, shrubs, and vines, but only those with attractive crimson hairs on the leaves are grown as houseplants.
The most famous among them is the small Gynura Aurantiaca, commonly called Purple Passion plant or Purple Passion vine, grown as a houseplant worldwide for more than 200 years.
It is a unique phenomenon in the plant kingdom due to its velvety leaves covered with intensely purple hairs on a dark green background. This unusual combination of colors makes this small purple vine a well-accepted houseplant.
What Is Purple Passion Plant
The Purple Passion plant is an evergreen, short-lived perennial with thick, flashy stems that can grow up to 3 feet in length. In the wild, the plant grows as a dense shrub. Its stems lean on each other or bend under the weight of the leaves crawling on the ground.
As an indoor plant, the Purple Passion plant rarely reaches more than two feet. Each stem grows upright or arch slightly, which makes it suitable for growing in hanging pots.
The Purple Passion plant leaves are dark green, nettle-like, with serrated edges up to five inches long.
The whole plant, including foliage and stems, is covered with thick and short purple hairs, which give it a gorgeous velvety appearance so beautiful that one would like to touch it!
In the winter months, the plant blooms with inconspicuous, 0.5 inch wide flowers of yellow or orange color. When Purple Passion plant flowers appear, it is better to remove them immediately. Apart from not being particularly interesting, the flowers also have a rather unpleasant smell, and the plant loses the purple color while blooming.
How to Care for Purple Passion Plant
– Purple Passion Plant Light Requirements
The Purple Passion plant grows best if exposed to clear but indirect sunlight. Its soft hairy leaves are not adapted to direct light, and they easily get burnt.
On the other hand, insufficient lighting causes a weakening of the intensity of the purple color, the stems elongate, and the leaves thin out and usually do not grow to their full size. Such a plant is a pale shade of the alluring purple Gynura you can see on the garden websites!
It is why choosing the appropriate position to place the Purple Passion plant makes the difference between a beautiful plant of a noble color and a scattered, inconspicuous one.
The ideal position is on the east window, where the morning sun will shine on your plant with purple fuzzy leaves for a few hours.
A west window can also be an acceptable choice if the plant is far enough from the hot summer sun. South windows are a pretty risky choice unless shaded by a curtain. Even then, you could place the Purple Passion plant five or more feet away from blazing sunlight!
– Purple Passion Plant Water Requirements
When the Purple Passion plant grows intensively, from spring to autumn, it should usually be watered every two or three days, with small amounts of stagnant water at room temperature. Alternatively, you can water it once a week, but abundantly, so that the substrate is evenly soaked. Drain the plant or pour off the excess water that collects in the pot tray.
It is not too much of a problem for the Purple Passion plant if you sometimes forget about watering them. Thanks to the fleshy watery stems and tuberous roots, it can withstand shorter periods without watering.
In autumn and winter, the plant needs to rest. Reduce watering because lower temperatures in combination with moist soil can destroy the plant.
Therefore, water your Purple Passion plant only when the substrate dries.
– Purple Passion Plant Soil
Purple Passion plant is not particularly picky about soil as long as it is permeable enough and not to retain moisture longer than necessary. You can plant it in the standard potting mixture to which you will add one-third of perlite or vermiculite.
Although it prefers slightly acidic soils (ph 6.5 to 7.5), it does not mind neutral soil. Irrespective of the type of soil you will plant it, be sure to place a drainage layer of larger gravel or broken tiles at the bottom of the pot.
Water drainage is vital, so this layer, placed above the drainage holes, will prevent excess water from accumulating around the root system.
– Purple Passion Plant Temperature Requirements
The Purple Passion plant prefers a moderately warm environment without large temperature oscillations. It is a tropical plant unaccustomed to low temperatures that suffer if the temperature drops below 50 F.
However, equally dangerous is the high temperature, which the plant finds hard to tolerate. Thus, it is ideal to grow the Purple Passion plant at a temperature between 60 and 75 F or a few degrees more or less.
In the open, this plant can only grow in the tropics. In other areas, it can grow outdoors as an annual ground cover plant. The Purple Passion plant cannot survive the winter in the garden in the continental climate.
Yet, if you take a few cuttings in the fall and store them over the winter, next spring, you could decorate your garden again with its unique purple tone.
– Purple Passion Plant Fertilizer
Additional fertilization will unquestionably encourage more intensive plant growth. For this purpose, you can use liquid fertilizers intended for houseplants with ornamental leaves.
Add fertilizer to the water with which you hydrate the plant every other week from the end of March to the end of October. Dilute it to half the recommended concentration because too strong fertilizer can damage the roots.
From November to March, continue adding fertilizer but only once a month.
– Purple Passion Plant Humidity Requirements
Humidity is one issue you don’t have to worry about when growing the Purple Passion plant. Namely, although it likes a slightly increased moisture level, the plant will thrive quite well at a standard room humidity of 30 to 40 percent.
The water that evaporates from the substrate usually provides enough moisture to make the Purple Passion plant feel comfortable. Only if you notice that the tops of the leaves become brittle and dry can you place a shallower container of water next to the plant to provide extra moisture.
A humidifier is always an effective solution for changing the humidity value. Using this device, you can create an environment with 50 percent humidity, ideal for growing the Purple Passion plant.
– Purple Passion Plant Repotting
Unfortunately, the Purple Passion plant is not a long-lived type. As soon as the plant begins to produce flowers, it is a sign that it has reached maturity. From the moment it blossoms, its life cycle moves towards its finish. Most plants die shortly after flowering, not because you do not take adequate care of them but because it is its natural end.
If you want to extend its lifespan, remove the flowers as soon as they start to form. It will inevitably delay for a while.
However, no matter how long your specimen will last, make sure it gets a fresh substrate at least every second or third spring.
The plant grows better in smaller pots when the roots do not have much space. In addition, larger containers require more substrate, which increases the possibility of moisture accumulation in the soil. Hence, do not rush with transplanting.
Its roots are fragile and easily damaged – another reason for you to transplant the Purple Passion plant only when it overgrows the pot. If the container is not too small and there is still room for the root to grow, it is better not to disturb its roots.
Sometimes it happens that a newly transplanted plant stagnates or becomes leggy. Don’t worry about it! This phenomenon is due to the stress caused by transplanting. The plant only needs some time to recover. Of course, this is not the rule since some specimens easily overcome the transplant procedure.
– Purple Passion Plant Pruning
Indeed, young Purple Passion plants look irresistible with their fuzzy purple leaves. However, over time, as the leaf grows and ages, that tone gradually disappears.
Furthermore, after two to three years, if you allow it to grow without your intervention, most plants lose their bushy shape, and the stems become bare since the leaves in the lower part dry out, wither and fall off.
If you do nothing, instead of the eye-catching decoration, you will get a very inconspicuous weed-like plant with a barely noticeable purple hue.
Pruning is an easy way to prevent this. As soon as the stem begins to bare, prune it by removing two-thirds of its length. This procedure will encourage the growth of leaves in the lower part.
Also, pinch the tops even when the stem is not bare. The removal of the tops stimulates more bushy growth and the development of new stalks. In other words, if you want a plant that looks as beautiful after two years as when you purchased it, don’t leave it to itself. Pruning and pinching are a way to keep it in shape, slow down its maturation and delay the formation of flowers.
How To Propagate Purple Passion Plant
If the Purple Passion plant as a home decoration doesn’t entice you, here is some comforting information: you can effortlessly and quickly multiply the Purple Passion plant by propagation through cutting. This way, you can always have a stock of new plants!
– Stem Cuttings in Water
- Choose a healthy stem with a few leaves on top and cut it at least three inches long, using sharp, sterile scissors.
- Remove all the leaves from the bottom of the stem leaving only four leaves on top.
- Put the cutting in a glass of clean lukewarm water.
- The leaves should be above the surface of the water.
- The rooting process takes place quickly. In seven or ten days at a temperature between 65 and 75 F and placed on a shaded point, the cuttings will form a root.
- Take the cutting out of the water and plant it in a prepared small pot with a moderately moist substrate.
- Water the seedling only the next day as the roots have already absorbed the water from the glass.
– Stem Cuttings in Soil
Instead of water, you can use the soil as a rooting medium. For this purpose, prepare a small pot filled with a fresh wet substrate and stick the cuttings.
- You can dip the cuttings in rooting hormone before you plant it, but this is not necessary. They take root pretty quickly, even without additional stimulants.
- Keep the substrate in the pot evenly moist but not soaked as the cuttings may rot if the soil is too wet.
- You can also cover the container with a plastic lid to keep the air around the cuttings moist for longer. It is an additional measure that speeds up and promotes rooting, but it is also not necessary.
In the next two or three weeks, the cuttings will provide new leaves. It is a sign that the cutting has developed a root.
Purple Passion Plant Problems
Every growing factor is significant for the health of a plant. Still, inadequate watering and lighting can cause problems with the Purple Passion plant, which ultimately results in the plant’s death.
– Root Rot
Root rot is the result of excessive watering. The plant’s leaves whose root rots change color become brown or brown protruding, mushy and twisted. Saving such a plant is a process with an uncertain outcome.
Yet, if you want to try, here is what you can do:
- Remove the plant from the pot, and wash the root under water spray
- Inspect the root ball well to see if there are any healthy segments
- Cut off all rotten parts and
- Leave the plant to air dry in the air for at least a few hours.
- After that, you can plant the Purple Passion plant in a new moderately thick substrate.
- The first seven days do not water it at all.
Even when you do everything right, sometimes it is too late for treatment, and the plant can not recover. In this case, take a few cuttings that are not sick and propagate new specimens.
– Brown Edges of Leaves
This deformation is due to dry air or excessive top-dressing. Pay attention to the level of humidity in the air.
When feeding the plant, always start with smaller doses or concentrations of nutrients. Also, never add nutrients to a dry substrate, but water it beforehand, wait half an hour and only then add fertilizer.
– Leaf Scorch
Exposure to direct sunlight causes burns on the delicate Purple Passion plant’s foliage. Before scorches appear, the leaves will begin to curl slightly since the plant tries to reduce the leaf surface exposed to uncomfortably bright light and thus slow down transpiration.
If the unfavorable conditions continue, the brown spots appear. They then grow into necrotic patches with destroyed leaf structures.
Burns are not just an aesthetic problem. The leaf is a complete organ, so the decay of its parts means a violation of the functions that affect the entire plant. Therefore, move the plant into a more convenient place!
– Mushy Spots on the Leaves
You should avoid wetting the leaves of your Purple Passion plant when watering. Also, do not spray the plant with water to freshen or moisturize it.
In plants with smooth leaves, water droplets slip off the surface after spraying or watering. In plants with hairy leaves, the droplets remain trapped between the hairs for a long time, often resulting in dark, mushy spots. The spots are fungal colonies, and if you don’t stop them, they can cover the entire leaf and affect the whole plant.
To help your plant, cut off all infected leaves. You could treat it with a mild fungicide or expose the plant for a while to a brighter lightening.
Furthermore, try to eliminate the causes instead of repairing the consequences.
Most of the common pests on houseplants often avoid the Purple Passion plant. The reason may lie in its densely hairy leaves or the unpleasant smell of flowers. No matter what repels pests from this plant, it makes it easier to care for it.
However, occasionally pests like scale, mealybugs, or aphids may settle on their leaves. Although they are tiny, you will notice them on the back of the leaf, which is less hairy. Since they feed on plant juices, they cause deformations on the leaves, such as twisting, discoloration, or small holes are the most common.
Treat the infested plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.
As the plant does not like spraying the leaves, first try to remove the intruders with a piece of cotton wool dipped in alcohol, insecticidal soap, or neem oil solution and wipe the leaves.
Despite all the diversity of the plant world, there are still few plants whose color deviates from the standard color scheme. Modest and undemanding, the Purple Passion plant with its almost surreal purple topping is just one of them. In addition, this is a plant that is not difficult to grow. Here are the elementary tips:
- The Purple Passion plant grows best in well-drained soil. You can use standard potting soil with one-third of perlite
- The plant does not tolerate low temperatures. The ideal range is between 60 and 75 F, all year round
- Feed it with plant fertilizer with decorative leaves diluted in half. From spring to summer, apply fertilizer every other week and once a month in winter
- Water the plant every two or three days in summer, once a week, or once every 10 days in winter
- The Purple Passion plant thrives well at the standard room humidity but prefers the level of 50 percent
- Transplant your Purple Passion plant every second or third spring
- Pinch the tips and prune elongated stems regularly. Everything you cat you can use to propagate the new plants
Once you see the light refracting on its velvety leaves, you will wish to have a Purple Passion plant in your home forever!
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