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Gynura aurantiaca, or purple passion plant, photographed at Tula Plants & Design. Gynura aurantiaca, or purple passion plant, photographed at Tula Plants & Design.

Gynura aurantiaca

Botanical Name — Gynura aurantiaca

Common Name — Purple passion or Purple velvet

Plant Family — Asteraceae


This vibrant member of the daisy family is native to Southeast Asia, where it’s found in the tropical rainforests of Java, Indonesia. In its native environment it grows as a low lying ground cover. Stems trail and twine. Known for its unique, velvety stems in bright purple, this plant makes a standout cascading specimen in a hanging basket.

Growth Requirements


  • Bright, indirect light. An eastern or northern facing window is ideal.
  • Will start to lose intense purple color when the plant is not getting enough light.
  • Will burn if the plant is placed in direct sunlight.  

Temperature/ Humidity 

  • Does well in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees.
  • It likes high humidity, but this is not essential. Purple passion will do fine in a normal household environment. 


  • Allow the top 25% of soil to dry out in between waterings. 
  • Try to keep foliage dry. Do not mist. 
  • Moisture can get trapped in the “hairs” on the leaf and cause burning if the sun is too bright, or increase chances of fungal disease.


  • Good indoor potting mix.
  • Moist, but well draining, well aerated soil.
  • Likes nutrient soil, high in organic matter. 


  • Produces yellow, orange foul smelling flowers. Should be pruned once they appear. 
  • Blooms from November to February in seasonal regions.
  • Generally does not blossom in low light. 


  • Fertilize with a balanced houseplant fertilizer once a month during the summer. Never fertilize in winter.


  • Can easily be propagated from stem cuttings placed in water or directly in soil. 



  • No serious insect problems or susceptibilities. 
  • Watch out for common pests: whiteflies, mealy bugs, spider mite, scale, and aphids
  • Overwatering can cause rot. 

Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)

  • Likes to be kept root bound in small pots. Repot once every two to three years, moving up on pot size.


  • Purple passion is non-toxic to humans and pets, but should not be ingested.