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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


Background

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


Sun

  • 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. 

Water

  • 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.

Soil/Roots

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

Flowering

  • 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. 

Fertilization

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

Propagation

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

Health


Diseases

  • 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.

Toxicity

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