Gynura aurantiaca | Purple passion care & info

Gynura aurantiaca, also known as purple passion, is a houseplant appreciated for its fuzzy purple foliage. Its interesting leaf coloration and relatively easy care make it a great addition to any colorful houseplant collection.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about purple passion care and growing purple passion at home!

Name(s) (common, scientific)Purple passion plant, velvet plant, velvet leaf, Gynura aurantiaca
DifficultyModerate
LightingBright indirect
WaterKeep lightly moist
SoilWell-draining

Gynura aurantiaca natural habitat

The purple passion plant is naturally found in Southeast Asia, such as the Indonesian islands of Java and Celebes (Davies, 1980).

This is also an introduced species in many other areas with temperate climates.

Gynura aurantiaca light, location & temperature

Light

Purple passion appreciates bright, indirect light and doesn’t cope well with a lot of direct sunlight. This means that while it needs to be placed near a window, a sheer curtain might be needed to prevent it from getting scorched.

When supplied with plenty of indirect light the plant’s purple leaf coloration should become darker and more intense.

Location

Like many other houseplants, purple passion prefers relatively high humidity, so a spot in your kitchen or bathroom might be a good idea.

If you don’t have any well-lit, humid spots available don’t worry too much. Some artificial lighting and a humidifier can already make a big difference.

Temperature

Room temperature should be fine for Gynura aurantiaca. In fact, care should be taken to prevent the plant from being exposed to high temperatures.

You should also try to avoid anything below 59 °F/15 °C.

Fuzzy leaves of purple passion plant (Gynura aurantiaca) close-up on white background.

Gynura aurantiaca soil & planting

Although purple passion does appreciate regular waterings, root rot will quickly develop if the plant is left standing in water for too long. To ensure water drains properly, use a pot with a drainage hole and a well-draining potting mix (preferably slightly acidic).

If necessary, the plant can be repotted during Springtime, although it’s usually a better idea to take some cuttings and re-root these. After all, a single purple passion won’t last more than a few years.

Gynura aurantiaca has an upright growth pattern, which means it’s best suited to a regular pot. If you’re looking for a plant suitable for a hanging planter, its relative Gynura sarmentosa might be a good choice!

Watering Gynura aurantiaca

Watering is one of the trickier parts of purple passion care, as this plant does need plenty of moisture and will quickly start looking sad and droopy when deprived of water but doesn’t respond well to wet feet.

The exact amount of water it needs is (as always) dependent on the amount of light it gets as well as your soil mixture and drainage. Try to keep the soil slightly moist during the growing months (Spring through Fall) and let it dry a bit more between waterings during Wintertime.

Fuzzy leaves of purple passion plant (Gynura aurantiaca) close-up on white background.

Propagating Gynura aurantiaca

Propagation is an essential part of purple passion care: this plant usually only lasts for a few years. If you want to keep growing it, you’ll have to take cuttings and re-root these when your plant reaches maturity.

A good indicator it’s time to propagate your purple passion is when it starts producing flowers. These flowers are orange-colored and quite decorative but unfortunately smell very unpleasant and should be removed if you don’t want to deal with the odor.

To propagate your purple passion, simply remove a few stem tops and place them in a pot with moist, loamy potting mix. Enclose the pot with the plant in a plastic bag with a few holes or other type of closed, clear container for a few weeks to improve the chances of succesful rooting and growing.

Fuzzy leaves of purple passion plant (Gynura aurantiaca) close-up on white background.
© hd connelly on Shutterstock.

Gynura aurantiaca fertilizer

During the growing season you can use a diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer every month or so to encourage your purple passion’s growth.

Buying Gynura aurantiaca

Purple passion is not the most common houseplant, though you should be able to find or order it at some plant stores or garden centers.

You can also buy purple passion online.

Is Gynura aurantiaca toxic to cats and dogs?

Purple passion is non-toxic to both cats and dogs. Hurrah!

If you’re looking for more pet-safe plants be sure to have a look at the article on houseplants that are non-toxic to cats.


If you have any more questions about purple passion or want to share your own experiences with this fuzzy purple houseplant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Sources

Davies, F. G. (1980). The genus Gynura (Compositae) in Malesia and Australia. Kew Bulletin, 711-734.