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
Difficulty Moderate
Lighting Bright indirect
Water Keep lightly moist
Soil Well-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.


9 thoughts on “Gynura aurantiaca | Purple passion care & info”

  1. Hi! I was given two cuttings two months ago, and now one of them is 34″ tall! They have been side by side in a kitchen window, as I was told they would stay purple in a sunny window. They haven’t matured, is it ok to take cuttings? How do I keep them from getting so tall in the future?

    Reply
    • I’ve noticed this can be pretty common with this species and it’s annoying because with the fuzzy leaves, it’s a bit harder to use homemade insect remedies. It’s probably whitefly or some other kind of bug. You can pester them by blasting them with water in the shower or using an insecticidal soap, but always make sure the leaves dry well afterwards. Good luck!

      Reply
  2. Nice to know…. I feel better know more details about the Purple Passion! I am always ready to learn details on any plant to improve my care of my houseplants. They are my biggest joy to see my plants bloom or just grow longer, or bigger due to my care!

    Reply
  3. How do I look after and propagate new Purple Passion Plants?

    I bought a couple of these last month. The seller said avoid keeping them wet or waterlogged so I only watered the plants when the soil was dry as I did with my previous gynuras and yet these new plants flopped and died. I could not even save cuttings from them. Did I underwater them?

    Could it have been the location? I have always kept all of them in a typical windowsill location (near a radiator, bit draughty at times, with morning sunlight filtered through a net curtain). Temperature is usually between 63° and 72°F.

    My previous Purple Passion Plants lived for 3+ years and produced flowers which I thought meant I was doing something right. I was keeping the 2 from last month on wet pebbles to maintain humidity as the seller indicated the nursery that they came from had high humidity although I hadn’t done that with the other plants which had thrived.

    Also regarding cuttings to start new plants: I have successfully rooted cuttings by placing them in water. They survived for months like this but when planting them on they died. What did I do wrong? I tried to take cuttings from the new plants that died last month but the cuttings just flopped and died – no roots were put out.

    When I bought many of these plants from the garden centre previously, the soil was very wet and the plants flopped and died a few days later. What could I have done to save them?

    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Hi,

      So sorry to hear you didn’t have much luck with your purple passions!

      First off, I’m not completely in agreement with letting these plants’ soil dry out before watering again. They do like to be kept lightly moist, though it is true that waterlogging can cause issues. The temperature doesn’t sound problematic to me and while these do appreciate humidity it’s not something I’d fuss over too much personally.

      Anyway; what I’m trying to say is that aside from maybe the watering, it sounds like you did pretty well with these. Did you check the roots on the dead ones for signs of rot? They might already have been doing badly. As for cuttings, it is harsh for them to switch from water to soil, so maybe you’re best off dipping them in some rooting hormone and placing them directly into soil. Or alternatively, keep them in water permanently if you continue to struggle with the species.

      I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. It’s already hard to diagnose a plant when you’re there to see it, and when you’re sitting behind a computer screen it becomes very hard to pinpoint what went wrong somewhere!

      Good luck, I hope it works out better in the future.

      Reply
  4. glad to know that the purple passion plant is non toxit for my cats. we have one male and one female, my mal kitten loves to gtinto the middlle of my plantand lay in the middle, why does he do that.

    Reply
    • Honestly, why do cats do the things they do? I’m pretty sure we’ll never know! Cats do love laying in plant pots, I guess the soil is nice and soft and helps them feel warm. No problem as long as it’s a non-toxic plant and especially if they aren’t prone to nibbling the leaves. 🙂

      Reply

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