How to Grow and Care for Purple Passion Vine

Fuzzy oval serrated leaves of plant with purple hairs on green

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The purple passion vine (Gynura aurantiaca) is a well-loved evergreen commonly grown as a houseplant. It is related to asters and comes from a very large genus of similar plants. This particular variety is native to Indonesia and Java. The velvety green oval leaves have bright purple edges and veining, and a faint purple sheen due to the purple color of the tiny hairs on the leaf surface. It also has bright purple stems, making it one of the most colorful foliage plants you can display indoors. The trailing vines make it perfect for a hanging basket. It is also known as the "purple velvet plant" and the "royal velvet plant" due to its soft velvety texture.

Common Name Purple passion vine, purple velvet plant
Botanical Name Gynura aurantiaca
Family Asteracaea
Plant Type Evergreen, herbaceous
Mature Size 1-2 ft high, vines up to 5 ft long
Sun Exposure Partial sun, morning sun
Soil Type Well-draining, loose
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time Autumn
Flower Color Yellow to orange
Hardiness Zones 6-9 (USDA)
Native Areas Java, Indonesia
Purple leafed houseplant in window

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Purple Passion Vine Care

Purple passion vine should be grown in bright, indirect light to filtered sun. Water this plant often enough to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, throughout the growing season. Opt for pots with plenty of drainage to help prevent root rot, planting your purple passion vine in soil like a commercial potting mix with vermiculite.

Though it does have some specific needs, including careful watering and regular fertilizing, caring for purple passion vine is not terribly complicated or time-consuming. Cared for properly, it will provide years of beauty as an indoor plant.

Light

This plant does best in partial bright sunlight, filtered sunlight (as through a sheer curtain), or indirect sunlight. A northern exposure window, or a spot hanging next to a window should give it plenty of light, or a spot where it gets morning sun. Afternoon sun is probably too strong and may cause sun damage or stress.

Soil

This plant needs good drainage to stay healthy. You can put some pebbles in the bottom of the container to ensure this. A well draining indoor potting mix should be sufficient as a planting medium. Commercial mixes with vermiculite are usually the most common choice for indoor hanging plants.

Water

Regular watering during the active growth season to keep the soil slightly moist helps this vine stay healthy. However, watering should be reduced in winter to prevent root rot. It's very important to avoid overwatering the purple passion vine; touch the soil and make sure it feels slightly moist, not wet or soggy. Some pebbles in the bottom of your container can help, and be sure there are drainage holes also.

Temperature and Humidity

Extremes in temperature would put too much stress on the purple passion vine, so you will want to check and make sure the window you hang it next to doesn't have a draft in winter. Humidity can be an issue as the velvety hairs on the leaves can trap water and this may lead to leaf rot normally. For this reason you will want to display this plant away from houseplants that require humid conditions. If there is a long heat wave with high humidity, you may want to cut back on watering to avoid too much moisture, and using a dehumidifier in damp conditions will also help.

Fertilizer

The purple passion vine benefits from regular fertilizer application. This means every two weeks using a diluted plant food in the active growth period (spring to fall), and once per month in winter. You should dilute the plant food to 50% of its normal strength. Mix only what you need for the current feeding. If you notice leaves yellowing or wilting, or other unusual coloration or conditions, cut back on the amount and frequency of fertilization. You can also try diluting the fertilizer more. Too much fertilizer can lead to nutrient burn, and it's better to fertilize too little than too much. Observe your plant closely to see how it responds to its fertilizer schedule.

Pruning

The growth rate of purple passion vine is fairly average, but sometimes the plant will get a bit "leggy" and benefits from having the vines pinched back regularly to encourage a neater appearance and fuller growth. You can also save the vine cuttings to propagate more plants! When pruning, cut vines between two and five inches from the soil surface, The plant will rejuvenate quickly and have a nice healthy, bushy growth habit with regular pruning.

Potting and Repotting Purple Passion Vine

As your purple passion vine grows you may want to repot it. However, this plant continues to thrive even when root-bound, so you probably won't need to repot it as often as other houseplants. You will want to repot this plant in fresh soil if there is any sign of root rot. Trim the rotted areas to give it a fresh start and water only lightly for the first week or two after repotting.

Propagating Purple Passion Vine

This plant can be easily propagated from cuttings, then planted in potting mix and kept moist. It takes about one or two weeks for roots to appear.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

The purple passion vine can be somewhat susceptible to aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, scales, and mealybugs. Check frequently for pests. A spay application of neem oil is effective against all these pests. It is also prone to rot if it gets too wet, and this may also lead to mildew problems, but this is fairly rare. If the plant is showing damage from infestation or rot, cut off all damaged parts. If the plant continues to have issues, you can easily start a new one from a healthy cutting.

FAQ
  • Does the purple passion vine produce flowers?

    If the plant gets ample light, small orange flowers may appear in the autumn. However these flowers don't smell very good and most people remove them.

  • Is purple passion vine easy to care for?

    This is a fairly low maintenance indoor plant, as it thrives in part-shade or indirect light, and requires only regular watering, regular fertilizer, and occasional removal of dead or damaged leaves.

  • Can I grow purple passion from seeds?

    The best and fastest way to propagate purple passion vine is from cuttings, planted in a rich potting soil medium and kept moist. They will start forming roots within two weeks.