The purple passion plant or Gynura aurantiaca is also known as purple velvet, royal velvet and velvet plant. The name describes this plant perfectly due to its fuzzy velvety leaves. Purple passion can be grown in the garden or as a houseplant. Outdoors it is often used as a ground cover, as the purple color of its leaves enhances the garden bed.
Outdoors and indoors the purple passion plant should be planted in well drained soil and full sun. It will grow in partial shade., but full sun is necessary for the plant to produce deeply colored purple leaves as well as flowers. Blossoms appear at the end of spring as orange puffy balls. The fragrance of the flowers is not very pleasant; you can cut off the blossoms before they open to avoid the odor.
A wonderful quality of this plant is that it is easily propagated. All you have to do is take a cutting of the plant and place it in water or potting mix to root. You can do this at any time, but the most opportune time is when you need to prune the plant. New plants make an excellent gift.
The purple passion plant grows long vine-like stems, and you will need to prune to maintain its size and space in your garden. Houseplants will also need to be pruned to maintain size. Pruning results in a fuller plant. To prune the plant make your cut at the third or fourth node from the base of the vine stem.
Aphids can infest the purple passion plant. Symptoms of infestation are distorted leaves on new growth, deposits of honeydew and possible sooty mold. Aphids suck the sap from plants and cause the leaves to curl up, wilt or die. Honeydew appears as small dark spots on the leaves. It is actually waste material that is excreted by the aphid. Honeydew is a sticky substance, and it can cover the leaves of the plant. If the aphid infestation is not treated, sooty mold can form on the waste material. Aphids can be controlled by an application of insecticidal soap.
Spider mites are from the arachnid family. They attack the purple passion plant by sucking on the leaves. Eventually the leaves turn yellow and fall from the plant. If left untreated the spider mites will produce webbing on the leaves. They are extremely hard to detect due to their minuscule size. Treat with insecticidal soap.