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Gynura aurantiaca "Velvet purple passion"

Gynura aurantiaca "Velvet purple passion"

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Gynura aurantiaca, also known as purple passion or velvet plant, is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae. In warm regions, it is frequently grown outdoors on patios and in gardens rather than inside buildings.

This evergreen perennial grows up to 30 cm (12 in) tall, with the stems sometimes growing straight up but other times reclining against other objects, when stems can reach 2 m (6.6 ft). As a house plant, the long trailing vines are appropriate for a hanging pot or similar arrangement. Leaves, stems, and bracts are dark green, covered with soft purple hairs that impart a velvety feeling to the plant. One plant can produce 1-5 flower heads, each on its own flower stalk. The flowers have a rather strong odor. Each head contains several yellow, orange, or red disc flowers but no ray flowers.

The Latin specific epithet aurantiaca means ”orange”, referring to the usual color of the blooms. In cultivation in the UK this plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

In terms of care, Gynura aurantiaca appreciates bright and indirect light and does not tolerate direct sunlight well. It prefers relatively high humidity, so placing it in the kitchen or bathroom can be a good idea. The room temperature should be satisfactory for Gynura aurantiaca. In fact, you should avoid exposing the plant to high temperatures. You should also try to avoid temperatures below 15 °C.

Although the purple passion appreciates regular watering, excess moisture can cause root rot. Use a pot with a drainage hole, like a nursery pot, and a well-draining mix (preferably slightly acidic) so that water does not stagnate. Adding some perlite can help with this. If necessary, the velvet plant can be repotted during the spring, although it is usually better to take some cuttings and re-root them. After all, these plants usually do not last more than a few years.

Watering is one of the most complicated parts of caring for the velvet plant, as it will quickly start to look sad and wilted if it lacks water, but it also does not respond well to an excess of water. The exact amount of water this plant needs depends (as always) on the amount of light it receives, as well as on the soil mix and drainage.
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