Purple Passion Adds Pizzazz To Houseplant Collection

I’ve never met a houseplant I didn’t like. Except maybe the fish-hook barrel cactus that attacked  me 40 years ago leaving a permanent scar. Other than a reclusive, overly aggressive barrel cactus, most houseplants appreciate living in groups. The shared humidity creates a favorable environment.

Houseplants are even more attractive if there’s contrast in the group. Variegated foliage or colorful-leaved plants tucked among the green types make the whole group pop.

Purple passion plant easily fills the bill as a contrast-maker. Also called velvet plant, this native of Indonesia has soft purple hairs that give the plant an interesting purple hue.

I haven’t grown one of these since I was a boy, but I recently found a small starter plant at a local garden center. Never one to pass up a new plant, we once again have a purple passion plant in our home. Plants are upright or rounded when young, but become trailing with age. To compliment this habit, purple passion can be trained on a small upright trellis, located on a pedestal or grown as a hanging plant.

Here’s what purple passion needs to thrive:

  •  Medium or bright light is best. A little filtered sun is beneficial in winter. Full summer sun is too intense. If light is insufficient, the purple coloration is less pronounced.
  • Well-drained, high quality potting mix is  necessary. Heavy, soggy, inexpensive mixes cause purple passion to struggle.
  • Keep soil moist, but not soggy. Allow to dry somewhat between watering, but don’t let purple passion become cactus-dry.
  • Pinching keeps plants compact.
  • Plants are susceptible to root rot if soil is poorly drained and heavy.
  • Fertilize during periods of active growth, which is usually monthly beginning in early spring through early autumn.
  • An outdoor vacation during summer in a partially shade spot will increase the plant’s vigor.
  • Young plants are often more attractive. Older plants can become sparse near the center. Keep a fresh supply of young plants by propagating tip cuttings in moist vermiculite or perlite. Here’s our link to a useful way to propagate houseplants: http://growingtogether.areavoices.com/2016/02/26/successful-way-to-root-cuttings/

It might take a little shopping around to locate purple passion, but locally owned garden centers might order a starter plant for you.

Happy Gardening!