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/