Need help w/Purple Passion plant - Picture

OakleyMay 1, 2010

Here's a pic of my plant:

First I need to prune it so it will bush out more, but I have no clue where to start. Should I cut it pretty low, up from where it branches out?

Secondly, as you can tell it doesn't have much purple to it, but it IS growing good.

The plant is spindly too.

All of my direct sunlight for the summer is gone, but I do keep it in a south window with "kind of" bright light.

Is the lack of sun preventing the leaves from turning purple?

I fertilize, but not that often, maybe once a month. Should I fertilize more often? I do keep it moist which is one of the requirements.

If any of you have a Purple Passion, would you post a photo?

One last thing, you can see where a leaf at the bottom was eaten, it's been fixed. lol

TIA for the advice!

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Its severely lacking in light.
It is spindly or elongated because of lack of sun...hence it is reaching for the sun so the length between leaves is more. Lack of light is also the cause of no purple.
I doubt fertilizer will help more...when in doubt...less is always more.
Cutting it back without increasing light isn't going to stop the current growth pattern. Cuttings can be rooted easily.

I can't tell for sure, but the soil looks to be very dark and heavy. They do like to dry out somewhat.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 1:20PM
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How much sun would you recommend for this plant? I don't suppose it could go outdoors and get sun for a few hours because the leaves seem fragile.

I bought this plant in the winter when I was getting a lot of direct sunlight, and I remember putting it in a south window and it got several hours of sun a day, but the leaves got crisp around the edges, so I moved it and the leaves became soft again. Then the purple faded away.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 2:34PM
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The numbers of hours is relative to your location, time of year, intensity etc.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 3:58PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I don't know what that is, don't think it's a Purple Passion plant (which I thought was Gynura). I don't see any purple & the growth habit is not what I'd expect.

Are you sure that's what the plant is?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 5:39PM
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PG, I too am wondering if it's really a PP plant. So am glad you said it. The leaves don't look velvety but that also is difficult to tell.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 5:52PM
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Yes, it's a PP. The leaves are soft and velvety and had lots of purple when I first got it. Some of the leaves are serrated.

I have a smaller one with more serrated leaves and it's starting to lose it's purple.

I need to open the shutter all the way (not just the slats) and maybe the light will be brighter.

Just my luck. I get back into the hobby of growing houseplants and I lose my sunlight until August! lol

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 7:23PM
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Oakleyok, don't get discouraged. There are lots of houseplants that are low light. You can probably search this forum and find a few threads and suggestions.
Some have really nice texture and foilage also...not just all plain ol' green.

Yes open the shutter, the slats are providing shade.
Later in summer if the leaves burn a but, just tilt the slats'll figure it out.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 7:45PM
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Gobluedjm, it's a beautiful morning so I pruned the plant and set it on the porch for some morning sun.

I opened the shutters at the East window where I have a multi-shelf plant stand which is easy to move, and it let in a lot of nice sunlight. I love my shutters but darn they really block the light for my plants in the summer. OTOH, that's why we have them to help keep the house cool! lol

I have a lot of plants right now so I won't be buying anymore unless they die due to lack of light. :) I'm looking forward to Summer Solstice when I'll start getting my direct sunlight back in the big south windows!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 1:26PM
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maidinmontana(Zone 5 Billings MT)


I hope this isn't too late. . . but please be careful when putting it outside. You should acclaimate it slowly, especially since it hs been deprived of direct sunlight.

What exposure does the window with the shutters get? I'd say western exposure this time of year would be good for it. I have a wandering jew in a west window that is doing well and staying purple.

Good luck, you got a lot of good advise here, as always. . .:)


    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 10:29PM
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Madeinmontana, the western window is even worse! I have a west window above the kitchen sink and one in the dining room. But we have a roof over the patio and large oak trees beyond that. If any sun sneaks through it's when the sun is low on the horizon before sunset. I do have two plants there doing well though.

I opened the large shutters on the big south window yesterday so it's getting more sun (a little) and the light is brighter.

The plant has had direct sun before, so I'm going to put it back on the porch today when it warms up a bit.

Does anyone else go through this in the summer when the sun is high and they lose their direct sunlight?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 8:16AM
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It's definitely not a Purple Passion, they have much different leaves and they kind of ramble. Maybe it's a type of perilla? The extra sun should do it good.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 9:27AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Thank you Cattail, for saying that; I agree that I don't think it's a PP. This really does have the wrong leaf shape & growth habit.

OO, pls. do a search for Gynura & then isolate it to Images & once you've seen that, you'll see (hopefully) why a few of us are questioning this ID.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 3:07PM
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I think perhaps the confusion is maybe between purple passionflower and just purple passion.
What oakleyok has is definately not purple passionflower.
I also think the common name is being used perhaps for more than one species...just like umbrella plant and creeping charlie.

Purple passionflower is:
Passiflora incarnata

Velvet plant is:
Gynura aurantiaca

Even Wikipedia says Gynura is known as purple passion...if you believe everything on Wikipedia ;)
Whatever it is I think we all agree with the coloring it needs more light.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 5:54PM
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I also question the id. The leaves in the photo seem to have way to many teeth for a purple passion/Gynura aurantiacam plus, the the over all leaf shape looks wrong.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 10:43PM
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It's pretty clear that it's not a passiflora or a purple passion. I still think it could be a perilla. The stem looks like it might be square and the leaves look like perilla leaves. And if it is a perilla, then I'm sure she'd like to keep it outside where it can look its best and really grow, and maybe take cuttings. Would also be good to know what this is since a pet has chewed on the leaves (I think perilla can be poisonous, but I really don't know since Japanese shiso isn't, though it sticks in my mind that some kinds are).

It gave me something to think about today!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:40PM
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I looked up Perilla and it didn't have any purple on it.

You can't tell by my picture but the plant does have a glaze of purple on it, especially the stems. And the stems are round.

Does Perilla have purple to it?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 11:31AM
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here are a few links to look into

Here is a link that might be useful: perilla

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 5:07PM
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Hmmm, it's very similar but mine has a lot more purple on it. I didn't see a lick of purple on that image except for the flowers. I know it's hard for a camera to pick up the purple though. Are Perilla leaves velvety?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 6:46PM
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In the descriptions and text it says when given more light more purple. I don't think you looked at all the links.
One of the links says: "The foliage of the Beefsteak Plant is very distinctive when it becomes deep burgundy in bright sunlight. However, its leaves are often olive green in shadier conditions"

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 7:33PM
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There are green perilla, but the ones you'll see for sale now in the annuals section at nurseries are either with burgundy foliage or usually the more flamboyant one called Magilla. I always get some. I found a picture from google images that I imagine looks like yours does when it's in full color- try google images for "perilla" and check out the first 1 or 2 pages.

They do have soft leaves, like coleus. And they look good all summer like coleus.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 10:05AM
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Cat-tail, do you plant them in your flowerbeds?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:49PM
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nanw_4wi(4/SW WI)

There is, indeed, a very purple Perilla, but I think the plant pictured is a Plectranthus, possibly P. 'Mona Lavender'.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 1:21PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Well I could easily be wrong but it DOES look like Gynura aurantiaca to me -- just an extremely light-starved one.

In any event, Oakleyok, yes you can indeed put the plant outside for the summer. Most "houseplants", IME, seem to benefit from summering outdoors. As others have mentioned the most important thing is hardening them off -- exactly as you would do for veggies and other plants started indoors from seed. Of course, as one is hardening off the plants, you must keep in mind how much light is suitable for a particular plant. Plants that in nature grow under intense hot direct sun are never going to be happy even outside if all they get is heavy shade. And plants that are understory plants, are unlikely to adapt to recieving intense hot sun.

Gynura aurantiacas(Purple Passion plants) form their purple hairs in response to what the plant determines is high light levels. The hairs protect the leaves from getting burned (in essence, the plant is providing itself with its own shade). In very low light conditions, not only will the purple coloring be lost, but so will most to all of the hairs as well. It has been a lot of years since I last had one (gave mine away to make room for an orchid) but as I recall, once hardened off properly they will do well with a great deal of direct sun.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 3:59PM
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