Purple Passion Plant (Gynura aurantiaca)

Moosetrackz(9)September 23, 2011

I've had a Purple Passion plant for almost a year now. It seems like its doing fine. I've taken small cuttings from it and grown another plant that's fine and healthy also.

So the plant seems great but when I was reading about the care of the plant I read that they can grow up to 10 feet a season.

Mine has stayed about the same size all year. It bloomed once but has only grown maybe 3 inches. Am I doing something wrong? Its under a balcony and has plenty of bright light and partial full sun. Its in MG potting mix. I water it about once a week and fertilize about once a month at half strength.

Can I do anything to make it grow more?

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zzackey(8b GA)

Maybe it needs to be rootbound before it will grow that much? I think the key phrase is up to 10 feet. It doesn't mean it will grow that much. We used to sell them in a garden center I worked in. I don't remember them growing very much. I remember the orange (stinky?) flowers. Haven't seen one in a long time. It brings back good memories. Your plants look healthy.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 6:16PM
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Yes the flowers are horrible lol. I took it as a good sign that it flowered. Im just confused because I've heard it grows like a weed but mine hasn't gotten very big.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 7:10PM
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I also have a purple passion plant and it hasn't grown very much either. I did get the flowers which surprised me because I didn't realize it would! Ellen

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 8:26PM
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I grow mine indoors under lights and it has taken off. My problem is trying to get it bushier, not longer. I was surprised at the bloom as well, however, I didn't detect an odor at all.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 11:38PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hey Moose,

Maybe don't believe everything your read?

I agree that yours does look healthy & happy. The 4th pic in particular shows that you're providing sufficient light levels to keep that much purple, not so easily done sometimes.

This was a common plant when I was in college, I saw folks struggle to keep them so lush & purple. I don't recall it to be a fast grower either.

No one has made the distinction about indoor vs. outdoor growing. Maybe outdoors or in greenhouses they'll grow that much, but I doubt it, think it's quite exagerated.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 1:26PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I have some ideas, but first ..... what are you using for fertilizer?


    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 1:33PM
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Moose. Like Karen said, 'Don't believe everything you read.'

It 'CAN' grow 10" a year. Sure it can! I disbelieve it.

If you Google Gynura aurantica size, it reaches 9.3' length at maturity.

Unless it's grown in perfect conditions, like a gh, 'bright light/humidity' during winter months, more often than not, Gynura's need pruning.
Otherwise, they grow spindly. Pinching helps, but length is shorter but compact.

Gynura is a lovely plant, especially when leaves are deep purple. Toni

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 4:30PM
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Hi Tapla

I'm fertilizing with Miracle Grow water soluble all purpose plant food. I use it at half strength one a month during growing season.

I don't believe everything I read on the internet lol but I would have thought it would have grown at least as much as my Sting of Pearls that I got at the same time. I thought SOP grew much slower than purple passion plant.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 5:14PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The fertilizer sounds good if it's their 24-8-16 blend instead of the 20-20-20.

My guess is that you're probably dealing with the cyclic death & regeneration of a fraction of the roots that occurs whenever you water. When using heavy, peat-based soils, you're pretty much stuck with having to suffer the ill effects of that layer of saturated soil that occurs at the bottom of the pot. The fine roots, those responsible for the lion's share of the work, begin to die very soon (within hours) of the soil becoming saturated. The longer the soil is saturated, the larger the diameter of the roots killed. The plant then puts nearly all of it's energy into regenerating roots to support the existing top. Only when roots have regenerated to the point they can sustain the top does the plant chemically rearrange its priorities so it can focus on top growth.

I would try using a wick through the drain hole. Water over the sink & allow the wick to hang below the pot until it stops dripping. Tilting the pot at a steep angle after watering generously will significantly reduce the amount of water in the saturated layer at the bottom. It IS important to water copiously when you do water (not in small sips), otherwise you'll also be dealing with the ill effects of accumulating salts.

FWIW - pruning a plant doesn't correct spindly growth. Pruning w/o making sure light is adequate and supplying N at appropriate levels still leaves you with the same spindly stems - just more of them. 'Spindly' is a by-product of light levels, N supply, and to some degree the type of N supplied, with nitrate forms of N getting the nod as a helpful guard against 'spindly' over ammoniacal forms of N such as found in fertilizers utilizing urea as their N source.

Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 gets most of its N from nitrate sources, so it really does help to keep plants stout & compact by keeping those internodes tight.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 9:45PM
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Thank you very much Al!

That was excellent information. I will try the wick thing.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 2:44PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Great! The main reason you can by short, stout bedding plants (for the garden & outdoor mixed containers) that are sexually mature (already blooming) is because of how the plants are fertilized. Usually, the plants will be started using fertilizers with an NPK ratio of around 3:1:2 (Ratios are different than NPK %s. 24-8-16, 12-4-8, and 9-3-6 are all 3:1:2 RATIOS). At some point after the plant is bumped up from plug size into a larger container, the fertilizer ratio is reduced to 2:1:2. The reduced ratio leaves the plant slightly N deficient, which inhibits elongation and reduces internode length considerably. Finally, the grower switches to a 'finishing fertilizer, which utilizes nitrate sources for the nitrogen it supplies, which shortens internodes even further and helps the plant to grow fuller/bushy.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 4:40PM
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