The purple velvet plant, Gynura aurantiaca, is a plant with toothed, velvety leaves that's often used as a houseplant. The leaves are actually green but have soft, purple hairs that give them their distinctive color. Clusters of orange flowers that arrive in the spring and summer contrast with the color and texture of the leaves. Another name for this plant is the purple passion plant.
The purple velvet plant is native to Java and can only thrive outdoors in hardiness zones 10 to 12. It grows between 1 to 2 feet tall and has a spread of around 2 to 4 feet. The plant needs bright light but not direct sunlight. It also requires a moderate amount of watering that tapers off during the fall and winter months. The soil needs to be peaty and must be kept moist. If the soil dries out, the plant wilts.
The plant may also benefit from application of a diluted liquid fertilizer every fortnight during the growing season. As with watering, fertilizing needs to be cut back during the winter to about every month.
The purple velvet plant is easy to propagate from cuttings. Some gardeners remove the flowers because they have a somewhat unpleasant odor and are not aesthetically pleasing. The plants have a tendency to decline after flowering.