Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Get Super Exicted About Plants

I got my hands on a cutting of one that I didn't have before. It's common name around here is the purple passion plant, botanical name is Gynura aurantiaca. And, boy is it interesting. Here's a picture of what it looks like.

Awesome isn't it? In this area, it is a houseplant. It can't survive our winters outside. But, where I'm moving in about a year and a half, it's an outside plant.

It's a vine in the Asteraceae family. The same family that asters, sunflowers, coneflowers, daisies, zinnias, and marigolds belong to. This plant will bloom late spring to early summer with orange blooms but they have a pretty rancid odor. To prevent this odor, just pull off the flower buds as you see them come up. It's not grown for its blooms anyhow. It's grown for the awesome purple fuzzy on the leaves and stems.

Propagation is super easy, too. Just nick a piece about 6" long and bury the stem lightly under potting soil with the leaves sticking out and voila! a new plant. It's not so hard to care for either. So, even those with a black thumb can keep one of these. It doesn't like to get dry, so just keep the soil moist. If you're in Zones 9-12 you can keep it outside in a part shade area. Inside it should go in a North facing window to get filtered sunlight. If this lovely plant is kept moist and in filtered light it will be very happy and grow and grow and grow. If the tendrils start getting too long for your liking, snap it off and make a new plant. You can always share the love of plants with someone else.

Other common names include: purple velvet plant, royal purple plant, velvet plant, purple passion vine, and purple nettle.

I think this will be the start of a weekly plant post. I am a Horticulture major and plants are something I love. So, I'll take my own advice and spread the love.

Next week: Plant Hardiness Zones

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