What is a Velvet Plant?

Deneatra Harmon

The velvet plant, also identified as the purple velvet plant or the purple passion plant, is a houseplant that is best known for its serrated, medium-green leaves. Purple velvety hairs cover the leaves, hence the name velvet plant and purple velvet plant. A native of Indonesia, this houseplant grows upright or in trails. Velvet plants survive in bright indoor lighting with well-drained potting soil in baskets or containers. Peak blooming times for the leaves and buds occur in the winter season.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Moderate humidity seems to work well for the velvet plant because it originates from the humid tropical rainforests of Java in Indonesia. A pebble tray placed underneath the container or a room humidifier placed nearby adds humidity to the velvet plant if humidity drops to at least 50 percent in the room. Overall, room temperatures must remain between 60 degrees and around 85 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 15.5 to 29 degrees Celsius) so that the purple indoor plant may thrive.

Two forms of purple passion plants exist, including upright and trailing vines. The upright version, which also goes by the botanical name of Gynura aurantiaca, grows up to about two feet tall (0.6 m) in a planting container. The Gynura sarmentosa variety of velvet plant trails or produces vines that grow to around four feet long (1.2 m) in a hanging basket. Placement in a bright, sunlit location within the home gives this tropical shrub its green and purple color as well as its velvety texture. Gardening enthusiasts should avoid leaving the plant directly in a dry, hot sunny area because the leaves may dry up or even scorch.

Purple passion plants require regular watering, especially whenever the soil slightly dries out. Velvet plants need the most water during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Less water is required during the winter season when conditions may be cooler and more damp. Be careful not to get water on the leaves of the purple velvet plant because it may lead to plant rot. As for choosing the right soil, the velvet houseplant withstands well-drained and potted peat moss, perlite, or sand. It should also be fed liquid fertilizer about every couple of weeks during the warm weather seasons and monthly during the cooler seasons.

Planting usually takes place during the spring season by gathering stem cuttings and repotting them into another container or basket. Leaf blooming starts during the winter season, along with the development of yellow flowers later in the season. These flowers should be cut off because they are ugly and present a foul odor, making the plant less attractive.

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Discussion Comments


My mom has a purple passion velvet plant that I have always admired. I don't have much of a green thumb so have never tried growing one of these myself.

The thing I like most about this plant are the hues of purple on the velvety green leaves. I think this is a beautiful plant that is much more striking than a plant that just has green leaves only.

Some day I might decide to grow one of my own, but I would have to be much more diligent about taking care of it than I have with other houseplants I have had in the past.


I don't live in a tropical area, but live where it is very humid in the summer. I have a purple passion plant that I keep in my sun room during the summer. The temperature and humidity in this room make for perfect inside growing conditions for this plant. I bring it inside the house during the colder months and baby it along until I can put it back out in the sun room where it does much better.


@julies-- I love the contrast of the green and purple on the purple passion velvet plant. Purple is one of my favorite colors, so I really enjoy having these plants in my house.

I love the trailing kind and have two hanging baskets with these plants in them. I just have to be careful when I am watering them that I don't get water on the leaves.

When they are hanging up in the air it does make it a little more difficult to water them. One of them did get plant rot because I was too sloppy with the water. Now I am much more careful when I water them and it hasn't happened again.


I started out with one velvet plant in a container and now have three of them in my house. I will take cuttings from one plant and start another one. This is such an easy way to get more houseplants if you like them and want more than one.

They have such a unique color that I have even started some of these in special containers and given them as gifts. Many people are not familiar with these plants, but love them as soon as they see them.

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