The Gynura aurantiaca is an evergreen herbaceous plant native to Indonesia; in nature it reaches considerable dimensions, but in the container it is generally kept within 40-50 cm of height and width. The stems, semi-woody or herbaceous, are semi-vines, or hanging, and make the plant very suitable for cultivation in hanging baskets. The large leaves are dark green, covered with a dense purple-purple hair, which makes them velvety, for this characteristic it is also called Velluto Porporino.
In late summer it produces small orange flowers, which give off a foul odor: for this reason it is advisable to cut them as soon as they appear. Furthermore, after flowering the plant tends to take on a very untidy and elongated appearance, therefore it is good to shorten the stems slightly.
The plants of Gynura aurantiaca are grown in a shady or partially shaded place, but very bright; the more the plant is exposed to light, the more the down covering the leaves takes on an intense color. They fear the cold, so they are grown as houseplants; It is also possible to use gynuras as annuals in the garden, in this case they tend to develop very much, up to a few meters in length.
The ideal temperature is around 20 ° C and should never be lower than 10 ° C.
As for the amount of water to be supplied to the Velvet plants, from March to October, the soil must be kept constantly humid, watering regularly; during the cold months the Gynura aurantiaca is sporadically watered. It is a plant that likes an environment with high environmental humidity; It is therefore possible to nebulize the leaves, especially when the temperatures are high.
During the vegetative period it is advisable to supply fertilizer for green plants, every 10-15 days, mixed with the water used for watering.
The specimens of Velvet Velvet are grown in a very rich and well-drained soil, consisting of leaf mold, compost soil and little sand that allows to avoid the formation of water stagnation that can be harmful to the health of these specimens. Generally they have a fairly rapid growth and it is therefore good to repot them every 2-3 years at the beginning of spring.
To keep the plant compact it is also possible to shorten it to the ground in early autumn.
The multiplication of the specimens of this type occurs by cuttings, at any time of the year; these thin stems root with great ease. The cuttings should be placed in a mixture of peat and sand.
Purple velvet - Gynura aurantiaca: Pests and diseases
Generally, the Gynura aurantiaca is not affected by parasites or diseases, although excessive water stagnation can favor the development of root rot. Sporadically, the purple velvet plant can be attacked by aphids which can be eliminated with the use of specific insecticidal products or with the use of natural nettle-based preparations, or garlic boiled in water and vaporized on the leaves.
The plant can also present leaves that lose their characteristic color, a symptom that the specimen is placed in a dim place.