Mikania is a quick-growing trailing house plant that entered the market in the 1980s. There is a single species of Mikania plants sold as house plants: Mikania ternata. The palmate leaves are green with a purplish sheen, slightly hairy above and densely hairy below.
Mikania plants sold as houseplants are often called “Plush Vine” because of their furry leaves and profusive growth habit. You may also have heard this plant called “Purple Pleasure Mikania.” That’s because the entire plant has a purplish aura.
They’re quite colorful — the vines and leaf veins are purple, and the leaf surface is distinctly red or purple when the plant is kept in a brightly lit spot.
Adding Mikania ternata to your houseplant collection is one way to add color to your indoor garden without trying to force blooms in a darkened interior space.
Purple Pleasure Mikania Ternata
The Mikania genus comprises a diverse group of plants known for their vining or climbing nature and attractive foliage. Besides Mikania ternata, there are several notable species within the genus.
Mikania micrantha (Chinese Creeper) is known for its rapid growth and invasive nature — it can quickly cover and smother other vegetation. It features heart-shaped leaves with prominent veins and a vibrant green color.
Mikania scandens (Climbing Hempweed) is a vigorous climber with long, twining stems and attractive dark green leaves. It is known for its rapid growth and ability to cover trellises, fences, or arbors with its lush foliage and small clusters of white or pale pink flowers.
Mikania guaco (Guaco) is native to Central and South America and is well-known for its medicinal properties. It features serrated leaves with a velvety texture and a light green color. It is often brewed as a tea or used in herbal remedies.
Mikania ternata, commonly known as Purple Pleasure Mikania, or is native to Central and South America. It thrives in tropical and subtropical regions where it grows in moist, shaded areas in forests, along rivers, or in disturbed habitats.
Purple Pleasure Plant Features
Purple Pleasure has much to offer to houseplant enthusiasts looking for a challenging exotic specimen:
The foliage of Mikania ternata is lush and vibrant, featuring elongated, lance-shaped leaves with rippled edges that grow opposite each other along the stems. The leaves are typically dark green in color and are covered in fine purplish hairs, giving them a velvety texture.
Mikania ternata produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are often greenish-white in color. The tubular flowers are arranged in panicles or clusters.
Purple Pleasure Mikania has a vigorous growth habit and can climb or trail along surfaces, reaching a mature height of up to 10 feet or more, depending on the growing conditions. It forms a dense, bushy shape with numerous slender stems.
Mikania ternata has a long history of medicinal usage in traditional herbal medicine. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties and has been used to treat respiratory conditions, including coughs, asthma, and bronchitis.
However, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes. Mikania ternata might not be as effective as Mikania guaco, the species more commonly used medicinally.
Purple Pleasure Mikania Growing Instructions
Growing Purple Pleasure Mikania requires the right conditions. More specifically, they can be picky about moisture and light.
Purple Pleasure is not a happy houseplant in the living room – it needs moist air and warmth. However, misting may damage the leaves.
Taking care of Purple Pleasure Mikania ternata involves providing the right light, soil, moisture, and fertilization. Follow these instructions for optimal care:
Place the Mikania ternata Purple Pleasure in a location with bright, indirect light, such as a hooded grow light. It thrives in partial shade or filtered sunlight.
Avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.
Provide the plant with approximately 6-8 hours of indirect light per day.
Avoid prolonged exposure to darkness or extremely low light conditions.
Mikania ternata prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil pH.
Maintain a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 for optimal growth.
Best Soil Type
Use a well-draining potting mix that retains some moisture without becoming waterlogged. Many houseplants recommend using African Violet potting mix.
Alternatively, a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and organic matter provides good drainage while retaining some moisture.
Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy.
Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch or use a moisture meter to be sure.
Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.
Optimal Fertilizer Type and Schedule
Feed Purple Pleasure Mikania ternata with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer). Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength.
Apply the fertilizer every 2-4 weeks, following the package instructions.
Keep in mind that excessive fertilization can lead to leggy growth.
Growing Purple Pleasure Outdoors
Purple Pleasure is best suited for growing outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 65°F and 85°F.
Avoid exposing it to temperatures below 50°F, as this can cause damage or even death to the plant.
If you live in a subtropical region, be prepared to bring your Purple Pleasure Mikania indoors when nights get cold.
Tips for Growing Purple Pleasure Mikania Ternata
Once you’ve purchased one of these fuzzy purple beauties, you’ll want to keep it looking its very best. Here are a few tips for success.
Provide humidity by placing the plant in a humid room or placing it on a humidity tray filled with water and pebbles.
Rotate the plant periodically to ensure even exposure to light. This results in more even growth and prevents it from leaning toward the light source.
Maintain a consistent watering schedule, ensuring the soil remains evenly moist but not waterlogged.
Prune the plant to maintain its desired shape and to remove any dead or damaged foliage.
To encourage a bushy and healthy appearance, regularly pinch back the growing tips of your plant. This will promote branching and result in a fuller plant. (You can also grow new plants from the cuttings!)
Additionally, provide adequate air circulation for your Purple Pleasure Plant. Avoid overcrowding it near other plants to prevent fungal diseases.
Monitor for pests, such as aphids or spider mites, and take appropriate measures if infestations occur.
Propagating Purple Pleasure Mikania Ternata
If you’ve been trimming back your Purple Pleasure Mikania regularly, you can make more Mikania plants from the cuttings.
To propagate Purple Pleasure, you can follow these detailed step-by-step instructions:
Gather your materials
You’ll need clean pruning snips, sterile pots or containers, a well-draining potting mix, a misting spray bottle, and rooting hormone (optional).
Take the cuttings
- Choose healthy stems for propagation. Look for non-flowering stems that are around 4-6 inches long and have several sets of leaves.
- Using clean pruning shears, make a clean, diagonal cut just below a leaf node (the point where leaves emerge from the stem). Remove the lower leaves, leaving only a few sets of leaves at the top.
- Optional: To enhance root development, you can dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone powder or gel, following the product instructions.
- Fill the sterile pots or containers with a pre-moistened, well-draining potting mix. A mix containing perlite, vermiculite, or sand works well for Mikania plants.
- Make a small hole in the potting mix with a pencil or finger and insert the cut end of the stem into the hole. Gently press the soil around the stem to ensure good contact.
- Using a misting spray bottle, lightly mist the leaves and soil surface to increase humidity and prevent excessive moisture loss.
Create a Mini Greenhouse
Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag or place it in a propagation tray with a transparent lid to create a mini greenhouse effect. This helps maintain high humidity around the cuttings.
Provide Indirect Light
Place the pots in a location with bright, indirect light. Avoid exposing the cuttings to direct sunlight, as it can cause excessive heat or leaf burn.
Maintain Optimal Conditions
Check the soil regularly and water as needed to keep it slightly moist but not overly wet. Avoid waterlogging, as it leads to rot. Ensure good airflow to prevent fungal diseases.
Monitor Rooting Progress
After a few weeks, gently tug on the cuttings to check for resistance, indicating root development. If resistance is felt, roots have likely formed.
Once the cuttings have rooted, usually within 4-8 weeks, they can be carefully transplanted into individual pots with well-draining potting mix. Continue providing proper care to the young plants as they establish.
Mikania ternata is an attractive climbing or trailing plant with lush foliage and a charming purple hue that brings color to any houseplant collection. With proper care and attention to its ideal growing conditions, this plant can thrive and add tropical rainforest beauty to your home.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2020 and has been completely updated.