The passiflora known more commonly as the “passion flower vine” is one of the “new” vines introduced for spring color offerings available at garden centers.
If you’re ready to add a conversation plant or something really unique to the outside patio on a trellis, take a look at this Brazilian native.
To learn about care, varieties and catch some video, continue reading the rest of the post below…
Passiflora From Brazil
The purple passion fruit makes its home from southern Brazil through Paraguay and in parts northern Argentina. Before 1900, passion fruit was partially naturalized and flourishing in coastal areas of Australia.
Seeds of the passion fruit were brought from Australia to Hawaii and first planted in 1880. It wasn’t long, because of its fast-growing nature that the passiflora vine became popular in home gardens.
Passion vines prefer a frost-free climate. Some cultivars can take temperatures into the upper 20’s (F) without serious damage.
The “Blue Passion Vine” is pretty cold hardy and salt tolerant but the plant does not grow well in intense summer heat.
The yellow passion fruit is tropical and isn’t fond of frost. The purple and yellow forms both need protection from the wind.
They make quite a few products from the plant and fruit – Like tea.
Another interesting item about the Passiflora is that they are very popular with butterflies such as zebra longwing and gulf fritillary butterfly.
There are dozens of passion vines, both edible and non-edible. Our focus will be on the ornamental variety.
Question: Are the fruits of passion flowers edible?
Answer: Many species of passion flowers bear edible fruits. among them, Passiflora data, antioquiensis, edula, incarnate (the Maypop of southern US), laurifolia, ligularis, and maliformis.
Is The Passion Flower An Annual or Perennial?
The Passion Flower is a quick-growing perennial plant which spreads via root suckers. It is a climbing vine and can cover large areas above ground and spread far and wide below ground.
In climates that experience warm winter temperatures, it is a woody plant. In very cold temperatures, the above-ground vegetation dies off during winter and the plant is herbaceous.
Culture And Growing Passion Flower Vines
Location of Passion Fruit
Care for the passion fruit vines requires full sun except during those very hot summer days, if possible provide some partial shade. The vine is a fast grower and can get out of hand, so if possible plant it next to a chain link fence or on a trellis. and
What Soil Does Passion Fruit Flower Like?
The vines grow in many soil types but make sure the plant gets excellent drainage.
A well-drained soil is still the best. Also, passion flowers grow excellently on soils with pH levels of 6.5 to 7.5.
How Often To Water The Passion Flower Plant?
If you want to keep the vines flowering almost continuously, regular water is necessary.
The vines are shallow-rooted and will benefit from a thick layer of organic mulch in the soil.
Passion Vine Pruning – Is It Needed?
Although the passionflowers don’t need pruning to encourage growth, prune the fast-growing vine to keep it in control and encourage branching.
Prune in early spring as this serves as the perfect time when new growth appears. Avoid cutting the main stems, just remove those unwanted twining stems.
Passion Flower Fertilizer
Passiflora vines are vigorous growers and require regular fertilizing. Stay away from just using a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer.
This may promote good growth but possibly too much green and not enough flower. Use a solid fertilizer with a ratio more along the lines of a 2-1-3.
What USDA Hardiness Zone Will The Passion Flower Grow?
The Passion Flower is listed as hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5-9; however, it may actually struggle in zone 5 and may not survive very cold winters.
If you live below zone 6 you should plant Passion Flower in a sheltered area near a wall so and provide the roots with protection against the cold in the wintertime. [source]
To identify your hardiness zone, use this handy interactive USDA map
6 Things To Remember When Buying Passiflora Plants
- Find out when your nursery receives new shipments
- Look for clean undamaged foliage
- Inspect the plants for good root systems
- Don’t let them hang out the window on the ride home
- Don’t let them sit in the car while you run into the store.
- They must acclimate to their new environment
Video showing many varieties of Passion Vines
When Does The Passion Flower Bloom?
The Passion Flower blooms from mid-summer to early fall. It is typically in bloom from July to September. The flowers are attractive and fragrant.
They transition into edible, egg-shaped fruits called Maypops.
These fruits are fleshy and quite tasty. They are good for eating out-of-hand and for making jelly.
Fruits are called Maypop because they pop loudly when stepped on. [source]
Why Isn’t My Passion Flower Blooming?
As the Passion Flower has grown in popularity, it has found itself planted in a variety of conditions and in areas it would never naturally grow.
Even though (or perhaps because) the plant is essentially a vigorous wildflower, these unusual circumstances can interfere with its performance.
Here are four of the most common reasons Passion Flower fails to bloom.
Age of The Plant
Like many types of plants, some Passion Flowers need several years to become established and bloom. This is especially true if you grow your plant from seed.
Depending upon your climate, passion flower may grow as a woody plant or a tender perennial. Woody plants often have a “juvenile stage” which precedes maturity.
During this phase, the plant will not flower. Instead, it will produce lots of leaves and shoots.
This may go on for a couple of years, but if you will just be patient with your plant and continue to care for it, you will eventually be rewarded with flowers.
Too Much Fertilizer
Remember the passion vine flower is basically a wildflower. They do better with less care and less nutrition.
Pampering and excessive fertilizing can lead to lots of leaves and no flowers. This is especially true if you feed a high nitrogen fertilizer, which encourages vegetative growth.
Your best bet is to stop fertilizing and water your plant thoroughly to wash away as much nitrogen as possible.
Adding phosphorus (i.e. bone meal) to the soil may also help balance nitrogen levels.
Not Enough Sunlight
Like most flowering, fruiting plants, Passion Flower needs lots of sun in order to produce. Keeping the plant in the shade may result in lots of leaves and few or no flowers.
Not Enough Water
These plants are drought tolerant, but that doesn’t mean that they do their best in drought conditions.
If you want a plant with plenty of pretty flowers and fruit, you must plant it in well-draining soil and give it plenty of water.
Ample water helps deliver nourishment to the leaves and other plant structures so the plant can thrive and flowers and fruit can grow.
These four considerations usually account for lack of flowering in Passion Flowers vines and many other natives, and flowering plants.
When you keep your climate and the plant’s growth habits in mind and take care to provide the right amount of nourishment, water and light, your plant will surely produce pretty blossoms in good time. [source]
Exotic Passion Flowers Have Been Symbolized With The Crucifixion
Early missionaries devoted to botany saw in the flowers a religious symbol. The flower parts, indicated in image, suggested to them the Passion of Christ, and thus the flower was named.
These exotic passion flowers have been symbolized with the crucifixion and sometimes look like they resemble something from outer space.
- 1 – Ten petals represent the ten apostles present at the crucifixion, Peter and Judas being absent;
- 2 – Corona or crown represents the crown of thorns or thought to be emblematic of the halo
- 3 – Five anthers suggestive of the five wounds or emblematic of hammers used to drive nails
- 4 – Three stigmas representative of the three nails piercing the hands and the feet.
Not shown are the tendrils representing cords or whips and the leaves suggesting the hands of the persecutors.
The passion flower plant was one of the treasures found by the Spaniards in the new world.
Years later taxonomists classified the passion flower passiflora in a large family containing many species and a great number of hybrids.
Today, probably the best known hybrid is Passiflora alata-caerulea.
This passion flower variety has the largest and showiest flowers of them all and is a hybrid between Passiflora alata and Passiflora caerulea.
For more read Epic Gardening’s article!
Principal Passiflora Species & Hybrids
Passiflora alata, has winged stems, large fragrant flowers of crimson, purple and white, and yellow edible fruit about 5 in. long.
Passiflora ‘Alata-Caerulea’ – a hybrid between Passiflora alata and the blue passiflora caerulea, favorite with three-parted green leaves and fragrant four-inch flowers.
The petals and fringed crown combine pink, white, blue, and royal purple. Since the blooms are so large there are not as many of them.
Passiflora antioquiensis – Seeds are available for this South American species with five-inch red flowers, three-lobed leaves, edible fruit.
Passiflora bryonoldes – A vine with more slender growth. The foliage is three-to-five-lobed and more rounded than pointed.
The blue-and-white flowers with a rose-fringed crown are the same color as Passiflora edulis and each flower sets one-inch green fruit that ripens to purple-black.
The seeds are orange colored and they germinate well. The seedlings bloom the first year. It is a dainty and interesting vine to grow.
Passiflora caerulea – “Blue-crowned” passiflora with five-parted leaves and flowers in blue, rose, and pale green. The egg-shaped yellow fruit is edible. This is one of the more hardy species. Its variety, grandiflora, has larger flowers.
Passiflora cinnabarina – This Australian native has five-inch pebbly three-lobed rounded foliage and bears red, five-petaled star-shaped scarlet flowers, with a small yellow crown, followed by green aromatic fruits.
Does not appear to be a vigouous grower. The flowers are not as showy as many others passion flower varieties.
Passiflora sanguinolenta – also known as blood red passion flower which comes from Ecuador. It is a smaller type of perennial vine that can take frost.
Passiflora coccinea – Toothed oval leaves, free-flowering species with scarlet and orange flowers.
We are indebted to Dr. Ira S. Nelson, professor of horticulture at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (formerly Southwestern Louisiana Institute), Lafayette, Louisiana, for re-introducing this spectacular variety.
He shared in his writings that of all the material he collected in Bolivia in 1954, this is the most showy.
“The two-inch fruit is pulpy and tart with an exotic flavor and pleasing aroma. It is well branched and sturdy” and reported that the plant he collected bloomed in late August each year since it began blooming.
Passiflora coriacea – is indeed different. Its foliage suggests a bat in flight. It has been dubbed the “bat-leaf” passiflora.
The lovely Blue-green leaves are mottled with silver or off-white. The 1 1/2-inch twin flowers are a pleasing golden yellow, and have five petals and no sepals.
Cuttings root well and usually bloom even while rooting in water.
Passiflora edulis – passionfruits, or purple granadilla – Three-lobed leaves, two-inch flowers white and purple fruit about the size of a hen’s egg, fruit used in many recipes in the tropics. A good climber, grown as a commercial crop in Australia, incarnata (maypop) is a native; fruit edible; flowers white, pink and purple.
Passiflora exoniensis a hybrid between Passiflora vanvolxensi and Passiflora mollissima, has large showy flowers of brick-red and rose-pink.
Passiflora foetida – Three-pointed leaves; two-inch flowers pinkish, with three fern-like fronds below the sepals. Brillant red fruit used in dried arrangements.
Passiflora incarnata – maypop, May apple, purple passion vine, wild passion flowers. Passiflora incarnata or purple passion plant.
A southern native, hardy with light frost, with three-inch blue-and-white flowers and three-lobed foliage which is pointed with a center lobe is six by two inches.
Passiflora laurifolia (Jamaica-honeysuckle) has entire leaves, white flowers spotted red, and yellow edible fruit.
Passiflora lutea – Hardy, and often native from Philadelphia south; one-inch yellow flowers.
Passiflora manicata is a rapid and vigorous climber, suitable for outdoor planting in the warmer parts of the country. It makes a fine show with its profusion of bright scarlet flowers set off with a blue crown.
Passiflora mollissima – Three-lobed, fuzzy leaves; three-inch rose flowers.
Passiflora quadrangularis – giant (Granadilla) one of the chief species grown for fruit. It is a tall strong grower, with large fragrant flowers of white, red and purple, and yellowish-green fruits to 9 in. long.
Passiflora racemosa (princeps) – Four-inch crimson flowers touched with purple and white, deeply lobed leaves, is one of the best of the red-flowered species, and has been largely used in hybridizing.
Passiflora tomentosa – Fuzzy vine with pink and purple flowers.
Passiflora trifasdata – Known for its variegated foliage, which is three-lobed to one-third of the leaf, with irregular rose-pink bands along the midrib, shading to silver and other hues, depending on the light in which it grows.
This foliage is most colorful if it is located in less sun than the all green varieties. Undersides of the leaves are wine-red. The 1 3/4-inch flowers are white to yellow with petals recurved and fragrant.
Passiflora violacea – exquisite 3 1/2-inch flowers which suggest “lavender and old lace.” The rich violet-lavender filaments have curled tips, eliminating any stiff appearance.
Even the petals and sepals are flushed lavender and three sepals are tipped with small green balls, the size of a radish seed, in place of the spine some other varieties have.
Flowers are fragrant and foliage is three-lobed and pointed. This vine has been hardy all the way to Minnesota when growing near the house foundation.
Common Name: Passion Flower
Source: Wise Garden Encyclopedia