Passion Flower Vine Care Guide: Tips On How To Grow Passiflora Plants

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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.

The name “Passiflora” comes from the Latin phrase ‘passio’ meaning suffering, and ‘flos’ meaning flower.

beautiful passion flower vine bloomPin

If you’re ready to add a conversation plant or something really unique trellis vine for the outside patio, take a look at this Brazilian native.

Passiflora Plant Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Passiflora spp.
  • Common Name(s): Passion Flower Vine, Passion Flower
  • Synonyms: N/A
  • Pronunciation: Pas-i-floh’ra
  • Family & Origin: Passifloraceae family, native to South America, southern Brazil through Paraguay and northern Argentina
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: 5-9
  • Size: Can grow up to 30 feet long
  • Flowering: Blooms in mid-summer to early fall with fragrant flowers
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade with at least 4 to 6 full hours of sunlight a day
  • Humidity: Prefers moist air (around 60% relative humidity)
  • Temperature: Can tolerate a range of temperatures, but prefers warm temperatures
  • Soil: Well-draining soil
  • Water: Regular watering
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize regularly with solid slow-release fertilizer or balanced, general-purpose fertilizer
  • Pests & Diseases: Can be susceptible to aphids, caterpillars, spider mites, whiteflies, and fungal diseases
  • Propagation: Propagate through stem cuttings or by layering
  • Plant Uses: Used as an ornamental plant, and the fruit can be eaten or used to make juice or jelly. The plant also has medicinal properties.

To learn about care and varieties and catch some videos, continue reading the rest of the post below…

Passiflora From Brazil

The purple passion fruit makes its home in South America from southern Brazil through Paraguay and in parts of northern Argentina. Before 1900, the passion vine was partially naturalized and flourishing in coastal areas of Australia.

It commonly grows 10′ to 30′ feet long.

Seeds of the passion fruits 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 where it thrives in full sun.

The Passionflower vine prefers a frost-free climate. Some cultivars can take temperatures to the upper 20° degrees Fahrenheit without serious damage. However, this vine prefers warm temperatures.

The “Blue Passion Vine” is pretty cold-hardy, and salt tolerant, but the plant does not grow well in the 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 plants 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 butterflies.

There are dozens of passionflower vine varieties, both edible and non-edible. Our focus will be on the ornamental variety.

Question: Are passion fruits edible?

Answer: Many species of passion flowers bear edible fruits. Among them, Passiflora alata, antioquiensis, edula, incarnate (the Maypop of southern US), laurifolia, ligularis, and maliformis.

Is The Passionflower Vine An Annual or Perennial?

The Passionflower is a quick-growing perennial plant that spreads via root suckers. It is a climbing vine and can cover large areas above ground during the growing season 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.

Passion Flower Vine Care: Culture And Growing Passion Vines

Location of Passion Fruit
passion vine flowersPin

Care for the passiflora vine 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.

What Soil Does Passion Fruit Like?

The vines grow in many soil types, but make sure the plant gets excellent drainage.

Well-drained soil is still the best. Also, the passionflower vine grows excellently on soils with pH levels of 6.5 to 7.5.

How Often To Water The Passiflora 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.

How Do You Prune A Passionfruit Vine – 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 the growing season begins. This serves as the perfect time when new growth appears. Avoid cutting the main stems, just remove those unwanted twining stems.

What Is The Best Fertilizer Passiflora Fruit Vine Plants?

Passiflora vines are vigorous growers and heavy feeders 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 flowers. Apply a solid slow-release fertilizer with a ratio more along the lines of a 2-1-3.

Insect Pests On The Passiflora Vine

You won’t find the passiflora plant being attacked by a host of insect pests, but it cannot escape them completely.

Other pests that commonly attack passiflora vine include scales, spider mites, and whiteflies.

These plants are also prone to leaf spots, root rot, and other fungal diseases.

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What USDA Hardiness Zone Will The Passion Plant Flower Grow?

Passionflowers are listed as hardy in North America in USDA hardiness zones 5-9; however, they may actually struggle in zone 5 and may not survive very cold winters.

If you live below zone 6 you should plant the Passionflower vine 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

How To Grow A Passion Vine from Seed?

The passiflora plant grows easily from seed, as you will see in this video. You’ll learn what a fresh Passion Fruit Maypop looks like and demonstrate how to remove, prepare and plant the seeds.

As you see, the seed germinates very well within a couple of days when placed just below the surface of the potting soil in a pot placed in a plastic bag in a warm place (windowsill).

This video shares an alternate method using seeds from Maypops that have been allowed to dry out thoroughly. This seems to be a neater and tidier method!

Because the seeds are thoroughly dried, germination takes longer. Add a couple of weeks for the seeds to germinate.

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 Passionflower Vines

When Does The Passion Fruits Bloom?

The Passion vines bloom from mid-summer to early fall. It is typically in bloom from July to September. The flowers are attractive and fragrant and come in purple, blue, pink, red, white shades.

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]

4 Reasons Why My Passion Vine Isn’t Blooming?

As the Passion vine 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, and these unusual circumstances can interfere with its performance.

Here are four of the most common reasons Passiflora vines fail to bloom.

#1 – Age of The Plant

Like many types of plants, some Passiflora plants need several years and growing seasons to become established and bloom. This is especially true if you grow your plant from seed.

Depending upon your climate, the passiflora 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.

#2 – Too Much Fertilizer

Remember the passion vine flower is 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 a phosphorus fertilizer (i.e., bone meal) to the potting soil may also help balance nitrogen levels.

#3 – Not Enough Sunlight

Like most flowering, fruiting plants, Passionflower vines need lots of full sun in order to produce, with at least 4 to 6 full hours of sunlight a day. Keeping the plant in the shade may result in lots of leaves and few or no flowers.

#4 – 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 the lack of flowering in a Passionflower vine and many other natives and flowering plants.

Moreover, Passionflower vines need moist air, around 60% relative humidity.

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 the image, suggested to them the Passion of Christ, and thus the flower was named.

Passion flower vine symbolized with the crucifixionPin

These exotic passiflora 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 plant was one of the treasures found by the Spaniards in the new world.

Years later, taxonomists classified the Passiflora flower as a large family containing many species and a great number of hybrids.

Today, probably the best-known hybrid is Passiflora alata-caerulea. This hybrid variety of passionflower has the largest and showiest flowers of them all.

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’  (aka pfordti) – 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. Vigorous, flowers early, generally free of pests.

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.

It does not appear to be a vigorous grower. The flowers are not as showy as many other passionflower varieties.

Passiflora sanguinolenta – also known as blood-red passiflora flower vine fruit, which comes from Ecuador. It is a smaller type of perennial vine that can take frost.

passiflora flowers come in a wide array of colorsPin

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 is used in dried arrangements.

Passiflora incarnata – maypop, May apple, purple passionflower vines, wild passion flowers. Passiflora incarnata or purple passion plant.

A southern native, Passiflora incarnata is hardy even with a light frost, with three-inch blue-and-white flowers and three-lobed foliage which are pointed with a center lobe is six by two inches.

Passiflora laurifolia (Jamaica-honeysuckle) has entire leaves, and 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) is 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 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 passion flowers near the house foundation.

Family: Passifloraceae
Common Name: Passion Flower

Source: Wise Garden Encyclopedia
Image: source

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