Passiflora - Passion Flowers

  • The roots are more susceptible to frost than other parts of the plant.  Mulch roots of passion flowers grown out doors in winter.  If grown in a cold greenhouse, give pots extra protection by wrapping in bubble film. If outdoor grown passionflowers are frosted hard back, it could take until May-June for them to re-shoot so don’t give them up for dead too soon.
  • Hardier Passion flowers can be grown successfully against a warm south-facing wall of a house.
  • Passion flowers like humid and well-ventilated conditions.  Spraying the leaves with water or damping down floors, and keeping vents or windows open on hot days helps to create these conditions.
  • In the wild many Passion flowers thrive in poor, well-drained soil.  Ensure that you mirror these conditions by using a well drained, loam based compost with added grit or sand.  Only pot on when the plant has a good root-ball with little or no loose compost visible when you take it out of its pot, and use a pot no more than 1 inch bigger all round. Avoid over-watering especially while the roots are growing into the new compost, and don`t pot on after the end of July. (Plants will survive the winter much better if the pot is full of roots.)
  • Outdoors, dig plenty of grit into the soil, and plant on a slight mound.
  • Passion flowers don’t like too many nitrates so don’t over-feed, especially outdoors as plants will use the nitrates already present in the soil and from the rain. Top dressing, pot grown plants with a little slow release fertiliser in spring should be enough to feed the plant gently throughout the summer.
  • In their natural habitat, many Passion flowers grow up through the canopies of trees.  Ensure that you give the plant a good support to climb up such as an obelisk or a trellis.
  • Pruning should be done in spring when new growth starts to appear.  In most cases you can simply prune back to within the area you have for it to grow.  During the summer, if your plant is getting a bit out of control, simply cut it back to where you want. Be aware however, that this will trigger more vigorous growth so this may need to be done several times throughout the summer.
  • Many Passion flowers produce fruit but this will depend on Bees and other insects being able to pollinate the flowers. Obviously this is no problem out doors but plants grown in a conservatory/greenhouse may receive less attention from Bees if they cannot access the flowers easily.
  • The commonly available Passion Fruit comes from Passiflora edulis. Most fruit borne by other species are also edible but will vary in taste. Some are not particularly palatable.  Be very careful however and do not eat fruit from a plant if you are unsure which one it is. Some such as Passiflora giberti have fruit which is edible when ripe but toxic when unripe. These are probably best avoided all together