Categories: Shrubs & Trees

Looking after your Passion Flower

Share:

The history of the Passiflora

During the 17th century, Spanish missionaries stationed in South America used the flowers of this tropical climber to illustrates certain facets of the passion of Christ. The petals and sepals number many of the Apostles (minus Peter and Judas, who were absent during the Crucifixion) and the blue filaments, the crown of thorns. Some varieties such as Passiflora incarnata yield edible fruit and have fed native Indians for thousands of years. Although it is still used as a commercial fruiting crop, the Passiflora, or Passion Flower has become a favourite ornamental climber in many gardens around the world. The Passiflora is the national flower of Paraguay.

The hardy caerulea

Here in the UK, due to climate change, Passiflora caerulea can be easily grown in all but the most northerly parts. It carries showy white and blue flowers above glossy palmate five-lobed leaves for much of the summer until the first frosts. It is not strictly evergreen, but will keep most of it’s leaves during a milder winter.

The orange fruit of the Passiflora caerulea is edible, but doesn’t really taste of much and is best left hanging on the vines as an attractive addition point of interest. Bees and other nectar-feeding insects will frenzy on the profuse flowers, so a good addition to a wildlife-friendly garden.

Pruning

Pruning a Passiflora is best done at the start of the growing season during spring. It is not advisable to prune your plant later in the year and avoid cutting thicker, wood stems as the Passiflora will not easily re-shoot from such areas. Remove all dead stems with a sharp secateurs to avoid mould and disease.

Feeding

Passifloras require only a minimal amount of care and will happily seek out nutrients by themselves. However, your plants will do well with the occasional high-potassium feed. They especially like tomato feed.

Other varieties to try

P. Perfume Passion

Exotic passion flowers that pervade the air with the sweet scent of Jasmine. The glamorous, purple blooms are followed by inedible egg-shaped, orange passion fruits that make a fascinating feature in late summer.

This spectacular evergreen and tropical climber is best grown in a frost-free conservatory or greenhouse, where temperatures remain above 5°C (41°F).

For a stunning specimen outdoors, grow Passiflora ‘Perfume Passion’ in large patio containers which can be moved to a frost free position over winter. Height: 4m (13″). Spread: 2m (6″).

P. incarnata

Delightful sweet scented 8cm (3in) flowers of mauve/pink and white.

Free flowering from June to September and can be treated as a hardy, herbaceous plant in sheltered gardens.

P. ‘Pink Passion’

From the very latest advances in breeding comes this spectacular climber. The exquisite, pink blooms are followed by inedible egg-shaped, orange passion fruits that make a fascinating feature in late summer.

This exotic evergreen climber is best grown in a frost-free conservatory or greenhouse, where temperatures remain above 5°C (41°F).

For a stunning specimen outdoors, grow Passiflora ‘Pink Passion’ in large patio containers which can be moved to a frost free position over winter. Height: 4m (13″). Spread: 2m (6″).

P. ‘Azure Passion’

From the very latest advances in breeding comes this spectacular climber.

The exquisite blooms of Passiflora ‘Azure Passion’ are followed by inedible egg-shaped, orange passion fruits that make a fascinating feature in late summer.

Tropical climber is perfectly hardy and grows equally well in a conservatory or against a sunny wall outside. Height: 4m (13″). Spread: 2m (6″).

P. alata (Winged-Stem)

Attractive and sweetly scented 10cm (4in) flowers of purple/white and crimson.

Flowering spring through to autumn in a heated conservatory or greenhouse. Edible fruits, popular in Brazilian markets.

James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

Share
Published by
James Middleton
Tags: Blue flowersClimbing PlantsColourful FlowersEasy grow flowersEncourage WildlifeExoticLong Flowering

Recent Posts

Orchids (Phalaenopsis): Care 5 Step Guide

Getting the most out of your Phalaenopis orchid plants. Orchid care: make your orchid bloom all year. Repotting and fertilizer…

12 months ago

Non-toxic plants for baby & pica friendly gardening

A long list of non-toxic plants to grow in your garden and on your windowsill. Keep your babies and children…

4 years ago

Weird & attractive vegetables to grow this year

An usual assortment of great tasting and nutritious vegetables that will also make great additions to the ornamental border as…

4 years ago

Grow your own – why bother? [An Exposé]

Improve you health and happiness levels by growing your own vegetables on your allotment plot this year.

4 years ago

Baking soda – Organic mildew treatment – courgettes, pumpkins & cucumbers

Get on top of that powdery mildew from your squashes with a simple and organic solution that you are bound…

5 years ago

Nettle feed – free organic fertiliser [how to guide]

You hate nettles, but love healthy vegetables and flowers. Right? While stinging nettles do so well, your beloved garden plants require…

5 years ago