Passion flower

Passion flowers - Grow Guide

Discover how to grow passion flowers (Passiflora) in this handy grow guide.

Like nothing else, passion flowers (Passiflora) offer the most incredible flowers.

These evergreen climbers are either hardy, frost hardy or tender, so choose a species to suit your garden. Some gardeners prefer to grow them in a greenhouse or conservatory.

If given the right growing conditions plants can put on rapid growth. A happy passion flower will flower from July to October and in some case are followed by egg-shaped fruits. Fruits are edible, but only if fully ripe. However, they’re not very tasty – unless you grow Passiflora edulis, which produces the delicious passion fruits sold in the shops.

Discover how to grow passion flowers in this handy grow guide, below.

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Planting position

Plant passion flowers in a position of full sun. The foot of a sheltered, sunny wall in a well-drained soil will provide the best results. Passion flowers enjoy a moist but well-drained soil.

Passion flowers can also be grown in containers. Here, they prefer a more gritty compost that offers free drainage. Avoid a peat-based compost as these can easily become waterlogged.

Avoid a windy spot as foliage can easily be damaged by strong winds.    

Planting technique

Improve the drainage of the soil by digging in horticultural grit. Plant and firm in.

Hardy plants can be trained up a pergola, obelisk or galvanised wires run across a wall. Guide the plant on to the support with a garden cane. The plants are self-clinging thanks to tendrils, so when mature they'll not need tying in. 

Propagation

Growing passion flowers from seed is not easy. Plants that are produced from seed can take over a decade to flower, so propagation from cuttings is preferable.

Take cuttings in early spring. Remove new growth from below a node – about 6cm in length is long enough. Remove the bottom leaves and tendrils and place the cutting in a pot of cutting compost. Cuttings will root successfully when placed in a propagator with bottom heat of around 20ºC. 

Troubleshooting

A very wet and cold winter can lead to the loss of hardy passion flowers. A cold and wet winter is far from ideal. To avoid losing plants, dig in some horticultural grit before planting if you have a heavy soil.

Stems carrying foliage that has been damaged by wind or frost should be cut back in spring.    

Care

Tender passion flowers grown in a container should be moved into a frost-free place for winter. If growing in a greenhouse or conservatory protect the plants from too much direct sunlight with greenhouse shading.

Prune passion flowers after flowering just to keep them neat, cutting back to a healthy bud. There is no need to cut them back hard. If plants have got out of hand and need retraining, cut them back in spring. 

Red watering can

Passion flower tendrils

Passion flowers all have tendrils, so they're good at making their own way up a garden support. Their stems are thin, like those of clematis. As a result they're unlikely to damage the more delicate supports in the way that woody climbers such as wisteria often do. 

Passiflora caerulea
Passiflora caerulea

Passion flowers to grow

  • Passiflora caerulea – blue, white and green flowers in July to October. Hardy. Egg-shaped orange fruits follow the flowers in a good summer. Reaches a height of 10m
  • Passiflora caerulea ‘Constance Elliot’ – white, scented flowers. Flowers from July to October. Reaches a height of 10m. Often needs some winter protection although described as hardy
  • Passiflora edulis – blue and white flowers in July and August. Only suitable for a cool, but frost-free greenhouse or a sheltered, south-facing city garden. Has black edible fruits. Reaches a height of 5m
  • Passiflora antioquiensis – tender, so winter protection is essential. Soft red flowers with a violet corona. Produces yellow fruits. Reaches a height of 5m
  • Passiflora mollissima – the flowers of this species are very different. Long tubular, pale-pink flowers in July and August. Tender, so needs winter protection. Climbs to a height of 4m

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