“ For blooms as showy as the most flamboyant of summer flowers, but with the added zest of the tropics. Flowering from July to September, each bloom is wonderfully exotic consisting a circle of waxy white petals with a central ring of purple, blue and white spiky filaments. Passiflora is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants in the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs, and a few species being herbaceous. „
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I have had my own house for about 2 years now and have only a very small garden with limited space for growing plants. I was bought the Passion Flower by my parents who assured me it was very easy to grow, as I don't have a very good track record with keeping plants alive. This is mainly because I refuse to use slug and snail pellets etc as I think it's cruel.
Anyway, back on topic, here I will be reviewing the beautiful Passion Flower.
The Passion Flower
As I already said, the Passion Flower is very easy to grow, both in conservatories as well as in the garden. This plant originates from the tropical rainforest regions of South America. The ripe Passion Flower has a very distinctive aroma not found in any other flower. The Passion Flower is a climbing plant and the vines which climb are also very pretty with lovely shaped leaves (the leaves are a similar shape to cannabis leaves). The leaves are a dark green colour and once the plant has begun to climb, the leaves are very close together and make up the majority of the plant. The Passion Flower itself is very beautiful, it's purple, yellow and white in colour and can measure 2-3 inches across. Flowers bloom from June to August and for the rest of the year you are left with the leaves which can die and fall off during the winter months, leaving you with just the vines but these all grow back come spring.
The Passion Flower is actually more than just a beautiful flower. The Passion Flower is edible, the fruits and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked in jams and jellies and young leaves can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable or in salads.
The Passion Flower also had medicinal properties. It has been reported that it can help with the following problems:
Passion flower has a tranquilizing effect, including mild sedative and anti-anxiety effects. In studies conducted since the 1930's, it has been found to be different than that of most sedative drugs (sleeping pills), thus making it a non-addictive herb to promote relaxation.
The sedative effect of Passion flower has also made it popular for treating a variety of ailments, including nervousness and insomnia. Research had indicated that passion flower has a complex activity on the body's central nervous system, which is responsible for its overall tranquilizing effects. Also, it apparently has an excellent effect on smooth muscles within the body, including the digestive system which helped promote good digestion.
How To Grow The Passion Flower
Passion Flowers are easy to grow but can sometimes be difficult to keep alive during the winter months because their roots can rot if they are consistently cold and wet - although I have never had a problem with this. In the wild, the Passion Flower would grow where the ground is very well drained therefore you should try to plant your Passion Flower in a well drained area of soil.
I was bought a young passion flower rather than attempting to grow it from seeds. I planted it in a well drained area, and checked it regularly to see if the snails and slugs had been munching on it. I protected the plant while it was small and covered it with a 2 litre lemonade bottle until the plant began to mature and begin to climb.
Looking After The Passion Flower
I find that the Passion Flower takes very little looking after. Obviously during the summer, when the soil is dry, it will need watering. The Passion Flower thrives on lots of water (which is very convenient considering the British weather!). The leaves of this plant are fairly large and can loose large amounts of water whilst the plant is growing so you will need to ensure that during the hottest summer months you water it regularly, preferable on a daily basis but to be honest, during the summer months, I did forget to water it a few times and it didn't die on me! During the winter you will probably have to water it as little as once a week, probably less depending on how much rainfall we have.
If you wish for your Passion Flower to grow very quickly (for example, to fill a particular space) then you can always feed it any of the plant feed on the market and it will take this quite greedily and will make the plant grow very quickly.
As already mentioned, the Passion Flower is a climbing plant. The only other maintenance that I can think of it that you may need to adjust the vines as it grows. For example, I have my Passion Flower growing along the fence and quite often new shoots decide they want to try and grow over my neighbour's fence so I have to untangle them and place them in a place that I want them to grow. I find new shoots on my plant quite often and found that it was very easy to get this plant to fill the space I wanted it to.
The vines have 'feelers' growing from them and this has got to be my favourite part of the plant. The 'feelers' grab hold of anything they can and held to support the plant as it grows. The 'feelers' sort of curl themselves over and over again and if they don't find anything to grab hold of, then they just curl round themselves. I love this part of the plant as I think it adds real character.
Once your plant has reached the size you want it to, you will need to keep it pruned to ensure that it does not take over your garden (and other peoples) as it will do if it is just left. You should prune your plant in spring time when the growth of the plant starts again. You should remove older shoots and any dead sections of the plant and trim back any that have grown further than you wanted them to.
Passion flowers are exotic-looking vines grown mainly for their remarkable and intricate-looking flowers, which bear cross-shaped stamens above a flattish disc of purplish-white petals. The flowers also have a third layer of purple-green filaments; the three-layered flowers, together with the cross-shaped centrepiece appear to recall to people - who think of things in that way - some kind of overtly Christian religious significance, hence the 'Passion' part of the plant's name.
Passion flowers have three-lobed glossy green leaves growing from extremely thin, woody vines. The plants produce abundant pale green spiralling tendrils which they use to climb up any nearby supports. Well-established passion flowers can grow in excess of six feet high, and will grow to cover e.g. trellises / fences against which they're trained with thick, abundant growth. The unusual, many-layered flowers appear in summer and are usually produced in great profusion, covering the plant. Following this, some of the blooms go on to produce the plant's odd, ovoid fruit, which look like small green-brown eggs hanging from the stems. Even in southern Britain some of these will ripen to an attractive bright orange colour. These fruit are reputedly edible - passion flower is a variety or relative of (if not actually the same plant) as produces the unprepossessing-looking, wrinkly green passion fruit you can buy in supermarkets, but I'm not sure enough of the source of this information on edibility to have ever tried this out myself.
Passion flower plants when grown outdoors appear to be deciduous, in that they lose their leaves in autumn, leaving a frankly unsightly sprawl of thin, naked vines. While they are frost-tolerant to some extent, extremely hard winters will knock them back, and prolonged exposure to freezing temperature will kill younger, not-yet-fully-established plants. The plants grow best in a Mediterranean-type climate, free from frost, and can also be established in conservatories where they will grow well.
The young vines are frequently found for sale in garden centres where are two to three foot high plant will cost in the region of £5 to £6. Smaller, foot-high specimens turn up in Morrisons supermarket plants section quite reliably every spring for around the £3 mark. Over the years I have bought a number of both larger and smaller plants, and have tried to establish them in various sheltered sites in the garden as well as in pots, but have never had any success with passion flowers. The leaves as well as the stems seem particularly vulnerable to slug and snail attacks, and the plants I've tried to grow generally get munched by garden wildlife, and then killed outright when the frosts come. This is a shame as passion flowers are plants I'd very much like to have in my garden.
I count the years in our house by thinking about the garden.
When we bought it three years ago this was my first garden, and an ambition fulfilled. My next move for that first summer was to fill it with my favourite plants, and first on my list was a passion flower. Passiflora caerulea was the one that I bought i that first spring from my local garden centre (they cost around a tenner for a young plant) - and is probably the most common.
I planted mine on its own in a reasonably vase shaped large pot - knee high, and as wide at the neck as the distance from my wrist to my elbow. I was wary about planting it in a pot (though I have concluded now that you can plant literally anything in a pot of sufficient size) but the container does keep the plant well drained (though thirsty).
The passion flower is a climber which holds on with tendrils, leaves are a sort of dinosaur foot shape (I'm not a gardener) and a lovely deep green colour. You shouldnt expect flowers in the frst year, but when fat green buds appeared it was pretty exciting - meanwhile the plant had grown five foot up up a seven foot wooden trellis, whilst I guided it toward a steel arch.
The flowers on this plant are stunning. On my plant they are roughly 2 inches in diameter, and look very delicate, colourful and almost unreal. Individually they seem to last maybe a week but the buds open in a staggered manner over a couple of months (on my plant anyway).
They have no scent but we have a sweet smelling jasmine (planted by the previous owners) in a pot upwind from the passion flower which fills in just nicely. Once the flowers die, the fruit starts to appear and adds further interest. The fruit grow to egg size and are smooth and bright green (I am colourblind so don't hold me to this). On some varieties they are edible, on mine, not.
If you have two varieties then one trick to try (and I intend to) is to cross pollenate between them, and harvest the seeds from the resulting fruit. Growing from seeds within this fruit will be a brand new variety unique to your garden.
Once the fruit have dropped autumn has arrived. I can confirm (after last winter's cold snap) that the plant is hardy - certainly in the south of the UK. Problems can occur with rot if standing in water for long - but the pot drainage prevents this. The leaves drop off, the stems harden a bit and you start to think that you'll need another one by next spring. But in its third year now, it keeps on coming back. Being in a pot probably restricts its growth, but then I havent needed to prune and it is weaving back and forth across my steel arch just nicely.
I'm a gardening novice and although I am biased heavily towards this beautiful plant, I would recommend it in an instant.
I loved passion flowers all my life, the whole front of my parents house is covered in them, when in flower they make a very spectacular display (and much more interesting ivy!) so when I got my own garden it was the first plant I bought!
These are a climbing plant, they send out long spindly arms that grab hold and curl around anything in sight, making them great for covering up unsightly walls, fences or trees. They grow really quickly from a tiny plant so no need to spend loads of getting a large plant, they will take about 5 years from seed to flower. They don't start going again until late in spring, so don't worry if it is later then the rest of your plants.
The flowers are the best bit of the whole plant in colours from intense blue to purest white, on the bottom you'll find the traditional petals, next layer up has feathery light petals and then in a star conformation are the stamen. After flowering a large orange fruit appears, which I've never eaten, but apparently doesn't taste of much.
There are over 500 known species of Passion Flower with different colours and shapes, but the most common is Passiflora Caerula - the Blue Passion Flower. For me the Passion Flower is one of the most beautiful and exotic looking flowers. The flower consists of a circle of white petals with a ring of purple along with blue and white pointed filaments in the centre. It looks almost otherworldly with its vivid features set off against a backdrop of deep green foliage.
The Passion Flower is so called not because of some imagined aphrodisiacal quality but because of an historical association with the Christian religion. Missionaries in tropical South America discovered the flower during the early part of the 18th century. To them the flower was a symbol of nature that was a portrayal of the crucifixion: the five stamens represented the five wounds of Christ on the cross; the central receptacle represented the main pillar of the cross; the three styles represented the nails with the hammer being represented by the ovary; the blue fringing corona was seen as the crown of thorns. Even the five sepals and five petals were symbolic of the ten faithful apostles (two are missing because Peter deceived
Christ and Judas betrayed him).
You should expect this flower to bloom from July to September. Passion Flowers need a well-drained soil in sun that warms up quickly in spring. The plant is a rampant grower, a vigorous climbing plant with tendrils that can be trained grow up a wall, over a fence or up a tripod of canes. It is best to choose four or five of the healthiest shoots to train the plant. Once established the flowered shoots can be cut back immediately after flowering to within two or three buds of the established plant structure. Dead and overcrowded stems can be removed during spring. It prefers warmer climates and thrives in hot summers but it is also a relatively hardy plant and will endure temperatures as low as -7C/20F.
If you want to encourage more blooms then you can grow it in a pot so as to restrict the root growth. In this way the plant can then be effectively trained around a circular wire loop that can be attached to the pot. Re-pot annually during early spring for the first two years - potting on into a larger pot only when the root system really fills the pot. After two years just replace the topsoil with fresh compost each spring. In a container a free-draining John Innes No3 compost or similar should be used because Passiflora does not like to remain wet around the roots in winter. Water well everyday during the summer months, but only once a week or so during the winter. I would recommend that, during the summer, you feed the plant half the recommended dose of liquid feed added to water. Beware that over feeding can lead to lush leaf growth but very few flowers. If grown indoors make sure the room is well ventilated and avoid dry atmospheres. Only spray with water if you want to remove dust from the foliage. Flowers have short life spans - each one lasts only 24 hours, but the plant itself can last for years as long as it is given the right care and attention.
Seeds need to be soaked in a small glass of water in a warm location such as a sunny windowsill for two to three days. Healthy seeds will sink to the bottom of the glass. Floating seeds should be discarded. Plant the seeds in a pot at a shallow depth in a mix of well-watered light soil, preferably with a mixture of vermiculite and perlite. Put the pot on a saucer and place inside a plastic bag. Blow into the bag to inflate it then tie tightly at the top and leave in a warm place. You must ensure that the seeds never dry out.
Patience may be necessary as germination in my experience can vary from a few days up to a month or more. Initially leave the seedlings in the shade and pot them on quickly in a light potting mix while the root growth remains shallow. Keep the young plants in a plastic bag, but gradually roll it down over a week or so to let in the outside air. Finally place somewhere sunny with good air circulation.
Seeds should be easy to find at most garden centres or on line for less than £2.
Avoid training the plant too tightly. You have to let it all hang out a bit. You are likely to get more flowers outdoors if you let the foliage droop and hang down rather than training it to be too neat and compact on a framework. This is also important if you want to encourage fruit production. When I have seen this plant growing in Brazil, it is usually grown more loosely, so that the foliage hangs down a framework rather than being trained to grow up it. The branches that droop a bit will be the ones most likely to flower.
The Fruits of your Labour
Passion fruit have been grown as a semi-cultivated crop for thousands of years by the Aztecs, Incas & other indigenous people from South America. The Passiflora Caerula produces a tangy fruit rich in vitamin C but unless you have a warm green house, fruit production might be a bit of a challenge if you're a gardener living in a cooler climate. The Passion fruit when fully ripe has a hard outer skin of yellowish orange. Inside the fruit the flesh is watery, full of hard black seeds and has a very bitter acidic taste. However, you can scoop out the whole contents and put them in a blender. Dilute the contents with water and add sugar to taste. What you will have is a delicious drink that possesses relaxant properties. On a hot summer afternoon, rather than stirring the passions, it will have you dozing off in no time.
This review can only give you a brief introduction to this plant. More detailed and useful information can be found at: www.passionflow.co.uk. The Passiflora Society can also be found at: www.passiflora.org.