Newest Review: ... Passion Flower is actually more than just a beautiful flower. The Passion Flower is edible, the fruits and flowers can be ... more
A touch of garden exotics....from Morrisons' supermarket....if it grows....
Member Name: worst_trip
Advantages: Gorgeous flowers from an attractive 'self'-climbing plant
Disadvantages: Personally I can't get one established anywhere in my garden. A bit tricky to grow?
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.
Summary: Gorgeous but vulnerable to slugs (and fussy?)