Passion Flower

Passion Flower (Passiflora): How Care Of The Beautiful Plant

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The unusual flowers of the exotic cast a spell on everyone. We show what you should consider when planting and caring for the passionflower in the garden. The extravagant flowers of the passionflower ( Passiflora ) not only leave room for inspiration but are also a real eye-catcher in your own garden. They are available in different colors and shapes and there is sure to be the right one for you. Some types of passionflower even bear edible fruit, while others are known for their healing properties. Let yourself be surprised by the versatility of passion flowers.

With their unusual flower shape, the passion flowers astonished the early immigrants of the American continent. The conspicuously colored wreath of receding stamens reminded her of Christ’s crown of thorns and the three dark styluses of the nails with which Jesus was nailed to the cross. The eccentric-looking flower was given a name that is shaped by suffering.

Passionflower: origin and characteristics

With over 400 species, the genus of passionflowers is very diverse. A large part of the Passiflora species comes from Central and South America, another 25 species are native to Australia, Oceania, Southeast Asia, and North America. Most of the climbing plants are therefore at home in the tropical region. Oftentimes, passion flowers employ an intriguing strategy to camouflage themselves. In one way or another, the plants manage to recognize the shape of the leaves of the neighboring plants.

These leaf shapes are then adopted by clever passion flowers for their own leaves so as not to attract attention among the other plants. This behavior can lead to the fact that a passionflower has a wide variety of leaves. But given such a conspicuous flower, does the camouflage succeed? To be on the safe side, passion flowers store hydrogen cyanide glycosides in their leaves as food poison. Their fruits, on the other hand, are edible in most species and are known as granadilla or passion fruit. Passion fruit is one of them.Red passion flowers

Passionflower species

The edible and sweet-tasting passion fruit ( Passiflora edulis forma flavicarpa ) is particularly well-known among the passion flowers. Their fruits are offered in many supermarkets and you can also discover them in some gardens. As an ornamental plant, however, the blue passionflower ( Passiflora caerulea ) is particularly widespread. Their fruits are also edible but are not considered particularly tasty. Basically, only the flesh-colored passionflower ( Passiflora incarnata ) plays a role as a medicinal plant. Its leaves are used as a passionflower herb in naturopathy.

Since passion flowers come from the tropics, most species are unfortunately not hardy. However, the blue passion flower, the most common type of Red passion flower commercially available in Germany, is relatively frost-resistant. It can survive the frosty season in milder areas of Central Europe but freezes above ground in cold winters and sprouts again in spring. However, their roots should be protected with brushwood in winter.

Buy passion flowers

If you would like to buy your own passionflower, the question naturally arises as to which type best suits your needs. The easiest to find in the German trade is the blue passion flower and its hybrids – like the white flowering ‘Constance Elliot’. Of course, these varieties have very beautiful flowers in a wide variety of colors and also have the advantage that they are relatively hardy and do not necessarily have to be overwintered indoors.

Maracuja and purple granadilla, on the other hand, are both not particularly hardy and have to be overwintered indoors. As a reward, both species bear tasty fruit. Whichever of the over 400 species and countless hybrids you ultimately choose, they all have beautiful flowers.

Passionflowers come in a wide variety of colors and shapes

Planting passionflower

Of course, not only the location is decisive for planting passion flowers, but also the substrate. In general, these plants are not particularly demanding, but the soil should be slightly acidic and have a pH value between 5.8 and 6.8. The plants also like a slightly humus-rich substrate, which is well-drained to prevent waterlogging. You can achieve this, for example, by placing pebbles in the bottom of the pot. Our peat-free Plantura organic potting soil is ideal for the nutritional requirements of the passionflower. It also consists of 100% natural raw materials and is harmless to humans and animals.

The right location for passion flowers

Since passion flowers come from the tropics, they like a warm and sunny location. This applies to keeping it as a houseplant as well as outdoors. If you want to plant your passionflower outdoors and also overwinter there, choose a protected location. This can be in the vicinity of a large bush, a wall, or the like, for example. Passion Flower kept as indoor plants are also happy to have a place outdoors in summer.

Procedure for planting passion flowers

Once you have found the right location and the right substrate is ready, you can start planting.

Passionflowers are mostly climbing plants and need a climbing aid - like this blue passionflower

If you keep your young passion flower in a pot or bucket, report it in a slightly larger pot in spring. Choose a pot with a diameter of no more than 20 centimeters, as otherwise, the flower will focus less on the blossoms and more on the root and green matter. Once the flower has been planted, it absolutely needs a climbing aid – whether indoors or outdoors. A trellis can be used for this, for example.

Summary planting passion flowers:

  • Slightly acidic, humus-rich substrate
  • Drainage, for example, threw pebbles at the bottom of the pot
  • Sunny and warm location
  • Choose a protected location in the open air
  • Don’t forget the climbing aid

Caring for Passiflora

In terms of care, passion flowers are not very demanding. The most important thing is the right location and a regular supply of water. Passiflora that is kept indoors should, however, be sprayed regularly with water that is low in lime. This protects against mites, which like to attack passion flowers when the air is too dry. You can find more information on caring for passion flowers in our special article on the subject.

Watering passion flowers

Passiflora like it to be quite humid, but waterlogging damages the roots. You should therefore water regularly, but avoid waterlogging. Use water with little lime, ideally rainwater, for watering.

Passionflowers prefer water with little lime

Fertilize passion flowers

The Passiflora grows between spring and autumn. During this time, fertilize the plant regularly about every 14 days. With a long-term fertilizer such as our Plantura organic flower fertilizer, this is only necessary about every two months, as the fertilizer only gradually becomes available to the plants and thus continuously supplies the plant with the most important nutrients. In winter, passion flowers hibernate and do not need any fertilization because they do not grow either.

Cutting passion flowers

Passiflora only blooms on young shoots. You should therefore light out older specimens from time to time so that the passionflower puts its strength primarily into the young shoots. A cut back to 15 centimeters is easily possible and should be done in early spring or autumn.

Plants that are overwintered in the house can be cut back laterally when they move into the winter quarters. Passionflowers overwintered outdoors usually freeze above ground. You can then remove the dead remains. You can find out more about cutting passion flowers here.

Passionflower does not bloom

If a passionflower does not bloom, it is likely too dark or too cool. Therefore, choose a bright and, in summer, warm location. If possible, move the plant outside in the summer to get extra light. Make sure, however, that you first get the Passiflora used to the sun so that its leaves do not get sunburn. Another reason could be a pot that is too big, so the plant invests less in its flowers and more in its growth.

Hibernate passionflower

Most passionflower species do not survive the winter outdoors and should be overwintered indoors. However, the requirements differ depending on the species. Most species need a cool, but temperate and bright place in winter, such as a winter garden. The purple passionflower ( Passiflora violacea ), the vine-leaved or red passionflower ( Passiflora vitifolia ), the bay-leaved passionflower ( Passiflora laurifolia ), and the passion fruit, for example, prefer a temperature of around 10 ° C. The white-flowered Passiflora eichleriana, on the other hand, likes to overwinter around 15 ° C continuously.

However, some species can also be overwintered outdoors, as they have certain winter hardiness. However, only overwinter-planted specimens outside, as the root ball in pots and tubs tends to freeze through. To protect the roots, cover the soil around the plant with sticks and leaves. Fertilization is not necessary for winter and you should also reduce watering.

Passionflower fruit: harvest and application

If the conditions are right, Passiflora also produces fruits in local latitudes. But be careful: not all types of passion flowers have edible fruits. The fruits of edible species can be harvested as soon as they are orange to brown or purple in color. Fruits that are still green are poisonous and not suitable for consumption.

Fruits of various types of Passiflora

Passionflower herb: application and effects

The leaves of the flesh-colored passionflower are considered to be calming and are effective against insomnia and high blood pressure. They can be used as a homemade tea or tincture. Ready-made preparations such as tablets, teas, and extracts are also available in stores.

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