Wednesday’s Plant Pick – Passionflower

IMG_1117Last summer I grew a Passionflower. It was one of those “on a whim” things. I saw a hanging basket in one of the big box stores and decided to buy it. Once I got home I realized I had nowhere to hang it so I carefully transplanted the plant and the hanger (since the plant was growing on it!) into a ceramic planter and placed it at the front door and crossed my fingers. Well it didn’t disappoint.

The Passionflower is from the family Passifloraceae. Most Passion Flowers grow as vines but there are some varieties that grow as shrubs. There are some species of Passionflower that do produce a fruit, aptly called the Passion Fruit. This fruit is used in many kitchens for desserts and other culinary dishes. The unique blooms of the Passion flower make it easy for Hummingbirds and bees to pollinate Passionflowers although there are some self-pollinating varieties. Many varieties of butterflies are also attracted to the Passion Flower making it a prime choice for a bird and butterfly garden.

Passionflower is said to have gotten it’s name based on its likeness to the crucifixtion of Christ. You can read more about that here

Passionflower is easily grown from seed. Seeds should be soaked for a few days before being placed in compost rich soil and placed in a sunny location, preferably a south facing window. Passionflower can be trained to grow around a loop or other trellis support which is likely a good idea to support the leaves and flowers that will come.

Passionflower is best grown in a location that receives approx. four hours of sunlight per day. Care should be taken not to place it in direct sunlight as the leaves may burn. The Passionflower may also be grown indoors in a sunny room, however I would suggest moving it outdoors during the summer months. I am currently over wintering mine inside (with some of my other tropical such as my Jasmine and Hibiscus) crossing my fingers that it survives!

Soil with good drainage is essential for the Passionflower, maintaining a moist soil condition never letting the plant dry out. Fertilizing with a good 20-20-20 should take place every two weeks during the growing season is highly recommended.

Passionflower is also used as an herb, often made into a tea to treat ailments such as insomnia.
If you want a plant for a container that has some great architectural-like features, a history rich story dating back to 1620, biblical roots and that will wow your guests then the Passionflower just might be the plant for you!

Images courtesty of Jodie Munshaw CLD

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