Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Passion Flower Vine ( Passiflora caerulea )




I pruned this back in March and its already getting top heavy and attacking people in the walkway again. I’ll have to prune it again this week. Passion flower flowers on new growth not old, so if you do not prune you won’t get as large of a batch of flowers. It is a fast growing vine and you’ll need to give it a quick prune almost weekly and a serious prune monthly during the growing season.

These are tough to germinate from seed, you are better off buying a plant or rooting a cutting off a friend’s plant.

Passion flower dies back in the late fall, leaves turn yellow and fall off and it leafs back out very early in the spring. This one has been flowering for over a month now.

The flowers are amazing, layers upon layers of petals and a large stigma with five stamen around it.

Full to part sun is best for this plant, however mine is in mostly shade except for late afternoon for a few hours. Flowers open when the sun hits the plant.

It prefers moist soil not too wet, not too dry. It will tolerate a drought, but not grow or flower when water is low.

Loses leaves in winter, dies back to the ground when exposed to freezing temperatures.

It will need support, I have wires running behind the plant that I wrap the vines around.

Heavy feeder, you’ll need to fertilize often.

Butterflies love passion flower vines and you will have caterpillars and cocoons on on the plant. I try not to remove the cocoons when pruning, but that’s a personal preference. {Butterflies that use passion flower vines as hosts include: Gulf Fritillay & Varigated Fritillary, Heliconians } Hummingbirds like this flower as well.

Fruits are edible and usually cooked, they do not taste well raw. They are like blackberries in flavor when cooked into a pie or cobbler.

There are over 600 species of passion flowers found through out the tropical and subtropical climate.

Some passionflower species can only be pollinated by interacting with hummingbirds. The hummingbirds and these species of passion flowers have a symbiotic relationship. Many caterpillars feed on the leaves before changing to butterflies, many other insects find the foliage to be toxic. This toxin also makes the caterpillars toxic to their predators.

Propagate by seed in the spring, or by cutting in the summer.

Look carefully at your passion flower next time it blooms. Close to the leaf base you’ll see a couple small bumps that are yellowish. These are the size of butterfly eggs. Since butterflies won’t lay eggs close together the passion vine is attempting to trick the butterfly into thinking eggs have already been laid there.

Invasive – locate it somewhere easy to prune.

See also:
Pruning Passion Flower vine
Floridata, Passiflora caerulea