Passiflora (Passion Flower)


Easy to grow evergreen climbers with exotic looking flowers, often followed by brightly coloured fruits. Most species are tender greenhouse perennials but a few are hardy enough to survive outside in a sheltered spot in the UK.

Family: Passifloraceae
Botanical Name: Passiflora
Common Names: Passion Flower, maypops, blue crown

Foliage: Semi-evergreen, simple or palmately-lobed leaves.

Flowers: Large intricate exotic-looking flowers, with an open structure, surrounded by coronal filaments. Often followed by large ovoid green fruits that ripen to bright orange.

Flowering Period: Summer to autumn.

Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, sand or loam). Any pH.

Conditions: Full sun or dappled shade. Best grown in a south or south west-facing, sheltered location.

Habit: Climbing/spreading, self-clinging via tendrils.

Type: Woody-stemmed climber.

Origin: South America.

Toxicity: All parts of this plant are potentially harmful and should not be eaten. The fruits of most UK grown species are unpalatable except for certain tropical varieties such as P. edulis. Check plant labels for details.

Hardiness: Frost tender to fully hardy in UK (depending on variety).

Planting and Growing Passiflora

This lush evergreen climber provides a good alternative to Clematis, for covering walls, arches and trellises.

Plant hardy varieties outdoors in spring in a moist but well-drained soil, in a sheltered position in full sun.

Provide climbing support. Can be easily trained against a sunny wall or up a pillar, obelisk or trellis.

Taking Care of Passiflora

Water freely until well established. Provide suitable climbing support such as trellis or wires.

Certain varieties can become invasive in mild regions of the UK.

Pruning Passiflora

Prune overgrown plants in late winter, removing weak or damaged shoots.

Pests and Diseases

Susceptible to attack by aphids. May suffer from a mosaic virus. Glasshouse grown plants may also suffer from red spider mite, whitefly, mealybugs and scale insects.

Propagating Passiflora

Increase by semi-ripe cuttings in summer in a heated propagator. Can be also layered in spring.

Sow seed under glass in spring. Named cultivars won't come true from collected seed.

Popular Varieties of Passiflora

Reasonably hardy varieties, which can be grown outdoors in the UK include:

Passiflora Amethyst Lavender Lady is a hardy vigorous and showy purple Passion Flower. For sale at Gardening Express.

Passiflora caerulea is a vigorous climber that produces pink-flushed white flowers with blue banded crowns, followed by orange fruits (not edible). Glossy evergreen foliage. Hardy once established, but in colder areas grow against a south facing wall or in large pots. Supported height to 20ft (6m) or more. Available at Van Meuwen. Good cultivars include 'Constance Elliott' which has pure white, long lasting flowers. For sale at You Garden.

Passiflora 'Duuk' one the most winter hardy passion flowers, tolerating temperatures as low as -10°C. For sale at Van Meuwen.

Passiflora 'Fata Confetto' is an easy to grow, vigorous climber with subtle, pastel flowers that have crinkled, striped filaments. Easily trained up a trellis or obelisk in the garden. Supported height to around 10ft (3m). For sale at You Garden.

Passiflora 'Silly Cow' bears some of the biggest passion flower blooms around, with lovely pale mauve flowers and spectacular blue filaments. For sale at Van Meuwen.

Frost Tender Varieties

Passiflora aurantia (orange-petaled Passion Flower) is a low growing climber that produces masses of salmon-orange flowers, followed by purple coloured fruits. For sale at Gardening Express.

Passion Flower Citrina produces starry shaped lemon yellow flowers and felted leaves. A great plant for the conservatory. For sale at Gardening Express.

Passiflora edulis 'Frederick' is a fast growing tender evergreen with unusual, wispy fronds on the white and purple blooms. Flowers from late spring onwards, followed by yellow/orange fruit in the autumn. Grow in large containers on the patio, up an obelisk, so that it can be moved indoors to a greenhouse or conservatory over the winter. Supported height to 29ft (9m). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Passion Flower Incense (Imperatrice de Eugenie) bears large purple flowers combined with an intense aroma and deeply divided leaves. For sale at Gardening Express.

Passiflora Jelly Joker bears wonderful blue flowers all summer long. It enjoys full sun and makes rapid annual growth each year clinging to supports with curly tendrils. It has good tolerance to low temperatures but it should ideally be protected from frost and kept under cover during winter. For sale at Gardening Express.

Passiflora insignis 'Rosea' is a lovely pink flowering form, with large, double, star-shaped flowers. A slow growing, compact semi-evergreen with triple-lobed, light green leaves and twining green tendrils. Ideal for growing in pots, as well as in flower borders, against trellis or over obelisks in warmer regions. Long flowering from April to September, followed by attractive orange fruits. Reasonably hardy in UK (down to -6°C). Best moved it into a frost-free place to over-winter. For sale at You Garden.

Passiflora Murucuja (Scarlet Passion Flower) is a compact variety producing masses of of scarlet-red blooms. Height from 37in to 78in (1 - 2m). Not hardy but can be grown as a beautiful patio plant in the summer or used as a houseplant. For sale at Gardening Express.

Passiflora violacea Victoria produces spectacular violet flowers all summer long, which are larger than most other Passion Flowers. Orange coloured fruits in late summer. For sale at Gardening Express.

Passiflora vitifolia (Crimson Passion Flower) is an exotic looking bright red flowering passion flower. The foliage is similar to a grapevine. Not fully hardy in the UK but makes a truly spectacular summer flowering specimen. Best grown in a large pot up a trellis or obelisk and over wintered in a frost free area. For sale at You Garden.