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Let your inner passion come out with the Passiflora caerulea plant in the home, even if it is only for one day. Yes, these passion flowers bloom only for one day from July to October. After it blooms, you get an edible egg-shaped fruit. The blue passionflower is a rampant climber that covers a fence or wall. Today we are going to look closer at how you can care for the plant passion flowers.
What is Passion Flowers?
The Passiflora caerulea is a vine native to South and North America. Gardeners find it a beautiful flowering plant, but it is an invasive species in some states. While valuable, it remains an attractive plant to grow. The main concern is that it invades the garden smothering native species.
In contrast, there is another species, the Passiflora incarnate, with white and purple flowers. The plant’s fruit people use as flavoring in beverages. The flowers are used by the pharmaceutical industries for medication particularly as a sedative.
The chemicals found in the fruit provide a calming effect. As a result, many people use it for insomnia, anxiety, ADHD, pain, and more. Yet, there is no stable evidence to support the fact that it has healing properties. As a result, many beverage manufacturers add it to drinks for flavoring.
In the 17th century, the plant arrived in Europe. People used the passionflower as a drug to relieve involuntary muscles and spasms. As a result, another reason for the name is that it resembles Christ’s death on the cross.
The flower resembled the crown, thorns, and nails and symbolized the Passion of Christ. The passionflowers have darkish green leaves with a purple or white bloom. The petal base is wide and flat, with ten petals found on a flat or a reflexed circle.
Passiflora Caerulea Care Basics
Well, now that you know where this gorgeous plant comes from. Check out the information here about these passion flowers:
Scientific Name: Passiflora caerulea
Common Name: Passionflower, blue passion flower, passion fruit
Plant Type: Perennial vine
Native to: South and North America
Shape: Evergreen with pink, white, purple, or red flowers with edible fruit
Maximum Size: Up to 30 feet in length
Watering Requirements: One to two waterings a week
Light Requirements: Direct sunlight to partial shade
Preferred Humidity: High
Preferred Temperature: 55° F and higher
Soil or Potting Medium: Well-drained soil
Fertilizer: Heavy feeder
Propagation Method: Seed, stem cutting, air layering
Vulnerability: To pests and diseases
Toxicity: Toxic to pets and humans depending on the plant you have
You can grow passion flowers as an outdoor plant in early spring or autumn, as the soil is warm. During the autumn, the rain helps unit the plants established. The ideal spot is a sheltered place close to a wall to protect it from the cold.
Blue Passion Flower Soil Needs
Your passionflower vines needs a well-draining yet rich and moist soil. You can use an all-purpose potting mix. Or, you can add compost to the hole to provide nutrients with mulch around the base of the plant. Doing this helps keep moisture, preventing it from becoming waterlogged. You will also need to support growth, such as a structure, another plant, or trellis.
Best Lighting Condition
Whether you grow your passion flowers indoors or outside, they need full sun with partial shade. For example, the blue passion flower loves the afternoon shade on sweltering days. Yet, your tropical plants need at least four to six hours of sunlight and even more on cooler days. So, during the winter, you can bring your potted specimens indoors. Please provide them with bright indirect light. Also, keep them away from drafts.
Early Spring to Winter Watering Needs
From spring to fall, it helps to give your plant enough water by keeping the soil moist. Yet, in winter, you need to provide enough water when the soil dries out. Thus, you can give it water once to twice a week in the growing season from spring to autumn. But always check the ground if grown outside if it does not rain as it cannot handle drought well.
Temperature and Humidity Condition
One thing that your blue passion flower thrives in is moist air with about 60% humidity. If grown as an indoor plant, the air can become dry, and best to invest in a humidity monitor near your plant. Also, we recommend keeping the passion flower away from AC vents or heat.
To help keep the humidity levels just right, you can use wet pebbles or a cool-mist room humidifier. When you notice brown leaf tips, it shows that the air is dry. When it comes to temperatures for the day, 70°F to 75°F (21-24°C) is the best for your plant. During the evening, the temperature can be between 55°F to 60°F (13-16°C.)
Yet, if you want the best blooms, provide your passionflower with a cooler temperature at night. The best place to plant your passionflower vine is in a spot protected from strong winds. Winds that are too strong can damage the stems, while too much sun can burn the leaves.
The Best Fertilizer For Your Passion Flower Passiflora
This plant is a heavy feeder and benefits from light applications using a balanced fertilizer. You can invest in fertilizer with equal amounts of potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen. The best time to feed your climbing vine is before new growth appears. Continue feeding your plant every four to six weeks until fall arrives.
You can grow passion flowers from seeds. Or, you can propagate your mature plant using stem cuttings or air layering done in the ground. Layering is excellent if you want to reproduce your tropical plant in another part of the yard. Again, doing this is perfect as you need not wait for the seed.
Growing Passiflora spp from Seed
Once your mature plant ripens, you can open the pods to remove and dry the seeds to store. Yet, if you save seeds from a hybrid variety, they do not grow true to the bulbs and reverts back to the parent species. Still, growing your plant from a seed is slow, and it is best to start with it as an indoor plant.
- Start by soaking the seeds for one to two days in warm water.
- If you notice floating seeds, discard them as they are not viable to grow.
- Take some damp potting mix, place the seed on the surface, and pat it down, but do not cover it as it needs light to germinate.
- Place your potting medium in a plastic bag to seal up and retain the moisture. You can place your plant on a heat mat to help speed up the process.
- It takes up to 20 days for your passionflower seed to sprout. Always, keep the soil moist.
- When you notice the sprouts, do not place them in direct sunlight until you see the actual leaves.
- Now, you can slowly introduce your passion flower for up to two weeks to the outdoor climate. Then, extend the sunlight it receives every day.
- Once your plant is large enough and has several leaves, you can transplant it into the ground.
Still, if you want to plant the seeds outdoors, we recommend waiting for the frost to pass and the temperatures to reach at least 55°F.
Propagating With Softwood Cuttings
- Use sterilized shears and cut at least six inches of the stem from mature plants below the node.
- Remove the leaves at the bottom and dip about an inch of the bottom part in a rooting hormone.
- Take a small pot, fill it with a potting mix, and make sure it has enough drainage holes.
- Place your cutting up to one inch into the ground.
- Water the soil and cover it with a plastic bag to retain moisture. Make a few more slits at the top, allowing the plant to breathe. Also, make sure the leaves do not touch the side.
- Place your plant in a shady spot while keeping it warm and moist.
- After a few weeks, tug at the cutting to see if your plant has rooted.
- Once rooted, you can transplant your cutting to a permanent location.
Propagating With Tip/Air Layering
Start by looking for a vine tip in the spot where you would like to expand your plant. When you find the end, you can put it into the ground or push part of the vine into the ground. The best way to do this is to find a vine a few inches past the tip to remove bumps and the leaves.
Then, you push the smooth part into the soil. Next, make a shallow dip in the ground and place the soft part of the vine falt into the ground and cover it up with earth. Okay, we know it might pop up, and using a light rock helps keep it secure to keep direct contact with the ground.
When spring arrives, tug at it to see if it has roots. You can dig it up and place it in new soil to transplant in another spot if it has.
USDA Growth Zone
You can grow passion flowers in the USDA hardiness zones seven to eight. But they can survive in zones six when planted in a protected location. Make sure you have enough mulch around the plant in late autumn to survive the winter months.
Potting and Pruning
If you are a gardener that prefers to grow passion flowers in containers, you can move them around as needed. Still, it also helps prevent them from spreading. Further, make sure your plant has a large medium as it needs space for the roots to grow. When you bring your plant from outside, it helps to trim the stem down. Trim it to at least two feet before moving them. You can do pruning from late winter to spring. Your plant only flowers on new growth, and best to prune them before the growing season begins.
Passiflora Plant Varieties
In the Passiflora spp, you can find common passion flower types making for great houseplants to have, as seen here:
This is a vigorous and beautiful hybrid that blooms stunning orange corona filaments on abundant flowers. The foliage has stripes with nectar dots and purple backs.
The plant is a cross between the P. edulis, P. incarnarta, and P. cincinnata. The plant is superior in color and size and remains a hardy plant that is fast growing up to ten feet and more. You notice flowering in winter and continuous blooms through the year. Once it flowers, it is followed with edible passion fruits.
The plant is also known as the sour passion fruit in two forms, purple and yellow. Both are climacteric fruit, and when stored, the acidity decreases, resulting in a sweeter fruit.
Passiflora Caerulea Plant Diseases & Pests
While the passionflower is carefree to grow, you may find the leaves turn yellow or wilt growing in pots, which means it needs more water or getting too cold. In contrast, outdoors yellowing leaves can be the result of lack in soil nutrients. To amend the ground, it helps to test the soil.
Further, if the climate is warmer, you may find spider mites, scale, or whiteflies present on the plant. Again, you can control them using an insecticide. Another concern is leaf spots caused by a fungal disease. Similarly, the best is to remove the leaves to prevent the spread of the disease.
You can use a fungicide if needed. The last concern is root rot, as the water is not draining well.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Passiflora incarnata is the only species approved for the pharmaceutical industry. It is a show plan with purple blooms producing edible fruit but not very flavorful. The Passiflora caerulea also has orange fruit that you can eat when ripe. But eating an unripe fruit can leads to an upset stomach. In addition, most parts of both plants, from the root, stem, to flowers, are toxic and should not be eaten.
The tropical vine you can grow indoors in a pot. But you will need to keep it pruned and provide it with a structure to crawl along. In addition, you will need to give your plant full sun and part shade and keep the soil well-drained and moist to thrive.
The fruit is not poisonous but edible, but you should not eat the rest of the plant as it can make you very sick.
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