Pruning passion flower vine

Contents

Passion Vines of SEQ

Back in the January 2007 Land for Wildlife newsletter, Gold Coast Land for Wildlife Officer Darryl Larsen wrote an article outlining the differences between the various passion vine species of the region. I’d like to extend upon that article, and take a more detailed look at the nine species of passion vine that occur in the South-east Queensland (SEQ) region. The nine species are comprised of three native species, four commonly encountered weed species and two rarely encountered weed species. Once you get your eye in and can recognize the differences, you’ll be a passionate passion vine enthusiast.

Firstly some characteristics of passion vines. They’re all in the genus Passiflora, which is a worldwide genus, with hundreds of species and cultivars. The much enjoyed Passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) is the best known passion vine.

All Passiflora species have alternate leaves. Opposite each leaf is usually a long curly wire-like tendril, which is the appendage these vines use to grab hold of nearby plants to help them climb. In addition, all the local Passiflora species have fruit with a soft pulpy interior, but they vary in size, shape and colour between the species. The last feature that can help you identify Passiflora species is their tiny glands which occur near the base of each leaf or on the leaf stalk (petiole). These glands only become evident after the seedling stage.

A couple of years ago, researchers from the USA came to Australia to study the natural pollinators of Passiflora, as pollination and fruit set is difficult in the USA. Over a few weeks they set up motion sensor cameras near wild native Passiflora species (Passiflora aurantia var. aurantia, and P. herbertiana here in SEQ) and monitored the action. It was thought that moths or butterflies might be the most common flower visitors, but it was birds! Most commonly honeyeaters, including Noisy Miners. As we know, bird-pollinated native flowers are in abundance here in Australia, much higher in proportion than in most other continents, and from these studies it appears that passion vines are no different.

As well as being a favourite with honeyeaters, most of the local passion vines (including the weed species except P. edulis and P. vitifolia) are hosts for larvae of the Glasswing (Acraea andromacha) butterfly that munch away happily on the leaves.

All three native species are relatively short lived, usually for about a year. They are all thin-stemmed and never take over, preferring to climb up and amongst foliage of other plants. They might have a leafy coverage in a small area, but they never go rampant.

The three native and six weed species of passion vine found in SEQ are pro led below continuing through.

Article and all photographs by Glenn Leiper, co-author, Mangroves to Mountains: A Field Guide to the Native Plants of South-east Queensland

Red Passion Vine (Passiflora aurantia var. aurantia) Native

Location Eucalypt forests, some rainforest edges, along gullies and creeks.
Flowers Large to 7 cm. Open whitish, then after a few days they turn pale pink, then red before closing. Ovary totally hairless.
Leaves Usually 5 cm, up to 8 cm. Often dull bluish-green, not shiny, and always 3-lobed with each lobe rounded at the tip. Leaf underside is whitish-green. Juvenile leaves are more ‘winged’ than adult leaves.
Leaf Glands Two obvious small glands at base of leaf on either side of leaf stalk.
Leaf Stalk 1-4 cm long.
Branchlets Hairless
Fruit To 3.5 cm long, oblong, green, edible but not palatable.

Orange Passion Vine (Passiflora aurantia var. pubescens) Native

Location Our rarest native passion vines, with few records from SEQ in recent times. Found around edges of drier rainforests, and along gullies and creeks.
Flowers Large to 7 cm. Open pale yellow, then after a few days turn orange before closing. Ovary covered in tiny whitish silky hairs.
Leaves Up to 6 cm. Usually glossy green, and always 3-lobed with each lobe rounded at the tip. Leaf underside is a paler green, barely whitish. Juvenile leaves are more ‘winged’ than adult leaves.
Leaf Glands No glands near the base of the leaf, nor on the leaf stalk.
Leaf Stalk 1-4 cm long.
Branchlets Hairless
Fruit To 3.5 cm long, oblong, green, edible but not palatable.

Yellow Passion Vine (Passiflora herbertiana) Native

Location Eucalypt forests, some rainforest edges, along gullies and creeks.
Flowers Large to 7 cm. Open white and become yellow over the next few days.
Leaves Usually 8 cm, up to 12 cm long. Underside finely hairy. Usually slightly glossy and 3-lobed with each lobe being pointed at the tip. Leaf underside is paler green, never whitish. Sometimes leaves may have 5 lobes or just one lobe. Juvenile leaves are more ‘winged’ than adult leaves.
Leaf Glands Two obvious small glands at base of leaf on either side of leaf stalk.
Leaf Stalk 15.7 cm long.
Branchlets Covered with short fine hairs which are easier to see with a magnifying glass or hand lens.
Fruit To 5 cm long, oblong, green, spotted with pale dots, edible but not tasty.

Corky Passion Vine (Passiflora suberosa) Weed

Location Eucalypt forests, rainforests and waterways (usually on the edges) and disturbed weedy areas. Rampant, growing over and smothering nearby plants. Suckers from underground roots. Native to South America.
Flowers Small to 2 cm. Greenish yellow with purple centre.
Leaves Up to 10 cm. Variable in shape; unlobed, two-lobed or three-lobed. Lobes usually pointy. Slightly glossy.
Leaf Glands Two raised glands (often reddish) near middle of leaf stalk, or near leaf.
Leaf Stalk 0.5-4 cm long.
Branchlets New growth hairy. Older stems sparsely hairy. Older, lower stems become very corky and pale.
Fruit Small to 1.5 cm, spherical, purplish-black.

White Passionflower (Passiflora subpeltata) Weed

Location Eucalypt forests, rainforests and waterways (usually on the edges) and disturbed weedy areas. Rampant, growing over and smothering nearby plants. Suckers from underground roots. Native to Brazil.
Flowers Large to 5 cm. White tinged with green.
Leaves Up to 10 cm. Dull, 3-lobed, with rounded tips. Underside paler green almost whitish. At the base of each leaf stalk are two leafy stipules (like small leaves).
Leaf Glands 1 to 5 scattered along the leaf stalk.
Leaf Stalk 2-6 cm long.
Branchlets Hairless
Fruit To 4 cm, oblong, green, not edible.

Passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) Weed

Location All environments, including eucalypt forests, roadsides with weeds, rainforests, creeks and gullies. Native to America.
Flowers Large to 6 cm. Startling white and purple; very ornate.
Leaves Up to 15 cm. Glossy 3-lobed with a serrated edge. Underside paler. Sometimes leaves have only one or two lobes, but this is usually only a random leaf or two on a plant, or a seedling.
Leaf Glands Two raised glands on either side of the leaf stalk near the leaf.
Leaf Stalk 2-4 cm long.
Branchlets Hairless
Fruit To 5 cm, oblong, green usually turning purplish or yellowish. Edible and tasty!

Stinking Passion Vine (Passiflora foetida) Weed

Location Eucalypt forests, waterways, roadsides, coastal sand dunes and headlands, and disturbed weedy areas. Native to South America.
Flowers Large to 5 cm. White with sometimes a pink centre.
Leaves Up to 7 cm. 3-lobed, lobes pointy, both surfaces of the leaf hairy, with an unpleasant smell. At the base of the leaf are two small fine feathery stipules.
Leaf Glands None
Leaf Stalk 1-6 cm long, hairy.
Branchlets Hairy
Fruit Slightly oblong or spherical, thin skinned, yellow to orange, surrounded by sticky feather-like bracts. Very sweet to eat…a real treat!

The Crimson Flowers of P.vitifolia

Crimson Passionflower (Passiflora vitifolia) Blue Passionflower (Passiflora caerulea)
Very uncommon in the wild, often found in bushland next to houses from where it has escaped. Native to the Americas. Rarely seen in the wild and usually in bushland near houses. Will sucker from underground roots. Native to Brazil.
Flowers: Bright red, perfumed flowers with a white centre. Flowers: White and blue to 8 cm.
Leaves: 3-lobed leaves up to 15 cm with serrated edges. Hairy underside. Small saucer-shaped glands at leaf stalk base. Leaves: 5 to 7-lobed leaves up to 12 cm. Paired leafy stipules (similar to P. subpeltata). Underside pale blue-grey. 2-4 stalked glands on leaf stalk.
Fruit: Oblong, hairy, to 5 cm, sour. Fruit: 6 cm, spherical, yellow or orange.

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Seed Availability

Seeds are not available for the Grape Leaved Passion Fruit. Please visit our seed store to view current selections.

Description

Fairly fast-growing passionflower vine, although usually only to 15-20ft. The common name is derived from the shape of leaves resembling that of grape leaves. The large (up to 6″) flowers may attract butterflies.

Hardiness

The vine is moderately hardy and can be killed back by hard freezing temperatures or prolonged frosts.

Growing Environment

It grows best in slightly cooler climate (than tropical) without frost. Plant the vine in full sun or part shade, it has only moderate drought tolerance.

Propagation

By seeds or cuttings.

Uses

The fruits can be eaten fresh.

Native Range

Native from Nicaragua to Peru.

Additional Pictures

Related Species

Passifloraceae
Passiflora actinia
Passiflora actinia
Passiflora alata
Fragrant Granadilla
Passiflora biflora
Two-Flowered Passion Flower
Passiflora caerulea
Blue Passion Flower
Passiflora coccinea
Red Granadilla
Passiflora colinvauxii
Passiflora colinvauxii
Passiflora coriacea
Bat-Leaved Passion Flower
Passiflora edulis
Passion Fruit
Passiflora edulis var. flavicarpa
Lilikoi
Passiflora foetida
Wild Water Lemon
Passiflora gibertii
Passiflora gibertii
Passiflora gilbertiana
Passiflora gilbertiana
Passiflora helleri
Passiflora helleri
Passiflora herbertiana
Native Passion Fruit
Passiflora incarnata
Maypop
Passiflora incarnata x cinnicata
Passiflora ‘Incense’
Passiflora laurifolia
Water Lemon
Passiflora ligularis
Sweet Granadilla
Passiflora loefgrenii
Garlic Passion Fruit
Passiflora macrophylla
Tree Passion Flower
Passiflora maliformis
Sweet Calabash
Passiflora mollissima
Banana Passion Fruit
Passiflora morifolia
Woodland Passion Flower
Passiflora nitida
Bell Apple
Passiflora pallens
Pineland Passion Flower
Passiflora parritae
Passiflora parritae
Passiflora parritae x antioquiensis
Passiflora parritae x antioquiensis
Passiflora popenovii
Quijos Granadilla
Passiflora quadrangularis
Giant Granadilla
Passiflora setacea
Sururuca
Passiflora sidaefolia
Passiflora sidaefolia
Passiflora subpeltata
White Passion Flower
Passiflora trifasciata
Tri-Colored Passion Vine
Passiflora vitifolia
Grape Leaved Passion Fruit

Passiflora vitifolia (Vine-leaved passion flower)

Botanical name

Passiflora vitifolia

Other names

Vine-leaved passion flower, Grape-leaved passion flower, Passiflora sanguinea, Crimson passion flower, Perfumed passion flower

Genus

Passiflora Passiflora

Species

P. vitifolia – P. vitifolia is a vigorous, tender, evergreen climber with downy, reddish-brown stems bearing glossy, toothed, deeply lobed, dark green leaves and, from summer into autumn, bowl-shaped, bright red flowers with short, white filaments and longer, yellow or dark red filaments. Flowers are followed by oval, hairy, white-mottled, yellow-green fruit.

Foliage

Evergreen

Habit

Climbing

Toxicity

Harmful if eaten.

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Colour

Flower

Red in Summer; Red in Autumn

Green in All seasons

How to care

Watch out for

Specific pests

Glasshouse red spider mite , Red spider mite (box and other) , Scale insects

Diseases

Generally disease-free.

Specific diseases

Virus

General care

Pruning

Support climbing stems. Pruning group 11 or, if needed, group 12 in early spring.

Propagation methods

Seed, Layering, Semi-hardwood cuttings

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Where to grow

Passiflora vitifolia (Vine-leaved passion flower) will reach a height of 5m and a spread of 3m after 5-10 years.

Suggested uses

Conservatory, Low Maintenance, Containers, Sub-Tropical, Wallside and trellises

Cultivation

Grow under glass in loam-based compost in full light, shaded from hot sun. Water freely in growth; sparingly in winter. Outdoors in warmer areas, grow in moist but well-drained, fertile soil in sun or partial shade. Shelter from cold, drying winds.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

South, East

Exposure

Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Tender in frost (H3), Indoor heated (H1)

USDA zones

Zone 11, Zone 10

Defra’s Risk register #1

Plant name

Passiflora vitifolia (Vine-leaved passion flower)

Common pest name

Fruit fly; Queensland; Queensland fruit fly

Scientific pest name

Bactrocera tryoni

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Impact (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

General biosecurity comments

Australian fruit fly never intercepted in the UK. EU regulation appears to be effectively mitigating risk.

Defra’s Risk register #2

Passiflora vitifolia (Vine-leaved passion flower)

Black scale; Coffee scale; black; Nigra scale

Parasaissetia nigra

Insect

Present (Limited)

Likelihood to spread in UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Present at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew for in excess of 100 years. Candidate for deregulation.

Defra’s Risk register #3

Passiflora vitifolia (Vine-leaved passion flower)

Epicauta atomaria

Insect

Absent

South American blister beetle; affecting solanaceous crops which (as plants for planting) are prohibited from entering the UK.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read “Don’t risk it” advice here

Suspected outbreak?

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

Prune passionflower in late winter; clematis depends

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Question: Carol, I’m hoping you are able to provide advice about pruning passionflower vines and clematises. I’m hoping it is OK to prune them in the spring. Both vines have a lot of wild (some dead) growth, and I’m wondering how severely it is safe to cut them back. I didn’t do much last year, and they really are out of control.

Answer: Your passionflower vine flowers on new growth. So the sooner you prune it, the better. There are many kinds of passion vines, but few are very cold hardy in our climate, except Passiflora caerulea, incarnata and lutea, so I’ll speak to those.

Since you say your passionflower vine is a tangled mess, I’d recommend pruning your plant all the way to the ground now, before new spring growth starts up. Then, during the growing season, choose three to five of the strongest shoots, and attach those to a trellis, fence or pergola.

Maintain these dominant vines from year to year by removing dead, weak and overcrowded growth each spring before growth begins. After flowering in the summer, trim back the side shoots to within two or three buds of the main vines.

As for clematis vine, there are three basic types of growth patterns. How you prune depends on how your vine grows and when they flower:

Flowers in summer on new growth: If your vines have large purple blooms in the summer, then you have the type that flowers on new growth. So prune these as soon as possible. Since yours is thick and tangled, you should cut it back to about 6 inches tall. New growth will sprout forth soon. Flowering buds will form on the new growth. If left unpruned, this type will only set flowers near the top on new growth. Pruning stimulates all new growth and flowering all over the length of the vines.

Flowers in spring on last year’s growth: If your clematis blooms in the spring, with fragrant white or pink flowers, wait until after flowering to prune it. These kind bloom on 1-year-old, rather than this year’s wood. Prune after flowering, cutting all the vines back to the base, every three years.

Flowers in late summer on this year’s growth: Other types bloom in late summer or early fall on growth made this season. Cut these back to within a few inches of the ground now.

If you have no idea what type you have, leave your vine and watch it for a year.

If left unpruned, any type of clematis vine will become a wild, tangled mess. Pruning your vines stimulates new growth and flower formation.

Pruning also increases airflow, thereby decreasing diseases. Clematis can suffer from wilt, a fungal disease, which causes the vines, leaves and flowers to suddenly turn brown and die back.

To learn more details about caring for all types of clematis, “Fine Gardening” has good information online. Find it at finegardening.com/pruning-clematis#ixzz40B2PtEXb.

Q: Carol, What are you planting out in your garden this month? I promised myself I’d get started earlier this year in the vegetable garden but don’t have a clue where to begin.

A: Here’s a brief guide to early planting in Western Oregon.

February: Outside, under cloches, hoop houses and cold frames, I am putting in peas, Asian greens such as bok choy, mustard greens, arugula, spinach and fava beans.

March is time to plant all those listed above and starts of the cabbage family, including broccoli, onion bulbs and radishes. I also like to put in a few spuds near St. Patrick’s Day.

April gets really busy for planting: lettuce, carrots, turnips, chard, potatoes and more pea seed can go into the ground.

(Answer)

Lucky you to have a Passiflora (passion flower) vine! Pruning can be done regularly, and you can trim the vines throughout the growing season to keep their growth under control, train the plant to keep its shape, and/or to get rid of dead material. A good trim also helps make sure that the plant gets adequate air circulation. As well, pruning results in new growth and more flowering along the vines!

It is generally recommended to prune the plant back by no more than 1/3 of its size. If you prune more heavily, you may not see many flowers the following year. The best time to prune is after the vine has flowered, in the fall (prior to frost) before you bring it indoors for the winter. Remove any dead or diseased plant material — cut this back to where it originates on the main stem, or to the nearest stem that is healthy. To preserve as much of the desirable outer green growth as possible, “go at” the plant from the sides, cutting and pulling out all the dead bits. You should aim to have just one strong, main vines with shoots coming off it. Flowers will bloom on new growth that starts to emerge in the Spring.

Another posting at Ask a Master Gardener may be of interest – Passion Flower Overwintering – although this does not discuss pruning, it provides lots of information on bringing your vine indoors.

All the best with the pruning!

Passion Flower Vine


Passion Flower Vine Passiflora incarnata​ (pass-sih-FLO-ruh in-kar-NAY-tuh)
COMMON NAMES: Passion Flower, Passion Vine, Maypop
FAMILY: Passifloraceae
TYPE AND USE: Perennial vine with edible fruit and leaves and flowers for use as sleepy-time tea.

​LOCATION: Sun to partial shade
HEIGHT: High climbing
SPREAD: ​Wide spreading
SPACING: 3-6 feet
FINAL SPACING: 5-8 feet

HABIT: Large, deeply cut leaves, climbs quickly by tendrils. Blooms almost all summer with spectacular purple and white flowers. Native from East Texas to Florida. The introduced varieties also have dramatic flowers, but most are not winter hardy.
CULTURE: Easy, any soil, drought tolerant. Dies to the ground each winter but returns in spring.
USES: Summer climbing vine, flower display.
PROBLEMS: Can spread and be seriously invasive.

PLANTING DATES: Spring and fall, but container-grown plants can be planted any time.
PLANTING METHOD: Transplants are available in 1- and 5- gallon containers
SEED EMERGENCE: Don’t know. We’ve never grown it from seed.
HARVEST TIME: Year-round from containers. Spring and fall are the best times.
GROWTH HABITS: Beautiful, although aggressively spreading vine with deeply cut foliage and colorful and intricately detailed flowers. Several different flower colors are available. Climbs by tendrils. Blooms all summer.
CULTURE: Easy to grow in any well-drained healthy soil. Passion vine dies to the ground and returns in the spring, although there are many tropical choices as well.

White Passion Vine Flower
TROUBLES AND SOLUTIONS: Most common pest is the Gulf fritilary butterfly larva. These butterflies are beautiful, so let them have some of the foliage. Hand pick if they become too plentiful. They’re slow and easy to catch.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: Harvest the foliage and flowers any time to use in teas. The fruit should be harvested after it matures. The color of ripe fruit ranges from yellow to red. Be careful, the fruit of some varieties tastes pretty bad.

PRUNING: is best done during winter months, when the plant is not actively growing. All dead and weak growth should be trimmed back to healthy stems leaving several nodes each to promote vigorous growth in the spring; strong stems should be cut back by at least one third. As passion flower is susceptible to some viral diseases, shears should be thoroughly disinfected before and after pruning. If your vine is overwintered outdoors it will usually die back to the roots. If any top growth remains, you can trim it to 8″ to 12″ from the soil. Clean off all dead growth from last year. Most passion vine in upper zone 8 and north will die down to the ground. Then it re-sprouts from the roots in the spring. In lower and protected areas of zone 8 and south, plants may stay evergreen – in which case plants can get very large. In these cases, occasional pruning will need to be done if you need to keep the plants in bounds.
NOTES: As with all the plants, don’t eat unless you grow them with organic techniques. For more information, read Passion Flowers by John Vanderplank.
VARIETIES: Over 100 available.

A day in the life of a passion flower.
Submitted by Roy Reynolds

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Passion Flower Types

Blue Passion Flower image by Cambo from Fotolia.com

Passion flowers (Passiflora) are annual or perennial vines that belong to the Passifloraceae plant family. Most passion flower varieties grow best in moist soils that receive partial to full sunlight. Home gardeners should select passion flowers according to hardiness zone, flower color, mature size and intended use. Various types of passion flowers perform well in American gardens.

Blue Passion Flower

The blue passion flower (Passiflora caerulea) naturally occurs in Argentina and Brazil and typically performs well in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Zones 7 to 9. This passion flower variety ranges from 10 to 30 feet in length with spreads up to 6 feet. This annual plant features blue to violet-blue flowers that give way to dark orange fruits in late summer. The blue passion flower prefers loose, gravelly or sandy soils and a location that protects it from harsh winter weather. Caterpillars sometimes feed on the leaves. The blue passion flower works well in large containers and butterfly gardens.

Red Passion Flower

The red passion flower (Passiflora coccinea), also called the red granadilla, grows on purple or red stems that reach up to 12 feet in length. Indigenous to Brazil, Peru and Venezuela, this variety performs well in USDA Zones 10 to 12. The vine bears deep red flowers from July through September, followed by edible, yellow to orange fruit. Gardeners often use red passion flowers in hummingbird gardens, containers and butterfly gardens.

Wild Passion Flower

Wild passion flowers (Passiflora incarnate) naturally occur in the Southeastern United States (U.S.) and generally grow well in USDA zones 5 to 9. This vine reaches up to 8 inches in length and 6 feet in diameter. Fragrant flowers bloom from July through September, featuring white petals with purple crowns. These flowers give way to edible, yellow fruit called maypops. Gardeners primarily train wild passion flowers to climb fences, walls and trellises.

Corona de Cristo

The corona de Cristo (Passiflora foetida), sometimes called the scarlet-fruit passion flower, is an annual vine that reaches up to 6 feet in length. Flowers bloom from May through October, featuring purple, green or yellow petals that open in the morning and close up again at night. The large, red fruits add ornamental interest to the landscape. Corona de Cristo works well in meadows and as a climbing plant.

Yellow Passion Flower

The yellow passion flower (Passiflora lutea) features green-yellow flowers from May through September, followed by dark purple or black fruit that attract birds and wildlife. The green leaves turn yellow in the autumn. The yellow passion flower vine reaches up to 3 feet in length. This climbing passion flower variety works well in butterfly gardens and bird gardens.

Bird Wing Passion Flower

The bird wing passion flower (Passiflora tenuiloba), sometimes called the slender-lobe passion flower or the spread lobe passion flower, naturally occurs in limestone and caliche soils in Texas and New Mexico. This perennial vine matures between 3 and 6 feet in length. Delicate, petal-less, green flowers bloom from April through October. Gardeners often plant bird wing passion flowers in butterfly gardens.

How to grow Passion Flower

Passion flowers can be planted in spring or early Autumn when the soil is still warm, and the autumn rains will water the plant until it is well-established. If planted in spring or summer, it will be necessary to ensure the plant has plenty of water until established, after which it will look after itself. An ideal planting place for a Passion flower is a sheltered spot, southwest or west facing, close to wall if possible to protect from cold winds and in well-drained soil which is on the moist side, not too dry. If the ground is too dry, or there are dry conditions it may be necessary to water Passion flowers.

Passion flowers grow best and produce the most flowers in full sun, when they may also produce fruits in form of orange /yellow oval fruits. Hardy Passion flowers will survive most of our winters, but in colder areas the plant will need protection such as a mulch to the roots, or even a hessian cover during the coldest months. Passion flower will grow in any soil, alkaline or acid, and in moist soil provided it is well drained.

Passion flowers require little or no maintenance and can be vigorous growing up to 8-12 meters. They can be grown in a container, but will require a largish container given they are a vigorous climber. Also, by necessity, the more tender varieties will need to be grown in a container to bring under cover for winter.

Gardening advise often makes mention of growing passion flowers in a conservatory. The problem is that many conservatories in the summer reach high temperatures which makes it a hostile environment for most plants. (An exception are Pelargoniums which tolerate conservatory conditions.) Unless your conservatory is well-ventilated, cooled and with a good amount of shade it is likely to be too hot and bake most plants including passion flowers.

Passiflora caerulea ‘Constance Elliott’ is hardy to H4 and is illustrated top centre. It will need a more sheltered spot and is a little more tender than the blue variety. It has lovely white flowers which have the additional benefit of being scented. It will need winter protection.

The third image on the right, P.violacea is more tender still and will only withstand temperatures down to 1.C and will need glass or greenhouse protection over winter.

The latin name for Passion flower, is Passiflora, so called after the Passion of Christ. It is said that the stigmas and anthers represent the nails on the cross and the wounds.

There are lots of attractive climbing plants to choose from for your garden. For more information, images and growing advice about climbing plants.

How to eat passion fruit

It’s a good thing passion fruit is delicious because the visual of gelatinous goo when it’s first cut in half is not incredibly appetizing. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think that giving it the name passion fruit was a way to make the fruit more tempting to eat, but that’s not the case. The history of its name goes in an entirely different direction.

How passion fruit got its name

Does this flower remind you of a religious symbol? (Photo: Doikanoy/)
The name has nothing to do with the fruit being an aphrodisiac. Rather, it’s named after the passion, or crucifixion, of the biblical Jesus. When Spanish missionaries to South America first discovered the flowers that turned into the fruit, they saw them as symbolic of the crucifixion. According to Specialty Produce, missionaries saw “the three stigmas as the three nails, the corona as the crown of thorns, the five stamens as the five wounds, the five petals and five sepals as the ten apostles and the purple petals as the purple robe.”

How to Eat Passion Fruit

First, the history. Why is it called “passion” fruit?
The un-romantic answer is that it’s a nod to religion and not love or passion. It seems that the passion flowers which grow on the vines of the plant are spiked and somehow reminded the 16th century missionaries of the passion of Christ.

Is passion fruit new to the culinary scene?
No, actually, the makers of Hawaiian Punch have been adding the fruit to their recipe since 1934.
So, you’ve probably tasted a hint of it without even knowing. If you taste the juice straight (well, probably mixed with a little sugar and some water), you will know and remember the unique taste and chances are very high that you will also long for more.

Next, how to ripen a passion fruit?
Simply leave it out on the counter. The smooth skin will begin to darken and form wrinkles as the insides become sweeter. The fruit may have been pretty when you purchased it, but it tastes better when it looks a bit ugly!

A passion fruit is best eaten when it is well aged, as seen by a skin that is full of wrinkles. This is the best time to cut it open. A ripe purple passion fruit is shown on the left and a ripe yellow passion fruit is shown on the right below. The fruit has a tart taste which some enjoy straight, but many prefer it with a little sugar added.

The flesh, in the case of both purple and yellow passion fruits, will be a golden yellow with large black edible seeds. Shown below are the ones shown above cut in half.

Where are they grown?
Passion fruits grow in tropical and sub-tropical areas including Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Florida and California. This fruit is available pretty much all year round, but hard to find in most stores (see additional information below).

How to eat passion fruit?
Wash the fruit first and then cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds and the pulp with a spoon. Avoid the skin (all of the white interior) as that is very bitter. Eat it straight from the skin, blend it into juice, create delicious cocktails, spoon it over desserts, swirl it into creams and frostings, cook it into jams, stir it into marinades, mix it into salads and dressings… the possibilities are endless.

Can you eat passion fruit seeds?
Yes, the seeds are completely edible and should be eaten. However, you may want to strain them out with a fine strainer or cheesecloth if making a fancy drink or mousse.

How much fruit do you get?
Each passion fruit will contain only about 2 to 3 tablespoons of delicious pulp, so be careful to cut it open over a cutting board or bowl to avoid letting any juice escape. These fruits are for those who prefer quality to quantity in their food!

Finally, how long does passion fruit last?
Passion fruits are actually one of the longer lasting fruits, to find out how long passion fruits last and how to tell if they have gone bad, see our passion fruit page.

Slice a fresh passion fruit in half, place it in the palm of your hand and enjoy its juicy, slightly musky sweet-tart tropical flavor with a spoon.

Both the fruit and juice of the passion fruit combines well with other fruits and juices, especially tropical fruits. In addition to being eaten fresh, passion fruit can be used to make preserves, sauces and ice cream.

Passion fruit has a flavor reminiscent of guava. The fruit is about the size of a hen’s egg with a thick hard shell and rich gelatinous yellow-orange pulp containing soft edible seeds.

Passion fruit can be added to fruit salads and used as a topping for pavlova (meringue cake) and cheesecake and made into a fruit mousse. Cooked with sugar it can be made into thick syrup and used as a topping for shave ice or mixed with water and ice to make an ade.

Purple passion fruit and yellow passion fruit. There are two types of passion fruit. The dark purple passion fruit is perhaps the most common in subtropical regions because it is less susceptible to frost damage. It is easily grown in Hawaii, and southern Florida and California. The bright yellow variety, sometimes called golden passion fruit, is more tropical and sometimes bears a larger fruit. Both yield delicious fruit and juice. However, the purple passion fruit is preferred for fresh consumption while the yellow passion fruit is most often used for juice processing and making preserves.

The passion fruit grows on evergreen vines to 30 feet long in frost-free subtropical and tropical regions. Its yellowish-green leaves are three-lobed and deep-toothed. A single, dramatic, fragrant flower grows at each node of new growth on the vine. Each flower turns into a purple (or yellow) oval, egg-shaped fruit up to 2 inches long.

The passion fruit has a tough rind that is smooth and waxy and ranges in color from dark purple to light yellow or pumpkin colored depending upon variety. There can be as many as 250 small, hard, dark brown or black seeds in the pulp of each fruit. The fruit ripens about 80 days after pollination turning from green to deep purple (or yellow) and falls to the ground a few days after it ripens where it can be gathered.

Local Season. The peak harvest season for passion fruit is spring through late summer.

Choose. Select passion fruit that is heavy, large, and plump for its size, and wrinkled . Look for dark purple shells that are dimpled and shriveled, a sign the fruit is ripe. A smooth skinned passion fruit is not ripe. Avoid overly hard passion fruit which is underripe. Smooth-skinned fruit will ripen at room temperature within 3 to 5 days.

Amount. Ten to 12 passion fruits will yield about 1 cup (.23 litre) of pulp.

Store. Refrigerate ripe passion fruit in a plastic or paper bag for up to 2 days. Smooth-skinned passion fruit is not ripe. Ripen at room temperature, uncovered, out of direct sun, until the fruit skin dimples and darkens, then it is ripe.

Passion fruit pulp and seeds can be frozen for up to 3 months. Scoop out pulp and seeds from halved fruit; transfer to freezer containers and freeze. Whole passion fruit can also be frozen.

Prepare. Slice the fruit in half, spoon out the pulp, remove the seeds by straining in a non-aluminum sieve, pressing to extract juice.

To prepare seedless pulp: force the pulp through a fine mesh strainer with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon; if you heat the pulp gently with a little sugar before you strain it will cause it to release more juice. Don’t use too much heat or the flavor will be affected. More than 100 fruits will be needed to make one liter of juice.

Cook. Passion fruit is generally used fresh. It can be cooked to use for use in pastry fillings.

Serve. Passion fruit is usually served fresh.

  • Add slices to fruit salad.
  • Add dollops of pulp to fruit, poultry, or gelatin salads.
  • Serve pulp on French bread or crackers with cream cheese or Brie.
  • Cut off the top, pour cream and sugar into the cavity, mix with the pulp and eat with a spoon.
  • Serve pulp over ice cream, sherbet, yogurt, or crêpes.
  • Use to make jelly or juice.
  • Add juice to custard bases or puddings.
  • Add strained fruit purée to blended drinks.
  • Seeded fruit pulp puréed in a blender is a flavor base for sorbets, ice cream, mousses, pies, and dessert sauces.
  • Add juice to punches, cocktails, fruit juice blends.

Flavor partners. Passion fruit has a flavor affinity for cream, guava, ice cream, mango, meringue, mousse, papaya, pineapple, star fruit, sugar, and yogurt.

Nutrition. Passion fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and sodium.

Passion fruit facts and trivia. Passion fruit is native to southern Brazil. The fruit was given its name by Spanish Jesuit priests who saw the pattern of Christ’s crown of thorns and other symbols of the Crucifixion or passion in the plant’s flowers.

In some places such as South Africa, passion fruit goes by the Spanish name granadilla which means “little pomegranate”.

The botanical name for purple passion fruit is Passiflora edulis. The botanical name for yellow passion fruit is Passiflora edulis flavicarpa.

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