Passion flowers have the most incredible flowers from July to October, usually followed by edible, but not particularly tasty, egg-shaped fruits. Rampant climbers, passion flowers will quickly cover a wall or fence. There’s a few varieties to choose from, including the common passion flower, Passiflora caerulea, which is hardy in most regions of the British isles despite being native to the tropics of South America. Most passion flowers are evergreen with dark green leaves and either white or purple blooms. Some passion flowers are suitable only for growing in a conservatory or greenhouse.
How to grow passion flowers
Grow passion flowers in full sun to partial shade, in in well-drained soil in a warm, sheltered spot. Cut back after flowering to keep plants neat, or cut away damaged growth in spring. Most varieties need winter protection.
More on growing passion flowers:
- Caring for passion flowers – Golden Rules
- How to plant a passion flower
- Best climbing plants for pergolas
Where to plant passion flowers
Plant passion flowers in well-drained soil in full sun in a sheltered spot, such as the foot of a sheltered, sunny wall. You can train passion flowers up a pergola, obelisk or galvanised wires run across a wall. Guide the plant on to the support with a garden cane. The plants are self-clinging thanks to tendrils, so when mature they won’t need tying in.
It is possible to grow passion flowers in containers, however you’ll need to feed and water them more often, and they won’t grow quite as vigorously as those growing in the ground. Choose a gritty, free-draining, peat-free compost.
How to plant passion flowers
On heavy soils, improve the drainage by digging in horticultural grit. Plant your passion flower, tilting it slightly against the obelisk, wall or fence you’re growing it up. Water well and firm in.
How to care for passion flowers
Prune passion flowers after flowering just to keep them neat, cutting back to a healthy bud. There’s no need to cut them back hard. If plants have got out of hand and need retraining, cut them back in spring.
Passion flowers grown in a container can be moved into a frost-free place for winter, if necessary. If growing in a greenhouse or conservatory, protect the plants from too much direct sunlight with greenhouse shading.
Cut back any foliage damaged by cold winds, in spring.
In this video guide Jane Lindsay, of Tynings Climbers, reveals her three top tips for growing passion flowers, including advice on soil type, drainage, growing in pots and feeding.
How to propagate passion flowers
Growing passion flowers from seed is not easy. Plants that are produced from seed can take over a decade to flower, so propagation from cuttings is preferable.
Take passion flower cuttings in early spring. Remove new growth from below a node – about 6cm in length is long enough. Remove the bottom leaves and tendrils and place the cutting in a pot of cutting compost. Cuttings will root successfully when placed in a propagator with bottom heat of around 20°C.
Growing passion flowers: problem solving
Most passion flowers are native to tropical regions of central and South America. The main problem faced when growing passion flowers is therefore losing them in hard winters. To prevent losing plants, grow in a sheltered spot such as against a west- or south-facing wall, and dig horticultural grit into the planting hole before planting. Taking cuttings in summer can insure against winter losses.
Passion flowers to grow
- Passiflora caerulea – blue, white and green flowers in July to October. Hardy. Egg-shaped orange fruits follow the flowers in a good summer. Reaches a height of 10m
- Passiflora caerulea ‘Constance Elliot’ – white, scented flowers. Flowers from July to October. Reaches a height of 10m. Often needs some winter protection although described as hardy
- Passiflora edulis – blue and white flowers in July and August. Only suitable for a cool, but frost-free greenhouse or a sheltered, south-facing city garden. Has black edible fruits. Reaches a height of 5m
- Passiflora antioquiensis – tender, so winter protection is essential. Soft red flowers with a violet corona. Produces yellow fruits. Reaches a height of 5m
- Passiflora mollissima – the flowers of this species are very different. Long tubular, pale-pink flowers in July and August. Tender, so needs winter protection. Climbs to a height of 4m