Passion Vine – Easy to grow and Exotic Tropical Like Flowers
If you have never seen or grown a passion vine (also known as may pop and passiflora) then you are missing out on some real beautiful flowers that are unlike any other. These vigorous vines are extremely easy to grow though one would think they wouldn’t be by the looks of their delicate flowers. Once established they can grow 15′-20′ feet in a single growing season while in warm climates like Southern Florida they can grow year round. These vines usually start emerging in May here in zone 7 and will grow all the way up until frost. Blooms start emerging in mid to late June and the vine will produce lots and lots of blooms up until frost. An added bonus to this vine is that it will also produce edible Passion Fruit. I have read that they need to be pollinated by another non cloned vine but that has not been the case with mine. They can be grown either as a scrambling vine on the ground but they look best on some sort of trellis. I grow mine along some deck railing.
Despite their tropical look, these are quite hardy (at least some cultivars). There seems to be some disagreement on how hardy they really are since some say they will only grow down to zone 8-9 while others say zone 5. Whatever the case may be, I know for a fact they grow great in zone 7. In fact, there are quite a few wild ones growing on my property that did not come from my planting. It got as low as 9 degrees in its first winter yet it came back as expected the following May. They will probably do fine in zones 6 as well but I really don’t know how they will do below that. Passiflora Pfordi is listed as being hardy in all zones at DirectGardening.com so that may be a good one to try.
Growing these is quite easy, just plant it in the usual well draining rich soil. I added a little bit of sand with peat to my soil and it is doing great. I have seen some wild ones growing out in a wooded area behind my house so they don’t appear to be very particular with soil. The important thing to remember is to plant these in full sun or they won’t bloom. The wild ones in the shaded wooded area appear to be growing well but no blooms. I have another wild volunteer in the front of my house that is growing under a tree and while it has grown quite long, it also has no blooms. You will need to provide it some room because it can get large and you will get some new ones popping up in the vicinity of your main planting which you can leave, share or simply pull out. Drought tolerance is pretty good. They could probably manage just fine with only the water provided by mother nature assuming you don’t have an extended drought. That being said, regular waterings will give you a much healthier and profuse bloomer. I recommend planting these in late spring/early summer if you want to have a chance at any blooms the same season. Though they can also be planted in the summer but you will probably not get any blooms. I planted mine some time in June or July and they emerged quickly but gave no flowers. I am not sure how they would do being planted in the fall so I would not recommend it. Though this is hardy, I highly recommend a good mulching once it dies back in the winter. You may to watch for Gulf fritillary caterpillars which are orange with black spikes. These caterpillars absolutely love passion vine leaves! They aren’t dangerous to humans or anything but they may devour a young passion vine. Once the plant is larger, you can leave them alone as they will not harm your vine. In the fall, these caterpillars will turn into lovely orange and black butterflies.
Finding these locally, can be challenging. I think it has to do with the fact that they are not well known. I have yet to see them at any nursery around here. So if you really like these and would love to plant some, then I recommend you get them online. Mine came as roots from Directgardening.com, and they emerged as soon as I planted them though they did take a second season to bloom. If you want some unique looking tropical looking flowers and maybe even some edible fruit, then I highly recommend the Passion Vine.