One of the most glamorous climbers, award-winning Passiflora caerulea (Blue Passion Flower) is a vigorous large semi-evergreen climber with twining tendrils. The exotic beauty of its flowers is captivating: white, sometimes pink-flushed, with a ring of blue, white and purple filaments. The attractive, 3 in. blooms (8 cm) are followed by egg-size deep orange fruits from late summer through fall. The fruits are edible, but not very tasty with a vague flavor reminiscent of blackberry. The foliage consists of shiny rich green leaves, palmately lobed with 5-7 fingers.
Native to southern Brazil and Argentina, Passion Flower is evergreen in tropical climates, but deciduous where winters are cool. It has been known to survive temperatures as low as 5ºF (-15ºC) when the ground was frozen over two feet deep! While it dies to the ground during the cold season, it will regrow from deep roots after even severe freezes.
- Winner of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society for its noteworthy qualities.
- Blooms during warm weather, sporadically from early summer to early fall
- Thrives in full sun or part shade, in loose sandy or gravelly soils, moist, well-drained soils. Good drainage is essential. Go light on fertilizer and water deeply, but infrequently. Passion Flowers should be encouraged to reach deep into the earth for water. This prompts them to develop a powerful root system that will sustain them through droughts and freezes. Do not provide too much manure or compost or this will result in lush vegetative growth and poor flowering. Keep the soil on the dry side in the winter. Some drought tolerance once established.
- Easy to grow, this twining vine can quickly grow up to 20-30 ft. long (6-9 m). Don't try to train your Passion Flower to be too neat and compact. The branches allowed to hang loose and droop a bit will be the ones most inclined to flower.
- Excellent choice for trellises, walls, fences or arbors. Perfect in wall-side borders, city gardens, cottage gardens, Mediterranean gardens and containers. This trouble free climber clings with tendrils so won't damage brickwork or fences!
- Butterflies are extraordinarily fond of Passion Flowers.
- The terminal buds may be pinched out to encourage branching.
- Propagate by seed, semi-hardwood cuttings or by layering in spring or fall.
- This vine blooms on new growth and should be pruned in late winter or early spring. No regular pruning needed. However, trimming may be required to keep them to the space available, removing as much from the longer shoots as necessary.
- Ingestion of some parts may cause severe discomfort
- Passiflora caerulea is parent of many attractive cultivars:
'Constance Elliott'- with fragrant white flowers.
'Regnellii' - with exceptionally long coronal filaments.
'Grandiflora' - with extraordinarily large flowers, 6 in. across (15 cm).
'Chinensis' - with pale blue flowers.