The Passiflora is a genus of climbers growing in warm regions of Asia, Australia and Oceania. You will probably know them more by their popular name, Passionflower, which refers to the Passion of Christ since the first missionaries saw in their flowers the instruments used during the Passion.
They are very popular in gardens, and no wonder: their flowers are very bright colors, so they embellish any corner. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of Passiflora to get to know them better.
Characteristics of Passiflora
These evergreen plants can grow up to 6-7 meters , provided they are close to a vertical surface where they can climb, because although they have tendrils, if they do not detect anything to grow, they will develop at ground level, as if it was a creeping plant.
Its leaves are usually trilobed, that is, they are composed of three lobes, but there are species that have them whole. The flowers, which sprout in summer, are very striking, of colors that go from white to red, passing through violet . If everything goes well and they are pollinated, the seeds will begin to mature. Once they have finished the maturation process, they will be dark, blackish or brown, and will measure about 7mm.
The most popular species are:
- Passiflora caerulea: originally from Brazil and Peru. It is known as Blue Passionflower because of the color of its flowers. It is the most resistant to cold, supporting up to -10ºC if it is protected.
- Passiflora edulis: originally from Brazil. It is known as passion fruit or granadilla, and produces edible fruits. Supports up to 5ºC.
- Passiflora quadrangularis: is originally from Brazil, and unfortunately does not support frost either. It grows in full sun, with temperatures between 17 and 30ºC. It produces edible fruits.
How are they cared for?
The Passiflora, although most are very sensitive to cold, if they live in the right climate are not demanding plants, and even P. caerulea is a species that can be had without problems in temperate climates. If you would like to have one, follow our advice:
Preferably they have to be placed on the outside, in semi-shade. But if there are frosts in your area, you can have them inside the home , in a room where lots of natural light comes in.
During the spring and summer months they have to be watered frequently, up to 3 times a week, while in the autumn and winter a weekly watering will be sufficient. It is important to avoid waterlogging, as the roots may rot. In case of doubt, it is always better to check the moisture of the substrate . To do this, you can do the following:
- Insert a thin wooden stick to the bottom. If it comes out with a lot of dirt stuck, it is because it is wet and, therefore, it will not be necessary to water.
- If the plants are young, you can take the pots once watered and again after a few days . You will notice that, as the earth dries, it weighs much less. This will help you to get an idea what can weigh, and when you have to water.
- Use a moisture meter from the ground. It is very easy to use, you just have to enter it and then it will indicate if the land is dry or wet. But, yes, for you to be really useful, I recommend you enter it again in other points of the pot.
During the spring and summer you can pay with mineral or organic liquid fertilizers , following the indications specified on the package.
After flowering , up to 3 buds of the stems that have flowered can be cut .
Problems of the Passiflora
Although they are very resistant plants, they also have their enemies, which are woodlice , aphids and mites. All three can be prevented or treated with Neem Oil or, if the pest is widespread, with 40% Dimethoate.
But they can also have yellow leaves as a result of excessive irrigation or lack of nutrients . In the first case, you have to irrigate less frequently, and in the second case, once they are fertilized they can continue to grow normally, although the yellow leaves will not be green again, so you can remove them.
How do they reproduce?
You can have new specimens in two different ways: making cuttings or sowing their seeds in spring. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:
Once the seeds are acquired, it is highly recommended to introduce them in a glass of water for 24 hours so that they hydrate and can germinate better. It is not an essential step, much less obligatory, but if we do it, the germination percentage will be higher.
The next day they will be planted in pots or in nursery trays by placing a maximum of two seeds in each container or alveolus that we have previously filled with universal growing medium.
To finish, it will only be watering now and every 2-3 days. In this way, the seeds will begin to germinate after 2-4 weeks.
The fastest way to obtain new Passiflora is to make cuttings with three leaves , cutting them with scissors and planting them in mixed sand and peat. Since moisture is important, you can cover the pots with plastic. This will not take more than 2-3 weeks to root.
Uses of the Passiflora
These plants are used above all for their incredible ornamental value. Its flowers make the room look more alive, more beautiful. But, of course, some species are also used for their delicious fruits, such as those of P. edulis .
And, by the way, did you know that there is one that is medicinal? It is the Passiflora incarnata , which serves as an anxiolytic , sedative , and antispasmodic.
What do you think about the Passiflora plant? Let us know in the comments section.