Passionflower is an exuberant plant whose lianas quickly cover a pergola, and its spectacular and fragrant flowers make the attraction of the garden. As for its fruits, although edible only when they are ripe, they have no taste interest and in any case have nothing in way with the maracuja or passion fruit produced by the grenadilla (Passiflora edulis), a plant that also belongs to the family of Passifloraceae. So let’s see everything you need to know to cultivate Passionflower, chilly exotic beauty, of which there are about 400 different species.
Plant a Passionflower
Passionflowers can be planted in the ground or in pots. We must take care of moisturize the root ball well beforehand by immersing it in a basin of water.
Planting in the ground is as follows.
- Dig a hole 3 times the size of the root ball,
- Mix the garden soil extracted to a planting soil or to a ripe compost,
- Place a drainage layer at the bottom of the hole (balls of expanded clay, gravel, etc.),
- Install the root ball in the hole, making sure that its upper part is flush with the ground level,
- Fill the hole with the earth / potting mix or earth / compost mixture,
- Eliminate any air pockets by compacting the earth with your foot without damaging the root ball,
- Water generously.
If you prefer to plant a Passionflower in a pot, it is necessary to opt for a sufficiently large container (40 x 40 cm), fully drilled so that the water does not stagnate, then install a drainage layer on the bottom on which it is recommended to put a rot-proof veil so that the earth does not block the hole.
It then remains to place the rehydrated root ball in the pot and fill it with potting soil for Mediterranean plants. Alternatively, you can use a potting soil for geraniums, but it is then advisable to add to it to lighten it either a little perlite, or sand with average grain size. The substrate must be watered copiously as soon as the Passionflower is planted in its pot.
It is in spring that we preferably plant Passionflower because this not very hardy plant, if at all depending on the variety, must be installed in the garden when the risk of frost is no longer to be feared. But we must also avoid planting it during a period of strong heat. She likes them sunny situation and sheltered from the wind.
Support is to be expected because Passionflower must be guided throughout its growth. It also helps support the heavy weight of the many large flowers that will bloom. For a Passionflower in the ground, make sure to make the hole 10 or 15 cm from the wall in order to allow air to circulate between the plant and its support. Palisade, fencing, pergola are other perfectly suited solutions. For a culture in pot, one can install several stakes with which it is possible to form a totem for example.
Passionflower is a plant fairly easy to grow because it does not need complicated care to quickly become a pure wonder. However, it should not be forgotten because it risks withering away.
It is essential to water very regularly and generously its Passionflower during the three years following its planting. It is greedy for water, and more so if the weather is hot. Also watch out for summer winds which quickly dry up the land. On the other hand, during the vegetative rest period, we only water if it does not rain for several weeks. After a few years, we can reduce watering even in summer because this plant will then be more resistant to drought if it is planted in the ground.
It’s a little different for Passionflower in a pot which will always have need copious watering in summer due to the fact that in a container, the soil remains moist for less time. As soon as it begins to dry up, it is essential to proceed with watering. However, we slow down the pace as soon as autumn arrives because the temperatures drop and the rains are more frequent.
Passionflowers grown in the ground need a supply of organic manure in March / April. Ripe compost works well too.
Regarding passionflowers in pots, fertilization should be carried out approximately every 4 weeks, from March to August, through a liquid fertilizer rich in potash suitable for this type of flowering plant. This fertilizer should be diluted in the irrigation water.
March to April, this is the best time to prune Passionflower. We do a severe pruning because it is a very fast growing plant. The main structure is kept and all secondary branches are eliminated at the base.
So that the potted passionflowers are less bulky when they are overwintered, a small autumn pruning can be done. Less severe than spring pruning, it boils down to moderately reducing the size of the plant.
This paragraph only concerns potted plants of course.
Every year in March, we carry out a surfacing. This consists of replacing about 4 or 5 cm of the surface substrate with new, very fertile soil.
On the other hand, the repotting a Passionflower is required every 3 years. As for planting, it is In early spring that we stick to it. We can thus install it in a pot a little larger than the previous one or of another style to bring a decorative touch to its terrace in order to be in the trend … But repotting allows above all to remove the root ball from the container , to check the condition of its roots, to remove if necessary those which are damaged or dry, and of course (ultimate goal) to eliminate all the old soil in order to be able to replace it completely with a substrate rich in nutrients.
Protect in winter
The hardiness of passionflowers is not extreme, it is better to protect them so that they spend the winter without hindrance.
Only the species P. caerula can support -8 to -10 ° C. But for this it is better to increase the thickness of the mulch until it reaches 10-12 cm. It is essential to preserve the strain. As for the aerial parts of this species of Passionflower, they do not resist at all below -4 ° C. We can ask a wintering veil to limit damage in severe frosts, but the main thing is above all to protect the stump so that the plant grows back as soon as vegetation resumes.
Without exception, passionflowers may simply not endure winter in regions with a harsh climate. At the most, they can be preserved in the South, on the Atlantic coast and wherever the climate is particularly mild. Only a very moderate frost can go unnoticed.
As for the potted passionflowers, they must absolutely be wintered from the end of September or mid-October in order to be installed. frost free in a room that is not necessarily heated but where the brightness is important. Pot culture is the worst case for non-hardy plants when they are wintered outside because their roots are even more exposed to frost than in the ground.
Parasites and diseases
Passionflower is not very sensitive to diseases. On the other hand, it can be invaded by parasites, in this case the mealybugs, when it is too dry and very hot. We must therefore spray them with a mixture of water, vegetable oil (rapeseed) and black soap to hope to eradicate these parasites. There are also anti-mealybug products on the market that are effective.
The little red spiders are also common in very hot weather. A good spray of water on the foliage (including on the underside of the leaves) is sufficient to solve the problem.
Finally, by attracting ladybugs, we can protect naturally passionflowers against frequent aphids. Note that the 22-spotted ladybird feeds exclusively on mealybugs.
Excellent results are obtained if you opt for cuttings when you want multiply its passionflowers. To do this, it suffices to cut a few 20 to 25 cm cuttings during the summer of which only the leaves located at the top of each stem are kept. The cuttings are then placed in culture cups filled with cutting soil that must be kept moist. The plants are then covered with a very transparent plastic veil because they need light and the cups are kept in a heated room.
When the new seedlings are well rooted and sufficiently vigorous, the plastic veil can be removed. We will only have to wait until next spring to repot the all new Passiflores.
Passionflower flowers develop on the new shoots of the year. Watering is invaluable for obtaining abundant flowering. The flowers only last a day but they keep renewing themselves. To preserve the aesthetics of the plant, we remove the faded flowers as we go.
They are large and if extraordinary Due to their complexity, people who discover passionflower flowers for the first time find it hard to believe that they are indeed real. Sculptural, they seem to have been modeled by an artist. The show begins from the month of may and continues until the end of summer, even until the first frosts, for our greatest pleasure.