Passion Flowers A Growers Guide
Passion flowers look exotic and hard to maintain, when in fact, what you will get with the right care is a hardy perennial that could grow up to 20 meters in one season. I’m hoping to take away any worries about growing in the UK and cooler climates.
In the UK and Northern America you will find that a passion flower will grow, but need protection from the harsh winter frosts. Your vine needs support and would love full sunshine in Summer but in Winter will need to have shelter. Growing from seed is possible, but it can take up to decade to flower, so we recommend using cuttings for propagation.
Propagating from cuttings can be surprisingly easy as well as affordable.
Growing Passion Flowers From Cuttings
There seems to be a lot of friends asking me about all of our passion flowers and how do I propagate them, well the answer is by cuttings. Taking cuttings ensures that you get a true version of the plant and it can be a very affordable way to fill your garden over time. My first tip is to buy a quality plant at first. After the first full year of growth you will be able to take cuttings without harming the original plant.
- Early Spring is the best time to take soft wood cuttings of your passiflora. You want it bendy, not woody.
- Take a cutting from a healthy part of the passion flower vine where you have around 4-6 inches.
- Cut with sharp, clean secateurs. Cut beneath a node of the vine. Your passion flower node is basically where it branches out to make new growth. So with younger plants take only a few cuttings.
- Strip off the bottom tendrils and leaves. You want a few pairs of leaves towards the top to allow growth.
- We use rooting hormone, which can be a bit of discussion point within the gardening world. We use it because it promotes root growth and helps to prevent rot. That has always been our main reason to use it. So it is up to you to decide. I wont claim that we see more growth or quicker growth as a result, just more cuttings take. With our passion flowers we don’t want to over prune in Spring before the growth season.
- Use a 50:50 sand to seed starting mix. water it well before adding the cuttings.
- Use a little stick to make the hole that the cutting will then slot into.
- We then pop that little stick next to the cutting to give a bit of support to plastic bag that you are then going to cover the pot with. This is the stop the plastic touching the cuttings. You want them to be moist but not in contact with damp.
- We use a heated propagator in a shady spot. You want to temperature set at a constant 20 degrees. This way your passion flower cuttings will feel ready to put out roots, but not to rot.
- Around a month later check the passion flower cuttings and you will probably see growth on the top. To check for roots give a gentle tug and if any resistance is shown then you are ready to take the plastic cover off.
- Keep the passion flowers moist and in sunshine. once real root growth has occurred, perhaps at the three month mark, you are ready to repot them.
- Yes you can plant passion flowers into pots! Yes you can plant them outside in Summer as well. Passion flowers thrive in full sunshine so make sure to locate the pots accordingly.
Overwintering Your Passion Flower Plants
Some care needs to be taken to look after your perennial vines. Some pruning will benefit the plant, but not too harsh and only if the risk of a heavy frost is coming. A good mulch in Fall is ideal as this will feed the plant as well as protecting the roots from any frosts.
Move plants in pots to more sheltered positions and even wrap in fleeces to prevent the pots from frost damage.
We grow a vine in the conservatory in our home, but it is not too sunny so we don’t get too much damage this way. By taking regular cuttings in Spring we can ensure a continued passion flower crop.
Can You Grow Passion Flowers In Pots
You can easily grow passion flowers in pots as they will respond by growing more flowers. The restricting of their roots means that they focus on the flowers and fruit.
Make sure to support the vine as you would do normally and keep it well fed with a liquid feed.
If you want to know when to repot your passion flower it depends on the age of the vine. We repot younger plants every spring, each year and into larger pots. With the older plants you will want to repot them to give them a refresh of soil. However you can control the growth of your vine by cutting older plants back in Autumn/Fall time. This will be part of the overwintering process and a good mulch can go a long way in pots.
When it is particularly cold we wrap fleece around the pots and move to a more sheltered location. Any time a frost is promised. Pots don’t have the ability to keep the roots warm.
Warnings & Mistakes
People may want to use passion flower as an herbal remedy, my first point to put to you all is that although it can be useful to humans it should be taken in different forms for each illness. WebMD has some useful pointers on this subject. The rule to follow is all parts are toxic to animals and humans alike. So we do not eat them directly. You can purchase remedies from wholefood stores and online. This will be suitable for human consumption. There is a body of research to suggest that extract of passiflora can help with anxiety and insomnia. However do not eat the plant from your garden!
So if you were adding passion flower extract to your herbal teas, then you would use an extract rather than cuttings or flowers.
Buy a good quality plant to start with. You can buy cheaper plants from saver type stores, but we have had great success from buying from reputable online nurseries or local nurseries.
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