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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Passionflower

By Staff | Jun 10, 2011

Plant Subject: Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

First impression: Efferial, exotic, shades of lavender, five petal flowers that remind me of orchid blooms on a vine. Super soft green leaves are large about 6 inches with three lobes. This trailing vine has thin long tendrils that attach itself easily to any surface or protrusion. Butterflies are floating all around and laying their tiny eggs on the constant new growth. Need a little zing in your life? Come see this emotion evoking flowers at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: The Passiflora species consist of 480 plus varieties. That is a whole lot of passion! Passiflora incarnata (Maypop) is a fast growing native vine that can fill up an arbor, fence, trellis, quickly. It is perfect for our temperatures of dry climates and coastal areas. Plant in partial shade to full sun in a well-drained area. It is a must for butterfly gardeners, because it is the host plant for 3 Florida butterflies Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwings, and Julia. Host plants are specific plants which butterflies lay their eggs on. Just this week, I counted 20-30 Gulf Fritillaries flying all around our vine daily. We can boast multitudes of caterpillars and chrysalises. If butterflies aren’t enough, the indescribable flowers are in different hues of lavender, green and white. There is nothing quite like a passion flower! No one can resist stopping, touching, smelling or collecting pollen from this beauty! The leaves are large, but the tendrils are the next show stealers. They are thin and long and allow our star to hang around anywhere she wants to. Easy to propagate you will find this vine emerging all over. I routinely edit and pull up runners where they should not be. The fruit is green ripening to yellow and add to the vines’ adornment. In days long ago, flowers and fruit have been morphed into multitudes of varieties. Just one look at the blossom and you can imagine centuries of adoration. Present day, we use this beauty for our enjoyment and a must have habitat plant in our gardens.

Pros: Unique orchid like bloom – Does well in sandy soil – We can all use more passion – Likes full sun – Propagates everywhere – Fruit is great for jams — salt tolerant – Will fill in unsightly fences, etc – Sweet soft fragrance – Host plant for a 3 Butterflies – Pollinators love it! – Native Plant – Oodles of butterflies fluttering all around it.

Cons: Can be aggressive grower – Need lots of fruit for squeezing – Pollinators love it – Re think/tolerate caterpillars and nibbled leaves – Count your flowers, neighbors will steal them.

Conclusion: I am passionate about my Passionflower! Being beautiful, must be nice, how could anyone say ‘NO’ to such a gorgeous flower? Now we have the perfect flower to put us in the mood in our tropical eye catching garden.

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!