In The Garden: Purple passionflower is native flowering vine
Purple passionflower vine (Passiflora incarnata) is a perennial flowering vine native to Florida.
It is one of the most complex and intricate flowers among the flowering vines. The vine is very easy to grow, can tolerate dry conditions and loves full sun. Its bloom time is during the warmest months from late spring through early fall.
It will definitely need a structure to grow on and plenty of room to wander. It will spread easily over a fence, arbor or trellis in a sunny location, reaching out with is grasping tendrils and hanging onto anything within reach.
The best part of the vine is the gorgeous, three-inch to five-inch flowers that come in shades of lavender or purple, with a wavy fringe over five petals. The middle of the bloom looks like a tiny landing pad, with a tiny yellow bean-like pollen sac suspended overhead. The flowers last about a day or so and bloom continuously. The small green fruit is oval in shape and edible, but is not very tasty.
The passionflower vine is perfect for a butterfly garden. It is the larval host plant for Gulf fritillary and zebra longwing – the state butterfly of Florida – as well as other species of butterflies. The vine also attracts hummingbirds.
In addition to the beautiful purple/white/green color combination of the incarnata variety, Passiflora flowers come in a range of colors including white, blue, lavender, purple red and maroon. There are also five other Florida native passionflower vines: lutea, multiflora, pallens, sexflora and suberosa. With the other native varieties, the flowers are not as showy with more subdued colors. By far, the Passiflora incarnata has the showiest flowers and are the most intriguing.
In The Garden is a joint effort by all at the local garden center, at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel. For information, contact 239-395-5859 or visit www.facebook.com/rswalshinthegarden.