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Featuring some of the most intricate blossoms of the plant world, passionflowers add a tropical-garden ambience to your home or garden. In northern climates these plants can be treated as annuals or as houseplants.
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20 feet or more
Up to 30 feet
With flowers available in a myriad of colors, there's a passionflower to fit almost any palette. Along with the varied blossoms you will find, many passionflower species have intriguing foliage. The leaves tend to be medium green with three lobes. Some varieties have wing-shape foliage with a mottled silver pattern. The fruit of the passionflower is generally ornamental but sometimes edible. The fruit varies in size from that of an acorn to as large as a football. Colors range from bright green, yellow, and orange to purple.
As they've evolved, some of the 400-plus species in this genus have created relationships with insects. Some species of passionflower act as nesting and food locations for butterflies and have developed extra appendages off the base of the leaves that secrete sugary liquid to feed the insects. These plants have also grown additional nubs on their leaves that resemble butterfly eggs to discourage them from laying too many eggs on a single plant. Other species rely heavily on ant populations to protect them from predators.
Passionflower Care Must-Knows
Passionflowers are fairly easy to grow and cope with a variety of growing conditions. They appreciate well-drained soil and, once established, they are quite drought tolerant. If growing them in containers, use a well-drained potting mix, preferably with a slow-release fertilizer. For lush, dense growth, it is best to plant passionflowers in full sun, buts some species can tolerate part sun.
When growing passionflowers, keep in mind they can grow 15 to 20 feet in a single season. Make sure they have a sturdy lattice or other structure to climb. In areas where these plants are hardy, some species have escaped cultivation and become invasive, spreading via runners and underground rhizomes as well as seed dispersal from local fauna.
If you are planning on bringing your passionflowers indoors during the winter, trim them back to the size that fits your space requirements.