Passiflora

Common name: Passion flower


Passiflora
is an evergreen flowering climber, originating from the Andes in South America.

They are slightly tender, thus making them only suitable for sheltered areas.

They can be difficult to over winter because their roots are prone to rot if kept cold and wet, plus the top growth may be damaged/killed by frost.

However, in many cases new growth will grow from the base of the plant to regenerate the plant.

Mature plants require the support of wall fixed wires, trellis or pergolas, as they can grow to a height in excess of 6metres (20ft)

The flowers are about 75mm (3") in diameter and appear from late June through to October.

Some species will produce small yellow edible fruit after flowering.

Watering and Feeding:


Water plants growing under cover/indoors freely in spring and summer.

Keep the atmosphere humid by frequent damping down, and syringe the flowers to encourage the fruits to set.

In winter, keep the plants just moist.

Both indoor and outdoor plants will benefit from regular feeding with high potash liquid fertiliser during the growing season.

Propagation:

Week 11: Sow seeds in pots/trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 21°- 30°C (70°- 85°F).

Germination will take much longer at the lower end of these temperatures.

Prior to sowing and to aid germination,lightly abrade seeds with sandpaper and / or soak them in tepid water for 24 hours.

Subject to germination temperatures, germination may take anything from a month to 12 months.

Prick out the seedlings, when large enough to handle, 75mm (3") pots and pot on as necessary until the plants are in their final pots.

Week 14: take 75mm (3") long tip cuttings.

Alternatively, circa Week 30 take hardwood cuttings.

Insert the cuttings into pots containing equal parts (by volume) peat and sharp sand and root them at a minimum temperature of 16°C (60°F).

When rooted, pot the cuttings singly into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost, and pot on as necessary until the plants are in their final pots.

If planning on growing these cuttings outside, gradually harden them off prior to planting out.

Indoor culture:

Passifloras are a suitable subject for growing in containers in a greenhouse or conservatory.

Fill 250mm (10") pots/containers (minimum size) with potting compost, equivalent to John Innes potting compost No. 3 with added grit to improve drainage.

Train the plants up strings, wires or fan shaped trellis, and along horizontal wires fixed to the ceiling if required.

Give light shading to the glass in summer, and ventilate freely when the temperature exceeds 21°C (70°F).

Most species will survive at a winter temperature of 8°C(45°F)

Outdoor culture:

Week 12: If weather conditions allow, thin out overgrown plants from ground level, and trim lateral shoots back to 150mm (6") from the main stem.

Week 20: Prick out seedlings into 70mm (3") individual pots (potting on as necessary) and grow on until planting out time the following year.

Week 22: Plant out seedlings sown the previous year in a sheltered site in sun or partial shade, in ordinary, well drained dryish soil which warms up quickly in spring.

In heavy ground add some grit to the planting area to improve the drainage qualities of the soil

As the plant climb, tie in the young growths until the tendrils have taken hold.

Week 45> Apply a thick layer of organic material around the base of the plant/s to protect the root system from penetrating frosts.

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Legend states the Passion flower relates to Christ's Passion (Passing on);

It is said that it was Spanish missionaries when visiting South American countries used the Passion flower to illustrate the story of the crucifixion, it goes as follows;

The three stigmas look very much like nails, and represent the three nails that held Christ to the Cross.

There are five stamens, and these were used to help fix in people's minds that there were five wounds.

The rings of slender filaments in the corona, represents the crown of thorns.

The hand-like leaves and whippy tendrils were the hands and whips of those who scourged him.

There are five petals and five sepals these represent the apostles who were present at the time*.

*Peter and Judas did not attend the crucifixion.





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