The Passion Flower: A Perfect Tropical Vine For Growing Indoors

By: Heather Rhoades

What better way to create the feeling of an indoor jungle than introducing the perfect tropical vine. Both exotic looking and easy to care for, the passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) is one of the most interesting flowering vines around. This tropical vine can be easily grown indoors to create a beautiful tropical setting. Keep reading to learn how to grow passion flower houseplants.

About the Passion Flower

The passion flower is a beautiful tropical-looking vine, though not native to tropical regions. In spite of its tropical appearance, the passion flower, also known as the Maypop because it pops out of the ground in May, is actually native to the southeastern United States and can be seen growing along roadsides, open fields, and even in some wooded areas.

The passion flower was named by early missionaries in the early 1500s, who believed parts of the plant symbolized features of the crucifixion of Christ. For instance, the flower’s five petals and five petal-like sepals were said to represent the ten apostles who remained faithful to Jesus throughout the Passion suffering and death. In addition, the flower’s circle of hair-like rays above its petals was thought to suggest the crown of thorns upon Christ’s head.

How to Grow Passion Flower Vine Houseplants

This tropical-like vine prefers indoor temperatures that remain between 55 to 65 F. (13 to 18 C.), but will tolerate slightly cooler conditions during winter months. While it enjoys lots of light, avoid any direct sun.

Keep the passion flower vine watered regularly while the plant is actively growing and be sure to provide it with adequate drainage. Once fall begins getting closer, you can allow the passion flower to dry out some between watering intervals but not completely. This plant also appreciates good ventilation when grown indoors.

Potted plants can be placed outside in a warm sheltered spot during the summer, if desired. They generally begin blooming in July and continue until frost outdoors, even longer inside. The vines can also grow up to 15 feet (4.5 m.) in a season. Provide a trellis or other suitable support system for this vine, and the passion flower will reward you with unique and beautiful purplish-blue flowers.

There are numerous species of Passiflora in other colors as well, such as yellow, and all species produce edible fruits, ranging from 1/2 inch (12.6 mm.) up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. These fruits also vary with shape and color depending on the species grown, from round to oblong and yellow to purple.

If you’re looking for something different to add an exotic presence to your home, look no further. The passion flower is certainly a good choice. It’s relatively carefree, quite exquisite in appearance, and the flowering vine is filled with a rich history.

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Read more about Passion Flower

To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

Find Your Planting Zone:

Many gardeners in the warmer regions of the country, and beyond, cannot help but to be passionate about the Passion Vine. The beautiful vine, with its exotic tendrils winding around trellises, makes a quick green screen that very soon has spectacular, purplish flowers.

The complex blooms of the Passion Flower Vine are said to represent The Passion of Christ the central stamen representing the cross, various parts representing the apostles, and more. Religious or not, this plant is spectacular in the garden or shading a porch or deck.

With good sunlight, heat, and humidity, the Passion Flower Vine is trainable around a frame of an indoor window or trellis. Try planting the Passion Vine in a pot outdoors in the summer as a patio accent – just make sure to prune heavily after flowering and bring indoors for the winter (if in zones 1-6). Feed the Passion Vine regularly before and during the flowering season. Repotting and pruning are usually done in late fall, before spring stimulates fresh new growth. The Passion Flower Vine is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through the tropics.

How to Grow Passion Vine From Fruit Seeds

Passion fruit vines are vigorous, fast-growing climbers that can grow 15 to 20 feet every year, although they usually live for 5 to 7 years. The passion fruit vine grows 2- to 3-inch-wide, greenish-white flowers that sprout purple or yellow fruits. The passion fruits are 1-½ to 3 inches wide, round or oval, with a smooth, waxy outer rind. Growing passion fruit vines from seed is not difficult. Although passion fruit seeds can be stored, aim for planting the seeds right after removing them from the fruit for a faster germination time of 10 to 20 days.

Remove the seeds from the passion fruit, place them into a strainer and rinse them well with cold water to remove all the fruit flesh.

Fill a seed tray with a 3-inch layer of all-purpose, well-draining potting soil. Make sure the seed tray has sufficient drainage holes in the bottom.

  • Passion fruit vines are vigorous, fast-growing climbers that can grow 15 to 20 feet every year, although they usually live for 5 to 7 years.
  • Remove the seeds from the passion fruit, place them into a strainer and rinse them well with cold water to remove all the fruit flesh.

Plant the passion fruit seeds ½- to 1-inch deep into the soil. Water the seed tray daily to keep it moist at all times, but ensure that the water drains freely from the soil. Place the seed tray in full to partial sunlight.

Transplant the strongest plants outdoors when they reach 10 inches in height. Select a planting site with good soil drainage, in full sun and next to a tall, sturdy fence or trellis.

Work organic compost or aged manure into the soil before transplanting the vine. Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch on the ground around the newly transplanted passion fruit vine.

Water the passion fruit vine deeply twice per week to supplement rainfall throughout the growing season. Water the vine daily during times of extreme dry heat.

Feed the passion vine a lower-nitrogen fertilizer, such as a 10-5-20 NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) fertilizer. Feed the passion fruit vine four times each year, at the beginning of the growing season, in early summer, in mid- to late summer and in mid- to late autumn. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for dosage.

Prune back vigorous new growth on the vine once each year and remove all weak growth. Prune in early spring if you have cooler winters, or right after the fruit harvest if you have warm winters.

  • Water the passion fruit vine deeply twice per week to supplement rainfall throughout the growing season.

The passion fruit vine does not tolerate freezing temperatures, so if your region receives some frosts during the winter, be sure to plant the vine in a location with some overhead protection.

Don’t plant passion vine in soil that is too acidic. Take a soil sample and test it with a pH test kit if you’re unsure about the soil quality. Add lime to the soil as needed if the soil pH is lower than 6.5 to 7.5.

Having a Passion Vine Throughout the Year

Firstly, you should grow your passion flower vine at a place that is having favorable conditions. Also, you need to make sure the vine is sheltered carefully to deal with any kind of climate.

Plant your passion flower vine near a building foundation, large rock, or concrete surface to help them absorb or spread heat. It helps to keep them warm.

The roots of the passion flower vine are adaptable to weather and survive strongly, but you need to make a shelter for the upper part in order to prevent the wind from affecting them.

How to help Passion Flower Vine survive through Winter

When winter comes, you shouldn’t fertilize your passion flower vine because it will have a negative impact on plant development once the climate becomes warmer.

Make sure to cover the area around the root of your passion flower vine. The colder the climate, the more you should mulch that area.

Shaping Passion Flower Vine

You can prune and shape your passion flower vine when winter comes. It keeps the vines healthy. During the winter season, the passion flower vine above will die but once it becomes warmer, it will bloom again.

Therefore, you can go ahead and complete your pruning to make the passion flower vine more beautiful.

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