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How to grow passion flowers – Passiflora Climbers
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Growing Passion flowers offers some of the most brightly coloured flowers and fruits. In sunny, sheltered areas in the UK or in a greenhouse for more tender varieties, you can let this evergreen climber spread and thrive.
Where to plant passion flowers
If you are growing one of the hardier varieties such as Passiflora caerulea outside, it is best to plant your passion flowers in an area where they get full sun or dappled shade. They need shelter against the cold, drying wind so if you have a wall that faces West, South, or South-West, that is best.
If you are growing your passion flowers in a greenhouse or conservatory and it faces South, offer some shade from direct sunlight so that the leaves don’t get scorched.
How to plant passion flowers
When planting in the ground the passion flowers tend to do better when their roots are constricted which is why they thrive most in path side borders or in containers. They will grow in most soils as long as its moderately fertile and well-drained.
If growing in pots we recommend using John Innes potting compost mixed with some horticultural grit for improved drainage.
Feeding and watering
You don’t need to feed passion flowers hardly at all as long as the soil is fairly fertile but they even seem to thrive in poorer soils too. The only case where we would recommend adding a general fertilizer to your passion flower is if it is somehow weak and doesn’t seem to be doing very well. Applying a general fertiliser like growmore is ideal or even tomato feed if grown in containers. These climbers are prolific growers and they don’t need any extra encouragement. In fact, if you do add too much fertiliser you’ll spend most of your time pruning the excess growth and it can even lead to lots of growth but at the expense of flowers.
Watering passion flowers in water
During the growing season, you should water regularly so that the flowers never dry out specially if grown in containers. In the winter you can cut back slightly to shorten any long shoots and allow the top of the soil to dry out ever so slightly before you water again.
Pruning and training
Training passion flowers
Passion flowers are self-clinging, tendril climbers but you would do well to utilize fan training. This leaves your passion flower in a more attractive design compared to allowing the plant to scramble on its own. After you have planted your passion flower, cut back all of the growing tips from the different shoots to encourage branching from the main base instead.
Tie the main shoots along a horizontal trellis or wall, fence, or any other object once that is done so that the flowering shoots are able to hang down. Once your plant is established you can shorten any overgrown shoots in the spring and remove any areas that have been damaged by the frost to just keep them looking tidy. Immediately after flowering, you can shorten all of the trailing flowers side shoots so that you are left with nothing but a few buds springing forth from the Mainframe work. This is a process you can repeat annually.
Hard pruning passion flowers
If your passion flower is overgrown or damaged by the frost you can renovate it in the spring by cutting the stems back to approximately 60cm (2ft) from the soil level. Where possible, cut all the way back to a side shoot or a bud. Your plant will respond positively by sending out the new, green shoots which you will have to train as well to form a permanent framework. Flowering will be reduced for about 1 or 2 years but after that, you will see the things are much improved with masses of flowers.
Passion flowers can be layered in the spring if you want to propagate will you can also take softwood cuttings in the spring or take semi-ripe cuttings in the summer which we would recommend.
There are a handful of truly beautiful varieties. Passiflora caerulea produces the quintessential white and blue flowers and is the most popular and one of the hardier evergreen varieties and probably the most common variety in the Uk.
Passiflora Amethyst offers large purple flowers with central filaments of purple, blue and white appear from July to September flowers, as they age, get deeper and richer in tone. This is a deciduous variety which is hardy and will grow well in a sheltered position in full sun or partial shade.
Passiflora Constance Elliot is white hardy variety but the blooms are heavily fragrant and grow well in in a sheltered position in the ground as well as containers.
Image credits – shutterstock.com