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How to grow Passion Flower plants

Passiflora (or Passion Flowers) look like they belong in the tropical house at the botanical gardens, but they’re actually really easy to grow. Find out how to plant, care for and prune Passion Flower plants in this short growing guide to a truly spectacular climber.

Choosing your Passion Flower plant

Some passion flowers are hardy down to as much as -15 degrees and can be grown outdoors, while more tender varieties should only be grown in a greenhouse or conservatory. Those suitable for outdoors include Passiflorae caerulea, rasimosa (Red Passion Flower), Constance Elliot, Lavender Lady and Amethyst. Indoor varieties include Passiflorae vitifolia, violacea, alata and ligularis. Edible passion flower (passiflora edulis) needs warm conditions to fruit, so needs to be grown under glass.

Most common Passion Flower plant questions

When can I plant Passion Flowers?

The best time to plant passion flowers outdoors is March to May (after the last frost) or October to November when the soil is still warm and there is plenty of rain. If you’re planting them indoors, any time of year is fine.

Where should I plant Passion Flowers?

Hardy passiflora can handle temperatures down to -15 degrees, so you can safely grow them indoors or out. Plant them in the ground or in a large container in a sheltered spot where they won’t get blown around by the wind - a south or west facing wall is best. If planting in a container, water the plant regularly until it’s established. All Passiflora plants will need a structure to twine around (such as a trellis, arch, pergola or wires) but as they’re self-clinging, they won’t need tying in.

What kind of soil do Passion Flowers need?

Any fertile, well-drained soil is suitable - if your soil is clay or very heavy, you should mix in some compost for nutrition and a bit of fine gravel for drainage. In containers, use a general purpose compost with some fine grit or perlite mixed in.

How much sun do Passion Flowers need?

For the best flower production, your passiflora should be grown in full sun (at least 6 hours of sunlight per day in spring and summer) but it will be fine with a little more shade, especially in the afternoons. If you’re growing in a conservatory or greenhouse, be careful not to expose the plant to too much direct heat which may scorch the leaves.

How do you plant Passion Flowers? 

When you plant your passion flower, angle it slightly towards your trellis, obelisk or wall so that it rests against the support. Firm it in well and give it a good water.

How far apart should I plant Passion Flowers?

Passiflora won’t need much space - the general advice is to plant them a metre apart as this is how much they spread, but they do look lovely when planted closer and twined together, scrambling through another climbing plant such as a honeysuckle or rose, or climbing up a tree.

How much water do Passion Flowers need?

You should water your passiflora regularly when it is newly planted and after that, once a week throughout the summer. You should reduce this from autumn onwards for outdoor plants, but if your plant is in a container, check regularly to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.

Do Passion Flowers need feeding?

Not usually. If your plant isn’t flowering as much as it should, you can fix this by feeding it a general purpose fertiliser in spring. Plants in containers should be fed with a liquid feed every four to six weeks from May to October.

Do Passion Flower plants need pruning?

Passion flowers don’t need a lot of pruning - just trim out any dead, damaged or diseased parts. You can also cut the plant back after flowering to keep it neat if you wish, cutting back to a healthy bud.

Are Passion Flowers affected by pests or diseases?

Passion flowers are not usually affected by any diseases. They can however be targeted by insects - for outdoor plants this means aphids and for indoor plants, glasshouse red spider mite and whitefly. All of these sap-sucking insects can be dealt with by careful checking and removing with a damp cloth whenever they’re spotted. To make it harder for them to cling to the plants, you can spray them with a mixture of water and vegetable oil or soap.

Passion Flower FAQ

How fast does Passion Flower grow? 

Passiflora is a vigorous and fast growing climber which will cover a wall or arch in no time. They typically grow to around 10m tall within five years although those grown in containers may not be quite so vigorous.

Does Passion Flower come back every year? 

Passiflora is an evergreen perennial plant, so it will return every year. Occasionally some of the upper growth may die off in a very cold winter, but the plant will grow new stems in the spring. They flower from July through to September and sometimes later into the autumn.

Can you eat the fruit of Passion Flowers? 

All passion flowers bear fruit, but if you want to eat them, you’ll need to choose Passiflora edulis, which produces the delicious fruit you see in shops (for £££). This variety needs to be grown in temperatures of 10 degrees or above. The other varieties produce small edible fruit which are attractive but not especially good to eat.