Passion flower always evokes vivid emotions. Some flower growers find her strange inflorescences the most beautiful of all exotic pets, while others find one type of her intricate “order” flowers irritating. Passionflower needs a lot of space, and attention too. The difficult nature of this long-familiar “exotic” frightens off many, although in practice passionflower is usually pleasantly surprised. This plant is for fans of unusual indoor lianas who cannot take their eyes off its amazing flowering.
Passionflower blue (Passiflora caerulea)
Passionflower and its appearance “not for everyone”
Known in our country and throughout the world as passion flowers or passion flowers, passionflower became famous as one of the most original vines. We grow passionflower mainly as a tub garden plant, which is brought into the room for the winter. And in countries with milder climates, it often appears in the lists of the best garden vines, and not indoor crops.
But the beauty of passionflower flowers attracts many so much that they decide to move the charming liana into the interiors. They even begin to advertise it in many catalogs and flower companies as the best exotic for home conditions, although the capriciousness of passionflower is very far from such a status.
Even the specific name of passionflower clearly demonstrates its special status. True, she received it not at all because of her appearance and not at all because of passions. The name was given to her by the first missionaries, who considered the flowers of the plant to be a wonderful symbol of the suffering of Christ.
Passionflower causes a lot of emotions and conflicting reactions. But those who love this vine call it incomparable. The popular nicknames for passionflower include the name of the granadilla and the cavalry star.
In nature, passiflora are widely represented everywhere, except for Europe and Africa. These vines can boast the greatest variety in South America.
Botanical description of passionflower
Passiflora are powerful evergreen woody vines of a climbing type, the shoots of which, depending on the type and pruning, can be limited to either a modest 50 cm or stretch up to 3 m.In nature, plants are much larger, up to 50 m tall, but in indoor culture they all the same, at a much more modest size, they demonstrate their massiveness and power.
Passionflower is characterized by a thin, uniform foliage even in the lower part of the shoots. Three- or nine-lobed leaves with a heart-shaped outline sit on slender stalks and create a sense of airy elegance even when formed into an intricate trellis.
The beauty of the leaves is further emphasized by the glossy sheen of the surface and the rich, dark, grayish shade of green traditional for passionflower. During wintering, the plant partially sheds its leaves, but it regenerates well in spring.
It is no coincidence that the large flowers of passionflower are considered legendary. Bright not so much in color as in shape, they really deserve the title of passion flowers. The pointed petals, thanks to which the flowers acquire a resemblance to the stars, look impressive, but their true beauty can only be appreciated up close.
Contrasting staminodes, forming a flat circle in the corolla, growing together with the perianth lobes, give the plant a filigree beauty. A huge disc-shaped perianth with narrow lanceolate lobes, like a saucer, emphasizes the beauty of a long column, five star-shaped stamens, three stigmas diverging towards the side and a crown of long modified stamens, staminodes.
The contrasting color of the perianth and crown emphasizes the complex details of the structure and gives the flowers of passionflower a similarity to the orders and those very cavalry stars, turning passionflower into one of the most easily recognizable plants. Symmetry, abundance of details, perfection of the structure of passionflower flowers cannot be confused with any other indoor plants.
After flowering, the original fruits of oval passionflower are tied, resembling pomegranates in their internal structure, which served as the source of another nickname – granadilla. The fruits are edible, in Latin America they are used for desserts and drinks, and are considered a valuable fruit. Outwardly, they resemble feijoa and passion fruit.
The flowering period of passionflower traditionally coincides with the time spent in the fresh air – from June to September. Each flower opens for just one day, but they bloom relentlessly.
The color scheme of passionflower is interesting, but not so diverse. White, blue, red and purple – that’s all the color options. The colors are not presented in their pure form, but in unusual cold shades and variegated variations.
Types of indoor passionflower
The most common type of passionflower, which is mainly grown in room culture, is passionflower blue (Passiflora caerulea) Is a typical liana of the genus, which differs from its counterparts in stronger shoots and powerful growth. With a length of up to 2 m, it forms an elegant crown on supports due to the heart-shaped leaves sitting on long petioles, divided into 3 or 9 lobes. White, blue, purple flowers shine like stars against the background of dark glossy leaves.
Also noteworthy are three other greenhouse and indoor types of passionflower:
- Passionflower lemon (Passiflora citrina) Is a flexible, somewhat sloppy-looking vine with complex leaves and small yellow flowers.
- Passionflower grape-leaved (Passiflora vitifolia) – a plant that is easily recognizable by its large grape-like leaves.
- Passionflower amethyst (Passiflora amethystinaformerly known as passionflower violet (Passiflora violacea) Is a very elegant variety with bright three-lobed leaves and delicate flowers of mauve with a fuchsia shade.
Most of the Passiflora on sale are hybrid varieties of Passiflora Blue. They differ only in the color of the flowers and the size of the leaves, most often remaining unnamed. You can find many original plants with exotic, variegated, contrasting color variations that turn flowers into works of art.
Growing conditions for indoor passionflower
It is not easy to find a really comfortable place for passionflower in the rooms. This plant belongs to the extremely light-loving and in living quarters can only settle on window sills. And the requirements for a cool wintering do not simplify the selection of a place for it. Before starting a indoor passionflower, it is worth evaluating the conditions that can be provided to it.
Passifloras are easily formed, although not the most flexible vines. They cannot be grown in bush form, with overhanging, spreading shoots, in pots on high stands. But on the other hand, it can be used for walls or trellises, formed on supports. Passion flower is especially good on arches and round supports, but it looks good on other types of bases and frames as well.
Lighting and placement
For passionflower, you need to find really bright places. She is not afraid of the direct sun. In the summer at noon, the rays can be too scorching even for its leathery leaves, but usually in southern locations, the vine feels good.
Even the slightest shading leads to stretching of the plant, shrinking of leaves, lengthening of internodes and a corresponding deterioration in flowering. A plant needs good lighting all year round, even during the winter, regardless of whether passionflower combines indoor and garden culture or is grown only as a houseplant.
To place passionflower, you should not choose rooms and even north-facing balconies. On the southern balconies (but not on the southern windows), she will need to install diffuser screens only in the summer. Due to its sensitivity to exclusively natural light, it is impossible to grow this vine in the interior, and not on the windowsill. Passionflower is suitable for winter gardens.
Temperature control and ventilation
From spring to autumn, passionflower requires a warm, comfortable place with temperatures higher than + 21 ° C. With a drop in temperature, and with fluctuations in lighting, too, the plant may stop blooming. It is a plant that is demanding on environmental stability and thrives in living rooms or on warm days.
If passionflower combines garden and indoor culture, its dependence on the weather is more pronounced. On cloudy days, the vine does not open its flowers and demonstrates its “discontent” with all its appearance.
The key to a beautiful flowering of passionflower and the main condition for the success in growing this vine is, of course, a cool winter. Unlike some competitors, passionflower will not be content with a slight drop in air temperature: it needs a really contrasting cold winter with a temperature drop of at least 10 degrees. The optimal temperature for passionflower is considered to be from 6 to 8 degrees Celsius, it is better to limit the maximum values in winter to 12 degrees.
Fresh air access, high-quality, regular ventilation of rooms are important for this vine no less than the optimal temperature values. Passionflower cannot withstand stagnant air even in winter when kept in the cold.
Passionflower feels great outdoors. It can be moved to the garden for the summer or at least to the balcony. At the same time, it must be protected from drafts in rooms, especially during the period of cool wintering.
Passiflora care at home
Passionflower is not a plant for beginners. It requires accurate and abundant watering, correct care correction for the dormant period, frequent feeding and annual pruning. The vine must be constantly monitored, which does not simplify the growing process. Endurance and resistance to pests and diseases directly depend on the quality and scrupulousness of care.
Watering and air humidity
Passionflower is one of the most moisture-loving indoor vines. But the requirement to carry out abundant, frequent watering does not mean that the degree of drying of the substrate can be treated with negligence. Dampness for passionflower is detrimental to the same extent as for any indoor plant. The average frequency of watering during the period of active growth is once every 1 days. But for the dormant period, only very light soil moisture is maintained, and abundant watering is carried out with a frequency of 2 time in 1-8 days.
You need to be very careful when moving from a period of active growth to a period of rest and vice versa. Watering is reduced gradually, transferring the passionflower to an almost dry mode after taking it out into the cold. During the winter, passionflower is watered only to support the viability of the plant – with a minimum amount of water and very rarely. But they begin to resume watering only when the plant is moved into heat, trying to carry out frequent watering, but with a small amount of water, maintaining a light moisture content of the substrate until the start of rapid growth.
High air humidity for passionflower is preferable, and when grown only in rooms, it is mandatory. Even in winter, the plant should be sprayed more often, especially when central heating devices are in operation. Spraying in the evening helps to preserve the beauty of the leaves. Passionflower does not need to install humidifying devices.
For passionflower, only warm water is used for spraying and water of the same temperature as the air in the room or warmer by several degrees for irrigation. The water should not be hard.
Top dressing and composition of fertilizers
For an actively growing and large plant, especially during the flowering period, feeding plays a very important role. It is better to feed Passiflora according to the same scheme as garden tub or pot plants – once a week with a halved dose of fertilizers.
During the dormant period, feeding of passionflower is not carried out at all, stopping in October and resuming only in March. When grown without a period in the fresh air, foliar feeding is included in the care program during active growth with a frequency of 1 every 5-6 weeks.
For passionflower, use full mineral fertilizers or alternate mineral dressings with organic fertilizers. When combining different types of dressings, the frequency of procedures is increased up to 1 time in 10 days. Long-term fertilizers should not be used on this vine.
Pruning and shaping passion flower
From the second year after sowing or rooting, passiflora cuttings need mandatory formation. Traditionally, on this vine, pruning is carried out after the end of the dormant period, in early spring. This is one of the measures to stimulate active growth in late February or early March and an important guarantee of stimulating flowering.
Since the liana blooms on young twigs, the faded shoots are cut off from the plant. Pruning with passionflower is always carried out rather shortly on faded shoots. Leave about two-thirds of their length, cutting off by ¾ all shoots that are bare from below and too long. Pinch the tops of young twigs and be sure to remove dry, damaged, unproductive twigs. After trimming, it is advisable to process the slices.
Passion flower garter is also a mandatory measure. The point is not only that plants need to be directed upward for flowering, but also in flexible, climbing shoots that cannot be formed into a bushy shape. Passionflower is grown on large, powerful supports, shaped into figures, guided along trellises. The shoots are tied up with a soft twine, without strong contraction.
Transplant, containers and substrate
A transplant for this vine is carried out only when the root system has nowhere else to develop, and the roots appear in the drainage holes. The less often it is carried out, the better, because passionflower does not like changing containers too much. Traditionally, the plant is transplanted before being brought back into heat, in late February or early March. In the years when the transplant is not carried out, replace the top 2-3 centimeters of the soil with a fresh substrate.
For passionflower, the stability of the containers is very important. Large plants require the right choice of heavy, reliable, tipping pots. Liana is grown in large, spacious containers with a height exceeding the width, but not increasing their diameter too much compared to previous containers: an excess of space for root growth leads to a deterioration in vegetation and flowering.
Passiflora require unusual, dense, heavy earth mixtures. Adult passion flowers are often transplanted into simpler soil mixtures and potting substrates with clay content, in which the plants show more vigorous growth and flowering in the garden. But even in indoor culture, light soil is not the best choice.
For passionflower, you can use ready-made soil mixtures for tubs, begonias, citrus fruits, or make a soil mixture yourself on the basis of sod land. For this vine, slightly alkaline earth mixtures are needed.
When transplanting passionflower, a high drainage layer must be laid on the bottom of the container. Since the plant remains in the same container for a long time, adding charcoal to the soil avoids the risk of rot and mold growth.
When transplanting passionflower, attention should be paid to checking the condition of the roots around the perimeter of an undisturbed earthen coma. The plant is rolled over, trying to keep as much of the earthy coma as possible intact.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
The susceptibility to pests and diseases in passionflower directly depends on the growing conditions and care. If a plant suffers from temperature extremes, drafts, does not receive the necessary respite during the winter, it almost always becomes infected with a spider mite or felt. If the care of the plant meets the requirements, then this vine is one of the most persistent.
Reproduction of passionflower
Indoor, and garden passiflora propagate mainly vegetatively. The simplest and most convenient way is simple cuttings. For rooting, cut shoots with two or three leaf buds. Cuttings can be cut both in spring and throughout the summer, but, most often, twigs left over after early spring pruning are used.
Green and semi-lignified branches are suitable for rooting. Small short cuttings with one bud and leaf, about 6 cm long, or large long cuttings with three leaves are cut from strong shoots. The bottom cut should be 4-5 cm under the kidney.
Rooting is carried out according to the standard technology – under a hood, in a light substrate or sand, immersing the lower cut by 1-2 cm at a slight angle and maintaining the air temperature within 21-26 degrees. On average, the rooting of passionflower shoots takes about 1 month. You can plant cuttings after a couple of new leaves appear on them.
You can get passionflower in other ways. It is difficult to grow plants from seeds. They require scarification and two days of soaking. They are pressed into the substrate by 0,5 cm without covering with soil. They will not germinate without very good diffused lighting, an air temperature of about 25 degrees and close to 100% humidity. Sometimes varietal passion flowers are propagated by grafting.