There are some 500 species of passiflora or passion vine. The great majority are found in South America through to Mexico, Asia and New Guinea. Nine species are native to the U.S.; a further four are from Australia and one only is native to New Zealand. They're not a climber you see too often here and I don´t know why because they are truly gorgeous! I'm happy to say that we now have five different types in Viveros Florena, each with their own special delight!
Passiflora caerulea, blue passion vine: an extremely rapid scrambler/climber that will cover ground in a flash! The typical passion flowers are white fringed blue and very slightly scented. Fruits ripen to a golden yellow and are edible though not particularly tasty. Most passion vines like full sun positions but this one will grow well in half sun-half shade. Now endemic to Spain and can be found growing in the wild where it can scramble to 15m or more.
Passiflora edulis, edible passion vine/maracuyá: this South American is the passion vine to choose if you want fabulously flavoured fruits. The egg-sized fruits, which mature to deep purple and are just starting to wrinkle when they are ripe, have the best flavour and are rich in vitamin C. This is the passion vine that is commercially huge. The white flowers are banded with blue-purple and white fringing. Growing to about 10m.
Passiflora incarnata Purple Passion, purple passion vine: this vine is one of the hardiest of the passion vines, useful if you live in a cold spot. It is not only stunningly beautiful but scented too with a wonderful aroma of clove carnations. The lovely lilac flowers are enhanced by deeper purple fringing and are striking at 8cm across; butterflies adore them! The fruits are smallish, maybe 5cm long, and maturing to yellow. Leave them until they fall off into your hand and they will have a distinctive guava flavour – they are sometimes called May Pops. The vine will reach around 10m.
Passiflora quadrangularis, giant grenadilla: Arguably the vine with the most fantastical flowers, they are saucer-sized, exotic and dramatic in a rich burgundy red with deep purple fringing. Scented too, they exude an exotic aroma of ripe melon mixed with touches of jasmine. The fruits are large at about 30cm long and may need some support. They ripen to a golden colour and have a melon-like flavour which is much used commercially in fruit juices. It's a little tenderer than many of the other passion vines and needs a little more tender loving care, more water and protection from the cold, but the flowers make it entirely worthwhile. Give it a warm protected wall site and space; it's big, to about 15m.
Passiflora vitifolia, scarlet passion vine, grape-leaved passion vine: Just as dramatic as it sounds, this is one of the most ornamental passion vines. Its softly-scented, scarlet flowers are produced prolifically against a backdrop of deep velvet green leaves; the fruits are edible and attractively speckled though not greatly sought after for flavour, with a mild strawberry flavour. Height will range between 5m and up to 10m when well-suited.
Whichever tickles your fancy, most passion vines are easy to grow. They happily settle into even poor ground and become drought tolerant once well-established. Don´t mollycoddle them, they don't need it or like it! They are useful – as well as beautiful – because they are rapid growers and will quickly green over a white wall, can provide dense privacy or scramble over ground forming a green carpet. Their tendrils will grasp and twirl around almost anything, making the vines almost self-clinging. And, if you want to increase your plants, layering is the easiest way; simply peg a shoot down into the ground and it will root from a leaf bud joint. Bees and butterflies love their intricate flower shapes. Use their surreal flowers against brightly coloured walls or trellis to make a real conversation point – a Ziggy Stardust combo.
Passion vines don´t just have a pretty face! Extracts have long been recognised as an aid in calming the nerves and panic attacks, a relaxant and sleep inducer, when it is commonly used in conjunction with valerian. So sweet dreams, perhaps to plan where you can incorporate some passion vines into your life.
Please remember that as of 1st June we change to summer hours,
9am until 2pm Tuesday to Saturday inclusive.
Always closed on Sundays and Mondays and for the whole of August.
Viveros Florena – Probably the best little garden centre in Andalucía!
Keep checking our web page for latest news and exciting new stock arriving at the garden centre. Join our mailing list to keep in constant touch. Shop on-line with us for unusual plants, plug plants, scented roses, bulbs, coloured iris, organic products and my books.
October to May: 10 – 4,
Closed Sundays & Mondays.
June, July & September: 9 – 2
Closed Sundays & Mondays and August.
Viveros Florena, Crtra. Algarrobo/Cómpeta, km 2, Cómpeta, 29754, Málaga
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