Passionflowers come in many varieties. While most passionflowers are climbing or prostrate vines, there are some that are classified as shrubs, annuals, perennials and trees. The best place to plant a passionflower is in moist but well-drained soil in a sunny spot, protected by a wall or trellis. Most, but not all, passionflowers produce edible fruits. Be sure to select a fruit-bearing variety if you want to add passion fruit to your garden meals. For successful fruiting, place it in a pollinator garden.
The unusual-looking flowers bloom from midsummer to early fall, but only last about a day. Depending on where they grow, passionflowers die back in winter in colder climates, while some varieties remain evergreen in warm areas. These plants are native to North America and grow from Delaware west to Missouri and south to Texas and Florida, as well as in Central and South America.
A passionflower has a wide, flat petal base with five or ten petals in a flat or reflexed circle. Passionflowers grow quickly and come back every year in zones 7-11. It’s best to plant them in spring or early fall while it’s still warm. The plant’s toxicity varies depending on the species, so check which plant you are growing if you have small children or pets.
Passionflowers may look like they come from the tropics, but they can actually be grown almost anywhere, even in much colder areas. In fact, you can even see these seemingly delicate passionflower vines growing along the side of the road – some species of passionflower can spread vigorously in warmer climates. The genus Passiflora is native to North and South America and includes more than 500 species, so the common name passionflower can actually describe many different plants.
Where hardy, passionflowers are usually trained on a trellis, fence or other vertical structure. In regions where they are not hardy, passion flower plants are often grown in pots and brought indoors for the winter.
Typically they should be grown in full sun to partial shade in average but well-drained soil. For many species, a sheltered location is recommended, for example on a garden wall, as these can be damaged by strong winds or harsh weather.