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Passion vine Plant
Passion flower is a vigorous perennial vine that has several native species in Florida, including the well-known native Passiflora incarnata, or maypop. With over 60 edible species, passion flower vine is grown as an ornamental and a fruit in Florida gardens. Its adaptability makes it one of the easiest vines to grow. Passiflora flowers come in a range of colors including white, blue, lavender, purple, red and maroon. Passiflora is a larval plant for the zebra longwing, gulf fritillary and Julia butterflies.
Choose a species or variety that suits your needs. The most popular species for fruit in Florida are P. edulis Sims (purple fruits), P. edulis f. flavicarpa Deg. (yellow fruits), and P. quadrangularis L. (giant granadilla). There are over 200 flowering species in a variety of colors. Learn each plant's growing habits, as some can become invasive or overcome their growing space very quickly.
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Find a site for your passion flower in full or near full sun. Plant vines 10 to 15 feet apart and away from any structure or plants you do not want overtaken by the vines. Passion flower vines will reach out several feet to latch on to a nearby shrub or tree.
Provide a trellis that is sturdy enough to support a large vine. Chain link fencing makes a good trellis for passion flower vines. If possible, orient your trellis north to south to provide the maximum amount of sunlight.
Plant your passion flower vine no deeper than the top of the rootball. Add compost or manure to the bottom of the hole to give it a good start if you like, but it is not needed, as passion vines adjust to many soil types easily. Water well every other day for two weeks, and once a week for the next month. Once established, passion vines do not need much supplemental watering.
Mulch the passion vine with your preferred mulch if desired, but passiflora are very drought resistant, and mulch is only needed for aesthetics and weed control.
Fertilize your plant with a balanced fertilizer to promote better fruiting, but little to no fertilizer is necessary for flowering.
Prune passion vines in late winter when they are not growing. Prune them back to well-budded stems that will continue growing vigorously during the growing season.
Watch for signs of nematode damage and Phytophthora and Fusarium fungal root rot, which include wilting and yellowing leaves. Purple passion fruit vines should be grafted onto yellow passion fruit rootstock for more resistance to nematodes and diseases. Look for stem lesions near the rootline, which are the beginning signs of a slow decline that can last five to seven years.
Passion vines root very easily from cuttings, and it is beneficial to have some rooted cuttings if your plant starts to show signs of decline.
Passion fruit is ripe when it is very shriveled and looks almost dried up.
Butterflies may completely denude your passion vine, but don't fear. It will come back, because that is what nature intended.
Some species of passiflora, including purple passion vine, or maypop, can become invasive by means of underground runners.
While passion vines have very few pests, stink bugs can poke holes into the fruit, but do not ruin the fruit by doing so.