August 27, 2017

Annual Passion Flower (Passiflora gracilis)

In both Americas there exist over 500 species of Passion Flowers but only the one – Passiflora gracilis – is true annual. It is wild relative to well known tropical fruits as Passion Fruit (P. edulis) or Sweet Granadilla (P. ligularis).

It grows in wild state in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil and Ecuador. It is medium size, branched climber (to about 2-3m = 7-10 ft long if grown in temperate areas) with small (about 2,5 cm diameter), but very lovely flowers and oblong bright red fruits (inedible) which break when fully ripe and show orange flesh which coating black seeds. Leaves are shallowy tri-lobed and stem with characteristic, small but distinct cork outgrowths.
Growing: Plant is propagated by seeds. They geriminate usualy difficult and in small rate. Soaking them in GA3 solution (2000ppm by 24 hours) can realy help. They should be sown surface and keep warm and moist in light place and well drained soil substrate (in pots, in spring). Plant very good grows in small (2-3 liter) pots (and it is said that all Passion Flowers bloom better if kept in small pots than in open garden). It can be take outside after last frosts. It blooms all summer and creates ornamental fruits since August. It can be successful grown outside in zone 5/6 and warmer. As it is said to be annual it starts to blooming easily in 1-2 month of living and continues flowering in next a few months.

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