Passion Vine – Passion Flowers

June 3, 2015

Passion flowers also known as Passiflora are exotic looking tropical plants that can actually be grown in much milder areas. There are over 500 species of tropical passion flowers with sizes ranging from 1/2 inch to 6 inches across. They are naturally found from South America through Mexico, in eastern and southern Asia and New Guinea where they often grow in large masses in ditches and open fields. They are mostly vines with some being shrubs and a few being herbaceous and some producing edible fruits. These not of this world bloomers are bound to give your garden a dramatic effect. This little vine is a powerhouse of good characteristics that makes it worthy of its own little trellis or a spot along your fence — or around your mailbox post.

Passion vine flowers can be grown indoors and outdoors and are considered to be hardy in USDA zones 5-9 but they should be planted in a protected location and mulched heavily if severe cold threatens. Because they are vines the best place for growing passion flowers is along a trellis or fence. The tops will be killed off during winter but if you mulch deeply, your passion flower plant will return with new shoots in the spring. Passion Flowers are easy to grow; they need partial to full sun, and will adapt themselves to most well-drained soils.

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During the growing season, the soil should be kept evenly moist, to ensure good flowering and growth. In the early spring, apply a balanced fertilizer and then again six to eight weeks later. It should be planted early in early spring and during the growing season, water as needed. Passion vine flowers require an average amount of water about 1 – 1.5″ per week. During the fall in cold areas water lightly and sparingly during the first winter in warm areas if your climate is dry.

For passion vine flowers to be planted indoors need to be planted in a large urn, pot, barrel or container. Some types of passions vine flowers grow large and require enough room for the roots to expand for a number of years. Place your pot or container in an area where it will receive full day sun or light shade, more sunlight tends to produce more flowers. During winter place your planted plant in a cool garage for a little extra temperature protection. After planting water well, gently soak the soil and water as needed during active growth periods.

Sacred Symbolism of Passion Flower Power

Even the history of this striking flower is rich with reverence. Called “Espina de Cristo” (Christ’s thorns) by Spanish Christian missionaries who first discovered it in South America, each part of the flower holds symbolic meaning in recognition of the crucifixion story – the passion of the Christ. Five sepals and five petals refer to the ten faithful apostles (excluding Judas and Peter). Three stigma represent the three nails that held Christ to the cross, while five anthers represent his five sacred wounds. The tendrils of the flower are said to resemble the whips used in the flagellation, while the filaments, which can number in excess of a hundred depending on the flower, depict the crown of thorns. This powerful symbolism has led to the inclusion of the Passion Flower among the ornamentation of various churches, such as in stained glass window designs, altar frontals and lectern falls.

But the Passion Flower is sacred even outside the Christian world. In India, for example, the flower’s structure is interpreted according to the story of the five Pandava brothers, with the Divine Krishna at the center, opposed by the army of one hundred at the outside edges. The pigment of the blue Passion Flower is said to be associated with the color of Krishna’s aura.

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When buying passion flower plants remember to find out when your local nursery receives new shipment, look for clean undamaged foliage and inspect the plants for good root systems.  You can purchase passion flowers here:

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