The common, or blue, passion flower grows in tropical conditions, clinging by tendrils to the trunks of jungle trees. Indoors it needs heat, the sun, and good ventilation in order to do well.The hand-like leaves are large and glossy dark green. The 3-in/8-cm-wide flowers, give the plant its name. They have five white petals, five white sepals, and fine purple-blue filaments surrounding prominent gold anthers.
Jesuit missionaries who discovered the plant in Brazil in the 18th century likened its white petals and sepals to the Ten Apostles who witnessed Christ’s crucifixion. The anthers were seen as the five wounds, the rays of the corona of filaments as His crown of thorns, and the three stigmas as the nails that pinned Him to the Cross.
FACT FILE: Passiflora Caerulea Passifloraceae Common Passion FLOWER
ORIGIN: Brazil to Argentina.
HEIGHT: 16V2ft/5m, but as a houseplant, it is frequently sold trained around a hoop.
POTTING MIX: Soil-based.REPOTTING: Repot in spring for 2 or 3 years, then top-dress instead; the plant flowers best if its roots are restricted.PROPAGATION: Take 7-in/18-cm tip cuttings in summer.
KEEPING PLANTS: Pruning does the plant no harm. Each spring, cut the stems of a young plant down to about 9in/23cm. Prune an older plant to keep it within bounds; cut side branches back to 3-4in/8-10cm.
PLANT CARE Passiflora caerulea Passifloraceae Common passion FLOWER
- Full sun; the plant will not flower if the light is not bright enough.
- A temperature of about 70°F/21°C in summer, 50°F/10°C in winter.
- Water freely in summer; in winter water just enough to prevent the soil drying out.
- Feed with standard liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks in summer.