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Contrary to what you may think by walking around your local plant retailer, Passiflora caerulea is not the hardiest passion flower plant that you can purchase. While it is indeed tough as old boots, the hardiest species of all is the gorgeous, but rarely seen Passiflora incarnata.
This of course means that you can impress your friends with a far fancier species of passionflower, but without the need to lift it for overwintering or to take cuttings to ensure viable stock for next year.
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Commonly known as the Maypop, it is a fast growing perennial vine with climbing or trailing stems. The fragrant flowers bloom from early June onward and are followed by fleshy, egg-shaped, edible fruits in July. These fruits will ripen to a yellowish colour in the autumn when they can either be eaten fresh off the vine or made into jam.
They are best grown in a sheltered site on a south or west facing wall. They are happy in any well drained garden soil, but in colder areas may need to some winter protection for the first year or two while the main stems thicken up.
Trellis or wires make the best support, and while Passiflora incarnata is self-supporting, young growths will appreciate being tied in, or at the very least 'directed'.
The plants were given the name Passion flower or Passion vine because the floral parts were said to represent aspects of the Christian crucifixion story, sometimes referred to as the Passion. The 10 petal-like parts represent Jesus's disciples, excluding Peter and Judas. The 5 stamens represent the wounds Jesus received, the knob-like stigmas the nails, and the fringe the crown of thorns.
The name Maypop comes from the hollow, yellow fruits that pop loudly when crushed.
For related articles click onto:
BUY PASSIFLORA INCARNATA SEEDS
HOW TO COLLECT AND PREPARE HARDY PASSION FLOWER SEED FOR SOWING
HOW TO GROW HARDY PASSION FLOWERS FROM SEED
HOW TO PROPAGATE PASSION FLOWERS FROM CUTTINGS
HOW TO GROW PASSION FLOWERS
PASSIFLORA X ALLARDII
PASSIFLORA x 'SILLY COW'
THE MAYPOP - Passiflora incarnata
WHAT IS THE WORLD'S HARDIEST PASSION FLOWER?