How do you grow Passiflora incarnata?

Passiflora incarnata is a ornamental climbing plant native to the southern United States. It natural habitats include thickets, riverbanks and unmowed pastures, usually on sandy soils however it will also be found growing alongside roadsides, and railroads. It is a drought tolerant species which will thrive in areas with plenty of available sunlight, although unlike other species within the genus it is not found in shady areas such as beneath forest canopies. So , how do you grow Passiflora incarnata?

It is a fast growing perennial with edible fruits, and is surprisingly one of the hardiest of all passiflora species making it an ideal choice for gardens with a northern European climate. It features glossy, three-lobed, dark green leaves, and under favourable conditions will grow to an approximate height of 2-4 metres with a width of 1-2 metres.

The most noticeable feature of Passiflora incarnata are its highly ornamental, fragrant flowers which are approximately 7 cm wide and come into bloom from July to September. Each flower has five bluish-white petals with a white and purple corona at its centre. Radiating out from the corona is a structure of fine appendages which create a ring between the petals and stamens although these can extend beyond the tips of the petals.

Once pollinated, fleshy egg-shaped, yellowish fruits appear about the size of a hens egg. They appear green at first, but then becomes yellow-orange as it ripens.The edible part of the fruit are the pulpy, jelly-coated seeds within, not the skin.

Grow Passiflora incarnata in most moist, well-drained garden soils in full sun to part shade. They are surprisingly drought tolerant once mature. Apply a loose mulch to the roots in the spring.

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