FAQ Passiflora caerulea


Q Are Passion fruit edible & how do I know if they are ripe?

A Out of about 1500 species and hybrids perhaps 60 produce fruit that is both edible and tasty. Most fruit changes colour as it ripens, let it drop for most species, but for some it has to be gently removed. Note: Both the rind and pith of most Passion fruit, even widely sold edible ones, are toxic when unripe, so if in doubt don’t eat them. Far safer to buy from markets and shops as Internet IDs are often incorrect. The common passion flower P. caerulea has edible but insipid fruit. Read more about edible Passion fruit.

Q Are Passiflora used in alternative medicine?

A Yes. Passiflora incarnata is used widely. Note: I advise caution about preparing your own teas, tinctures etc as a number of sources misidentify other Passiflora as P. incarnata. Even if you have the correct plant there are interactions with some foods, drinks & prescription medications that could be dangerous. Read more about alternative medicine.

Q Are Passiflora plants dangerous to have in your garden?

A Many plants in our garden are toxic as a defence against animals eating them. Passiflora have a particular problem with butterflies laying eggs on them and the caterpillars can then defoliate or even kill the plant. To try to fend them off Passiflora produce cyanogenic glycosides which release cyanide when the foliage is damaged. Read more about toxicity.

Q Can you use Passiflora to get high?

A Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Note: Passiflora contains harmine (a weak MAO inhibitor) which when concentrated enough can be euphoric. Caution is advised as It can interact (strongly) with food, drink & prescription drugs, especially with antidepressants. Read more about psychoactive substances.

Q Can you identify this passion flower for me?

A See Passiflora ID

Q What are the best Passiflora to start with?

A If you are a beginner start with the most widely available plant, Passiflora caerulea (the common passion flower), as it is quite hardy & free flowering. If you want a larger more vigorous hardier plant try one of the Riverside® Hybrids, Passiflora ‘Damsel’s Delight’ or Passiflora ‘Snow Queen’ – HTA National Plant Show 2017 Shrubs and Climbers Gold Award winner. Check out our hybrid and species Gallery.

Q Passion flower pruning – When should I prune the Passiflora back?

A Leave the plant looking messy over winter & prune only after growth has restarted. Even then always leave some long straggly bits. When pruning never cut hard to the main stems. Never prune late in the season.

Q What pest problems do they get?

A See Pests in our plant info Menu..

Q How do I produce new hybrids?

A Producing hybrids of itself can be quite easy, but producing new distinct ones is much harder. Read more about how to create new hybrids.

Q How do I take cuttings?

A There are number of different techniques. Some root easily, others can take many weeks. Read more about how to root cuttings.

Q Can I dig up and move my passion flower?

A In some climates you can get away with it, but the roots are very fragile in most Passiflora so they may suffer suffer from transplant shock and die.

Q Why have I got no flowers?

A They may be too hot or have too much nitrogen, a high potassium feed usually helps. Read more about fertiliser.

Q How do I germinate the seed?

A  Some Passiflora seed can be really hard to germinate. Read more about how to germinate seed.

Q Where should I plant them?

A Put plants in South facing dry well drained beds close to a wall or fence. They like a sheltered location without too much wind. Young ones struggle over their first winter in cooler climates. Read more about hardiness.

Q What soil should I grow them in/do they need feeding?

A A good all purpose soil is half loam based mix with a quarter peat and a quarter of sharp sand to improve drainage. Read more about soil mixs.

Q How often should I water them?

A Daily when newly planted in the ground. Once established water heavily only once a week to encourage roots to go deep. If in doubt keep them slightly dry.