Passiflora Passion flower – Seed sowing
The Passiflora incarnata seedlings above are a few days old. Having been stored in the fridge for a few months they came up 4 days after sowing. Amazing, as like many Passion flowers it can be very difficult to grow from seed. Passiflora seed germination is a complex matter about which little is known. For the beginner who does not want to wade through pages of text see below for the basics re seed germination.
Note that new hybrids must be grown from seed of the parental cross, which will be more variable than species seed, possibly with the plant taking more characteristics of the female flower & the male foliage. The best seedlings of hybrids can be named & then cuttings taken to perpetuate them. If you grow a plant from hybrid seed it may flower within a few months. Species seed may take up to 5-6 years although most will do it in two. Exceptions include P. incarnata, P. foetida & P. tarminiana which may also flower within months. Also some plants grown from seed may never flower. Existing hybrids will only grow true from cuttings.
Presoak dry seed for 48-72 hours in a small glass of water in a warm location e.g. sunny window cill. The viable Passion flower seed should all sink to the bottom of the glass. After soaking throw out any seed that are still floating as they are unlikely to be viable. Fresh seed will generally give far better germination rates and I just sow it straight from the fruit, complete with arils. (juicy sacs). Put the seed in a small ziplock bag as above. I use 8” x 4”. I then put in a little 50/50 mix of multi-purpose compost and perlite and lay the bags flat on a heat mat or heated propagator in a sunny window. The natural temperature drop at night may help for some seed.
Be patient..wait & hope..it may take a few days or even months! If anything comes up gently ease the seedling out of the bag and pot up again in a 50/50 mix one per pot as above. Keep it in a plastic bag to start with & gradually roll it down to expose it to the air over a week or so.. Then place somewhere sunny with good air circulation to begin hardening off. A good principle is to realise that the seed is as desperate as you for it to succeed…getting angry because they fail to germinate or the seedlings topple over will not help!