Depending on which of the 500 or so species of passion flower it is, the plants have large three lobed serrated leaves with beautifully intricate flowers that can be 2 to 3 inches across. It is commonly found growing in sandy thickets and open fields, roadsides and fence rows.
Most Passiflora are vines thought to have originated in either the cooler mountains or the much hotter tropical rain forest. To survive and reproduce in these very competitive environments many species grow quickly using their passion flower vine to climb up trees to reach the forest canopy and full sun. The trailing stems then begin to flower at each leaf junction, attracting pollinators such as bees, moths, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds. Nearly always in bloom, Passiflora alatocaerulea is a good plant for bright window or greenhouse.
Its lack of tolerance for cooler temperatures is no doubt a limiting factor for wide acceptance of this wonderful, versatile plant. The more I study it, the higher it has moved on my list of “must have” herbs for each new spring. It is becoming more widely available, so with a bit of patience and determination one can always locate a reliable Passion Flower herb supplier. I am sure that those prospects will steadily improve as Passion Flower gains in popularity.
Passion Flower, or Passiflora, is a genus of about 500 species of plants in the Passifloraceae family, which consist mostly of vines. Some are shrubs and a few species are herbaceous.
A Passion Flower can grow as much as three inches a day so a trellis must be provided. Given the opportunity it will climb to the eaves of your home in just a few short weeks! A blooming Passion Flower is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser in any surrounding.
USDA Plant Growing Zones: 6 to 11
A well-drained, sandy soil which is slightly acidic. To grow the herb in pots, plant it in a mix of a good peat moss-based potting soil with 30%-50% sand or small gravel. Remember to keep it watered but not soggy.
Passionflower grown from seed: The seeds can take up to a year to germinate. Some herb growers have found that soaking the seed in an acid solution before planting dramatically improves and speeds up germination. The acid can be citrus juice, vinegar and water, or even bleach and water.
Wild Passion Flower transplants well.
Passionflower Propagation by cuttings: To propagate passionflower stem cuttings, first dip the tip of the cutting in a rooting hormone, then carefully insert the cutting a few inches deep in a damp rooting medium such as fine vermiculite. Keep the cuttings out of direct sunlight until fresh growth is seen. Throughout the following week gradually move them to a sunny location.
Propagation of Passionflower by layering: Passionflower propagation by layering is the most reliable method of reproduction. Remove a small section of leaves from a select vine tendril. Bury the mid-section of the vine lightly in soil and possibly weight it down so it will remain secure in position. In a few weeks when the buried section of the stem has produced roots, snip it loose from the parent plant and move to a fresh pot or garden location.
Harvest Passionflower, dry and store the stems and leaves as you would with any other herb.
Passion Flower is a medicinal herb as well as edible herb. The striking 2-3 inch flowers are a religious symbol to some, but to others the enlarged, erect reproductive organs are a visual aphrodisiac! The dried herb is often exported from America to Europe for use as an alternative medicine.
There is scientific evidence of the medicinal properties of Passion flower. Recent studies have pointed to the flavonoids in the Passion Flower as the primary property responsible for its relaxing and anxiety-reducing effects. Some Passion Flower plants are being studied and show promise in fighting Parkinson's disease, cancer, HIV, leukemia and other diseases.
The leaves and stems of Passionflower are considered medicinal and are used as antispasmodic, astringent, diaphoretic, hypnotic, narcotic, sedative and vasodilator treatments. The Passion Flower is used as an alternative medicine to treat insomnia, nervous tension, irritability, neuralgia, irritable bowel syndrome and premenstrual tension.
An infusion of the Passion Flower plant is said to depress the motor nerves of the spinal cord, making it very valuable in treating back pain. The infusion is also a sedative, slightly reducing blood pressure and increasing the respiratory rate. The herb contains alkaloids and flavonoids, which are effective as a non-addictive sedative that do not cause drowsiness. It is of great service in epilepsy.
The Passion Flower has a long history of use among Native Americans, in both North and Central America. It is used to treat insomnia, hysteria and epilepsy, and is valued for its painkilling properties. The plant is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It has been found to contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids, known as *MAOI's (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors) with anti-depressant properties.
The Passion Flower containing MAOI’s has been used by some daring souls to enhance the effects of mind-altering drugs.
Its lack of tolerance for cooler temperatures is no doubt a limiting factor for wide acceptance of this wonderful, versatile plant. The more I study it, the higher it has moved on my list of “must have” herbs for each new spring. It is not widely available but with patience one can always locate are reliable plant supplier. I am sure that those prospects will steadily improve as Passion Flower gains in popularity.
Passion Flower sounds too good to be true, considering its beauty, ease of cultivation, growing commercial value, culinary possibilities and medicinal properties. This summer I am growing my first two Passiflora. The first as a companion in the greenhouse and the other, when the snow melts, will accompany us on the patio. Both are doing well, growing aggressively towards the roof of the green house. Outside in the spring they will produce a new bud and beautiful flower most every other day!
Do yourself a favor and look into growing your own Passionflower today!