Named for the purpose it filled for early teachers of Christianity, the passion flower was an object lesson for the trinity thanks to its three distinct stigma. Sepals and petals on this fascinating flower can appear fringe like or succulent, in colors of red, purplish blue, yellow, white or even bi-color. Petals encircle a complex center containing the stigma, anthers and ovary on a helicopter like style, with a host of colorful filaments to complete it's exotic flair. Passiflora coccinea, a red variety, is hardy only in zones 9b and higher. Grow the purplish-blue Passiflora incarnata, or maypop, in zones 6 to 9 for better over winter success.
Choose a location in full sun or part shade. Full sun is recommended for best growth and flowering.
Prepare soil by adding 1 to 3 inches of peat or compost, tilling to a depth of 6 inches across the planting bed. This process enriches the soil and improves drainage, two important components of passion flower health and vitality.
Construct a trellis or climbing structure for the passion flower vine to attach tendrils as it grows upwards. Trees and fences will provide adequate support, as well as trellis or wire supports made from weather proof materials.
Water the passion flower vine well and keep soil moist. Do not over water; soggy soil will cause growth problems or root rot.
Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer per manufacturer instructions up to 3 times yearly during active growth to promote more blooms and growth. Apply to the ground and not directly on foliage or blooms.
Cut back Passiflora incarnata to the ground and cover with clean organic mulch, such as pine bark, in climate zones 6 to 9. The vine will return in the spring.
Prune in spring by pinching back new growth to cause more branching and even distribution of vine as it grows upward.