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Passiflora update - The Horticult

Sun Seekers: Our Passiflora Vines Are Flowering and Fruiting

Happy summer, everyone! We spent the solstice hanging out with the peacocks and torch lilies at the LA Arboretum — tour to come.

Here in our yard, things are getting interesting in these last days of June Gloom. All three species of our Passiflora in bloom: P. ‘Victoria’ by the entrance, and P. caerulea and P. edulis over the hammock.

Here’s the story on passion flowers — and their odd, Sputnik-y, widely Reddit-ed appeal — that we posted last year. When we wrote it, we had just planted the Passiflora edulis in hopes of a harvest. Well, that vine has gone berserk over the last 15 months, from a modest three-foot-tall potted plant to a blanket of foliage reaching 15 feet high. With larger and lusher leaves, P. edulis sent our five-year-old (fruitless) P. caerulea headed south towards the gate in search of unobstructed sun, only to be thwarted by the newest addition to our garden, Passiflora x violacea ‘Victoria.’

Passiflora update - The Horticult

P. edulis takes up vertical real estate above the north end of the hammock. We built a 15-foot-tall by 10-foot-wide trellis for the vine to climb, which is now barely visible in front of the ficus tree. Stay tuned for a copper trellis DIY.

Passiflora update - The Horticult

The lush P. edulis (left) overpowers P. caerulea (right).

Passiflora update - The Horticult

P. caerulea meanders south past our west-facing nepenthes habitat (outdoor shower) after losing the battle for sun over the hammock to the P. edulis.

Passiflora update - The Horticult

Passiflora update - The Horticult

P. caerulea climbs the fence at top, roughly twenty feet from its stem. Passiflora x violacea ‘Victoria’ grows from below.

Passiflora update - The Horticult

Victoria passion flower (Passiflora x violacea ‘Victoria’) by the gate. It’s our newest passion flower plant that we picked up in May of this year at the La Jolla Secret Garden Tour plant sale. We are keeping this as a potted plant. This variety is a bit more tolerant to lower light levels and can grow in part sun.

Passiflora update - The Horticult

Back at P. edulis’s stem, now about one inch in diameter.

Passiflora update - The Horticult

P. edulis ‘Frederick.’ We planted it in March of 2014. During the first year it grew aggressively, but with very few flowers. Our local nursery suggested that we avoid using nitrogen-rich fertilizer, which can make the plant grow without flowering; three months ago, the plant started fruiting like mad.

Passiflora update - The Horticult

Now almost all the P. edulis flowers are producing fruit.

The bees were busy this spring and now the P. edulis fruits are here. They’re spectacular. The fruits are plump, green and dangle seductively from the trellis above our yard. Apparently, we’re supposed to wait for them to fall naturally from the vine rather than picking them? Then leave them to sit, shrivel and ripen to a rich purple color? Sounds agonizing.

Passiflora update - The Horticult

Passion flowers floating in Mezzo Mod Dish by Steel Life

Our passion flowers float in the Mezzo Mod Dish by Steel Life.

So we’re finding serenity by floating a few of the blooms in sleek containers of water.

We created this enchanting centerpiece using flowers from all three vines — plus their distinctive leaves — inside the Mezzo Mod Dish sent to us by Oregon-based Steel Life. Leggy, American made, and 10 inches in diameter, the dish is a perfectly sized tabletopper. Get it with drain hole if you’re using it as a planter, or without a drain hole if you’re using it to gather your favorite objects. It’s midcentury magic.

If a fruit conks us on the head while we’re gazing at these floating blossoms, we’ll consider it a sign of good luck.

—TH

Passion flowers floating in Mezzo Mod Dish by Steel Life

Passion flowers floating in Mezzo Mod Dish by Steel Life

Passiflora update - The Horticult