December 2002

Passionflower – Passiflora incarnata or nephrodes

Origin: Eastern North America and South America




This particular Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a native perennial vine found growing in sandy thickets, open fields and fence- rows. Like the other members in its family, it produces many beautiful aromatic flowers as well as edible fruit. Wildlife enjoy consuming the passion fruit because the yellow pulp is very sweet. So for me, passionflowers are a win-win proposition.

 Now if you're looking to add a splash of color to your home during the dreary winter months, one of the other species of Passionflower, which is native to tropical climates may be the ticket. One of the most free-flowering is Passiflora nephrodes. If given enough light, it will bloom all year. 


 The Passionflower is edible as well as medicinal. The fruit and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked in jams or jellies while the new leaves are tasty in salads. So if your pet decides to sample your plant, there should be no problems as long as you are using organics to care for it.

 Easily cultivated, the Passionflower can be propagated through root divisions or by seed. It requires a spot in full sun with well-drained soil which is somewhat sandy and slightly acidic.

 If growing indoors, allow the potting soil to dry slightly between waterings. For best results, fertilize in the spring and summer.  I would discontinue after August when the Passionflower has produced its light yellow-green fruit. Prune the vines periodically to keep them from getting too long. Keep the clippings you remove because they will make great cuttings to propagate.