New to passifloras, a bunch of questions

tracydr(9b)April 29, 2012

Could somebody please explain the requirements for fertilizing the flowers? I'm confused on the non-self-fertile issue. I'm considering ordering 6-8 plants from Grassy Knoll. Do I need different types of plants, same exact flowers,completely different varieties or same types but different varieties to get fertilization? Some of the Grassy Knoll listings have the scientific names but not all. Can they all be cross-pollinated?

Do I need to buy at least two of each type in order to get fertilized fruit, unless I don't care?

Does p.incarta have decent fruit or are they insipid? Does the grenadilla tolerate heat? How about p. Jennifer grace, I love this flower but can't find any information about hot or cold tolerance.

I would love to have at least a couple of vines that produce good fruit, as I fell in love with passion fruit for fresh eating on a trip to Africa. Don't even mind the seeds. I prefer the purple fruit.

Any recommended varieties for zone 9b low desert? I have partial or bright shade areas, full sun areas but there's nothing I can do about the sometimes nearly 120 degrees dry heat that we get with high nighttime temps in July and August. I do have irrigation and can also water by hand as needed. I know a lot of people grow Frederick, although it does get frozen sometimes when we have severe freezes.

I will plant in-ground those plants suited for my zone and keep in pots the more tender varieties so that I can cover or bring them indoors as needed.

How big of pot do I need? How do you move vines, do you cut them back at the end of the season?

Are any of the vines considered invasive in a desert environment? With every two weeks irrigation? If so, I'll probably pot all of them.

Finally, are there any varieties particularly attractive to hummingbirds? I'm trying to make a sort of hummingbird oasis.

Do all passiflowers bloom at the same time? Or can I plant some that bloom at different times?

How do they do with organic fertilizers?

I have a large concrete wall that I intend to put wires on for trellising, is this okay? I'll probably add a couple of winter blooming vines for contrast, I assume with enough space and air flow that this is fine?

What pests bother passiflora besides caterpillars?

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    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:20PM
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The link Emmet posted is very informative as is the passiflora group on Facebook.

As for cross pollination passifloras are one of the most confusing. A general rule of thumb is that decalobas will cross with other decalobas, tasconias with tasconias, etc but some groups will cross with others. Then there's the issue of specific plants being either partially or completely sterile. You could also email Elizabeth (owner of Grassy Knoll) and she should be able to help you.

As for taste I don't think incarnata is one of the better varieties but it's not terrible. Tasconias don't tolerate high heat well and do best in a climate like the San Francisco Bay region.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 8:44AM
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How do I know which ones are tasconias, decalobias, etc?
For example, to start small, I ordered Margeret, Lady Lavender and p.cearula. I couldn't find any Fredericks or Lillikoi but I'm still looking for them.
Thanks for the great link!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:47AM
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Your first questions regarding pollination have incredibly complex answers and I can't point you to a single good source. It would be nice if someone (I'm not volunteering) would put together a table or list of who pollinates what. The problem is, one really needs to approach this on a species by species basis. There are a few self-fertile species--P. edulis f. edulis is one. There are some that have only ever (so far) formed seeds by pollination from a genetically distinct member of the same species. And then there are some species that can be cross-pollinated by other species. Those cross-pollinators generally need to be somewhat closely related, but this depends entirely on the species or hybrid in question.

If you pollinate using a plant of the same species, you generally need a different clone, not just a different plant. They need to be genetically distinct--if both were cutting derived (even 50 years ago) ultimately from the same plant, then for pollination purposes it's as if they were the same. Not all will pollinate via insects, birds, etc. and you may need to pollinate manually.

Starting with Passiflora edulis: P. edulis f. edulis (purple fruits) is fully self-fertile. P. edulis flavicarpa (yellow fruits) requires a different clone (any other P. edulis--including another flavicarpa) to form fruit. There are a number of other species (P. caerulea, P. incarnata, guessing) that have successfully pollinated P. edulis flavicarpa. Will one get decent fruit that way (full of seeds/high pollination rate)? I don't know and perhaps someone here knows. I doubt that P. edulis flavicarpa would grow well for you. Varieties such as P. edulis 'Frederick' have contributions from both the yellow and purple forms. I've always read that P. edulis 'Frederick' is partially self-fertile. In practice I think most people don't have problems getting it to fruit (assuming it blooms). Does 'Frederick' fruit even when it's very hot? I don't know, maybe someone does.

Your climate is so extreme that you should really rely on the experiences of other people in your climate or other places with extreme heat. There are many plants which even in California can only be grown fairly close to the coast, so there are a few things you can rule out immediately. I think you can rule out most (probably all) Tacsonias, for example. Additionally, P. ligularis as far as I'm aware, has fruited in a few areas of coastal Southern California and certain elevations in Hawaii. You'll notice many ads on places like Ebay for P. ligularis seeds--it's eaten in certain parts of the world, so seeds are a byproduct. There are almost no posts in Garden forums about people blooming and/or fruiting P. ligularis plants.

If someone here lives in an area with very hot summers, a list of what thrives and what dies would be useful. Info from people in areas with hot, but less extreme summers might be of some help. Elizabeth Peters/Grassy Knoll will also have some idea. I did find a link that might be relevant--about growing Passifloras in Phoenix. It got rejected due to some problem with spam, but you can find it by searching "phoenix passiflora" without the quotes.

There are a few species that may be particularly suited to your climate. I'm not familiar with these, but off the top of my head plants like P. mexicana, P. arida and certain varieties of P. foetida, maybe. No doubt someone on this forum knows something about these plants.

The Grassy Knoll site lists plants as being Tacsonias, Decalobas, etc. Passiflora books (Ulmer, et al.) should have the same info. Being in the same group is by no means a guarantee that they will pollinate one another. However, if they are not then they will be difficult or impossible. One way to get info is to look at lists of hybrids. If a hybrid has been made, then they are compatible. However, even here all it takes is one seed, not a full fruit...

Your first choices sound like reasonable things to try. Afternoon shade, of course, might make a huge difference. If Elizabeth is out of 'Frederick' she might have other appropriate P. edulis varieties. Possibly hybrids with P. edulis flavicarpa in their background might be able to tolerate more heat (?), and there are several others besides Frederick that are like this.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 3:15PM
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Mark, this is so helpful!
Interestingly, I did find some p.feotida native to AZ at a nursery today. I decided not to buy them, as I'd like to try the fancier passies that I like, first. I may go back and purchase a couple, just for ineterest sake.
I am able to provide a somewhat different microclimate, since I have huge trees and flood irrigation (every other week). I will of course water more often as needed.
I'd really like to find whatever purple passion fruit is sold commercially in Kenya for eating. I loved them when I was in Africa. I'm assuming it's similar to Frederick, which is why I've been trying to find this variety.
I didn't notice the tasconias and decalobias classifications on Grassy Knolls website but I'll go back and study again. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 6:38PM
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The 3 varieties you purchased have nice blooms and should grow well in your climate but none produce edible fruit and Lady Margaret is either completely or partially sterile. The purple fruit you had in Africa might very well be an edulis variety which is what you often find for sale in markets in the US. Do you know anyone in Kenya? You could have them mail you some seed.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 8:03AM
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    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 10:05PM
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My vines arrived! I ordered off Amazon and they arrived in beautiful shape. I think I'll plant in pots until I know how much sun they tolerate. That way, I can move them around until I find the perfect spot.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Glad to hear it. Hope they do well for you. Sounds like you are well on your way to a passiflora obsession. lol

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Yes, I'm definitely getting passiflora obsessed. I just hope they do well in AZ. Otherwise, I'll have to look into the AZ natives, which aren't quite as nice.
Still hunting for purple passion fruit.
How big of trellises and pots should I plan on? I need to plant these vines this weekend and will go buy some pots today.
I'll eventually put some in the ground along my fence but want to be able to move these around, at least until I know where they like to live as far as sun amounts during our wicked summer heat.
Pots will also give me the option of bringing the more tender varieties in the house or at least under the porch roof during light freezes, as well.
Anything special I need to do when potting up? They look like such delicate little vines.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 3:47PM
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Is there something wrong with the pots they arrived in? I'd only transplant if they are rootbound, bad soil or if the pots are damaged. If you need to repot just go a couple inches bigger and if possible wait about a week to allow the plants to adjust to their new location. Since the plastic nursey pots are unattractive you could set the pots inside of a decorative container. Make sure the container has drainage. Good luck with your new passies.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 8:07AM
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The pots they came in were only 3 inches or less. I've repotted them and they seem to be doing fine. I used four gallon pots. Giving them fish/kelp emulsion about once a week for fertilizer. Boy, if I miss the fertilizer, I can sure tell!
The El Capitans are flowering, the others are much slower growing but looking healthy.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Oops, sorry, was talking about my hibiscus on the passifloras forum. But, the passifloras came in itty bitty pots as well. I've repotted them to big, five gallon pots. They are growing like mad.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 12:04AM
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Was at a local Lowes two days ago and came across two VERY healthy passies that I didn't already own, so naturally I bought them. One of them was Passiflora edulis "Possum Purple.". It's supposedly a very tasty fruit and just may be the purple fruit you're looking for??


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 1:50AM
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Which Lowes? My four ( 3 varieties) are doing great in the heat but I really want some purple p.edulis.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 9:47AM
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I'm down here in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Out of the 5 Lowes that we have down here only one carried the P. edulis varieties-- in Brownsville, Tx. A couple other stores had P. incarnata. It was a real shock to find P. edulis down here... I've never seen them around these parts. So I bought two of the P. edulis "Possum Purple" and one P. edulis "Sweet Sunrise." They didn't have many in stock but boyyyy were they large & healthy!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 1:07PM
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