What passion vines for Southern California???

jtj0026(USDA 10)May 3, 2009

Please help to identify passion vines other than edulis that would tolerate Southern California's dry heat yet still capable to yield edible fruits? I am in Cerritos near Los Angeles, Sunset zone 22 and USDA zone 10. Thanks for the pointers in advance.


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This is more of a guess than anything--hopefully someone growing these in Southern California will speak up. It's to bad you can't try Tacsonias (I think). The possibilities that come to mind are P. vitifolia (or the closely related P. coccinea/miniata) and something like P. phonecia (aka P. alata 'Ruby Glow') or a relative. Both of these require pollination by another clone or different species, and I think you'll have to do it by hand. I've read that P. caerulea works for P. phoenecia and it might work for P. vitifolia or coccinea/miniata--I don't know.

Patrick Worley, who has developed a big percentage of the most popular hybrid Passiflora (For starters, P. edulis 'Frederick', 'Red Rover' and 'Black Knight'), recommends his hybrid P. 'Elizabeth' pollinated by P. caerulea as a possibility. I'm waiting for mine to bloom, but I understand P. 'Elizabeth' is a beautiful flower and one of the best overall plants to grow. I've read elsewhere that it's fruit is marginal at best. Who knows. Since the flowers are supposed to be so nice it might be worth taking a chance on that. Worst case you end up with a very nice ornamental plant that does great in a pot.

I'm not sure if your climate is appropriate for P. maliformis. Michael Kartuz would be a good person to ask if nobody here says anything. I believe the fruit of that one is tasty enough that it's sold commercially.

I think your best best is to ask the place you are going to buy it from. Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach shouldn't be too far from you. Kartuz in Vista, a little more than an hour South would be a good place to try--Michael Kartuz is a really nice guy and has been selling great plants for many years. There are other nurseries in Vista and it makes a good day trip or a stop on the way to San Diego. For mail order I would contact Elizabeth Peters at Grassy Knoll Exotics--an incredibly nice and helpful person and she sells a huge number of different species and hybrids.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 10:23AM
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jtj0026(USDA 10)

Hi mark4321,

Thanks for the pointers. I've see a single p. vitifolia (or p. coccinea) under full sun in Fullerton Arboretum with no fruits so I guess it needs a clone to produce fruits. I acquired some cutting from a neighbor's p. edulis vines which produce lots of fruits (he has two clones). Are all p. edulis self fertile? I only have room for one vine. Thanks again for your help.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 2:05PM
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Last couple of years we have had very hot and dry summers
here in GA. But P/Incarnatas bloomed and survived and bore fruits. I don't think SO. CAL can be warmer than GA in the summer months, maybe less humidity. But if you planting it in your garden, occasional watering/rain should be enough.
It is self-polinating and does not need any clones to grow fruits. Almost every flower bears fruit.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 4:05AM
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Hi John,

All purple P. edulis (P. edulis f. edulis) should be self fertile, the yellow ones (P. edulis flavicarpa) are not--but I don't think people grow those in S. Cal. anyway. Hybrids between the two (Frederick, Red Rover, etc.--fruit is often red) tend to be in between. I would assume the commercially available ones don't need a pollinator, otherwise they would have trouble selling them.

If you mean you only have room in the ground to grow one plant, you may be able to grow a pollinator in a modest size pot. I have a couple P. caerulea hybrids (one which I know has infertile pollen, I'm not sure about the other one) that are pretty much always in bloom. One of my caerulea hybrids is a plant I bought last fall in a 4 inch pot--now it's in what's probably about a 2 gallon pot. Today it has 4 flowers open although it's still a pretty small plant. I believe P. caerulea itself is also very floriferous, although I don't grow it. Unless you know for sure it's OK, you would want to stick to P. caerulea and not a hybrid to use as a pollinator.

Regarding P. incarnata--don't take my word for this since I have neither grown it nor eaten the fruit: I seem to remember that although the taste is fine, the amount of seeds per fruit (and their associated arils--they part you want) tends not to be that high. Also I believe having a good pollinator around is key to getting fruit. I think the best pollinators are carpenter bees (the big, often huge, solid black bumblebees). I've actually read that carpenter bees are the obligate pollinator, although I'm not at all convinced this is true.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 5:32PM
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I just found an abstract to a paper about P. incarnata:

Passiflora incarnata (Passifloraceae): A new fruit crop

Author(s): McGuire CM
Source: ECONOMIC BOTANY Volume: 53 Issue: 2 Pages: 161-176 Published: APR-JUN 1999
Times Cited: 6 References: 138

Abstract: Passiflora incarnata bears flavorful fruits consumed by past and present peoples, and this plant deserves greater use as a fruit crop. Native to southeastern North America, it is an herbaceous perennial vine which flowers and fruits over much of the growing season. P. incarnata is self-incompatible and usually pollinated by carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.). Plants are functionally andromonoecious, and low resource status favors male flower production and thus reduces fruit set. The fruits contain many seeds, each surrounded by art aril holding edible juice, and this juice can be consumed fresh or used in processed products. Because it is a minor agricultural weed, P incarnata should not be introduced into regions where it may naturalize. Polyploid hybrids of P. incarnata and the subtropical and tropical passionfruit, P. edulis, are also potential temperate fruit crops. Future research on P. incarnata should evaluate intraspecific genetic variation and performance in cultivation.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 5:51PM
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