Help ID this Brazilian Passiflora/Passiflora as a Houseplant

pitch113(z7 NY)May 6, 2011


Can anyone help me ID this Passiflora I saw in the state of Par� in the Eastern Amazon of Brazil? Also, I'm thinking of growing passiflora as a houseplant while summering it outdoors - any advice on how well this could work? Any species lend themselves particularly well for this - maybe incarnata or caerulea since they're more cold hardy? When I grew p. caerulea outdoors (unsucessfully, as it was killed off during the first winter, probably because I didn't mulch it and it had a huge snow pile over it) I bought from Brushwood Nursery - is this a good source/does anyone have other places they'd recommend for small plants?

The following is advice I collected from reading online, any modifications or comments are appreciated: Best to train around a hoop, on netting, or on a trellis. Grow in a large, 1 gallon pot, constant moisture (but not soggy, set pot on a tray of wet pebbles), at least 4 hours daily sun from west or south exposure in non drafty location, spritz daily, fertilize once a month during growing season (spring or summer) with 20-20-20 diluted by half. Prune the stems back in early Spring or late winter being careful to avoid flower buds. Soil 1 part garden soil, 1 part coarse sand or perlite, 1 part moist peat or humus (leaf mold) and a light dusting of lime. Always use a pot with a hole. Repot ever two years, top dress yearly.



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It looks like a variety of edulis. I grow a number of passies that are kept in the greenhouse over the winter. I've also kept some in the house over the winter. I cut them back before moving them in as most get too big over the summer to be easily moved. I often keep them cut back over the winter because of space issues but some varieties bloom in the winter so you need to know when a particular vines' blooming period is.

I don't mist them at all during the growing season. They don't need constant moisture and I allow the soil to dry between waterings. Constant moisture can lead to root rot. It's plenty humid enough during the summer but added humidity while they are inside a heated home during the winter is a good idea, especially to help prevent infestations of spider mites and other sucking pests.

I give mine more then 4 hours of sunlight. Some get only direct am sun and others get full sun all day. During the winter I use grow lights. I don't fertilize them that often, maybe every 6 weeks or so, but do give them extra potassium during the growing season. I don't dilute the fertilizer. I also occasionally use Pro Tekt and Cal Mag Plus. I just use a high quality potting mix like Fafard or Happy Frog. Your passie will outgrow a 1 gallon pot in a short time. Mine actually grow the best when I sink the pots in the garden but it's a pain to lift them in the fall. All need some type of support to climb. It doesn't really matter what as long as you have something.

Lutea, incarnata and caerulea might make it inground over the winter but I'd take cuttings just in case. I've lost cold hardy passifloras during colder then average winters. I'm in MD, just outside of WDC, zone 7a.

One of the best nurseries for passion vines is Grassy Knoll. They have a great selection. BTW edulis is one of the easier varieties to keep going inside over the winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grassy Knoll

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 4:03PM
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pitch113(z7 NY)

Thanks for the advice, Karyn. When you say you sink them in the ground, do you mean you dig a hole for the pot and put the pot in the hole while the plant's outside during the growing season? Is this for warmth? Also, if I have the pots in a south facing window during the winter, would I still need grow lights? I see the nursery you linked largely sells hybrids - how would the hardiness be affected by the plants being hybridized?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 6:27PM
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I'll throw my $.02 in too.

While Elizabeth at Grassy Knoll is one of my favorite people, Brushwood, where you bought your plant is also a fantastic place to buy Passiflora, and Dan is significantly increasing his selection this year and in the future, so please don't discount him. He, along with Elizabeth, are the only two online nurseries I am comfortable buying from.

That being said, P. edulis, (as you have in your picture), may be well overwintering indoors as Karyn has stated, but will under non circumstances live outdoors all year for you. Being that it does not appear that you are concerned specifically with fruit production, I would personally stick with Stipulata supersection plants, (ie: caerulea and it's hybrids would be the easiest).

One thing to keep in mind when overwintering that many people neglect is to only give them enough water to prevent them from wilting. In summer, you can water most Passiflora freely, but consider the wild where most of them come from. It is warm and wet during summer, and though sometimes cold, it is the dry season in winter. Obviously, I am painting this with a broad brush that will hopefully cover a large percentage of what you may buy.

As for hybrids, will they be different than the species for hardiness? Absolutely! However, take into account what species are in the parentage, and you can sometimes gleen an insight into what the offspring will be like. To make things even better, though more complicated, there is a thing some call "hybrid vigor", which is when a hybrid of two species is far better in many ways than EITHER parent individually. It is an oddity that I have yet to discover a reason for, but is still true for many plants even outside of Passiflora.

I don't know if I have helped at all or simply confused the entire topic, but I would be happy to help if I can with more specific questions. Email me if you wish at for private help. Otherwise, respond here for all to see, and we can all work together to help each other figure out these incredible plants.

Best wishes,
Eric Wortman

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 4:17AM
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Eric pointed out one of the most important points when overwintering a plant indoors. DON'T OVERWATER!!! They require far less water while being over wintered. To further confuse you symptoms of overwatering can appear the same as underwatering, limp plants and yellowing foliage. It's safer to under then over water but I do mist the foliage because the lack of humidity promotes pest infestations.

Even in a sunny window over the winter I'd use a grow light. You don't get the full light spectrum. For a couple plants you don't need anything fancy, a single bulb will probably do. I use HID and HO fluorescents but I have several hundred plants that I winter over.

When I sink a passiflora I keep it in the pot but cover the bottom drainage holes and cut holes in the sides of the pot. This makes it easier to lift in the fall as the roots grow out the sides and I can take a sharp spade and slice most of the roots when I dig it up.

As for hybrid hardiness, genetics, etc you are getting above my head. I just grow them because I love them and know more then the average person but am in no way an expert. Eric is.

I allow my caeruleas and other cold hardy potted passies to go dormant in the garage or the unheated greenhouse so I don't have experience keeping those going over the winter. With the tender varieties I keep growing over the winter I'm not looking for blooms as much as just keeping them alive. Many are continually cut back due to space issues so it can take longer for blooms on some plants during the growing season. Decalobas are probably my most prolific and earliest bloomers of the plants that get cut back. Their blooms are usually small but they have some of the most interesting foliage of any of the passies.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 9:22AM
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I am flattered at the "expert" comment, but I am so far from it. "Obsessed" is likely a better word...

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 5:40PM
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pitch113(z7 NY)

I'm not sure how I missed the responses here a while back. I think it was because it was during finals period and I had to get back to work and lost track of this thread. Anyway, thanks for the responses! I just went a little crazy and bought a P. caerulea, P. lutea 'sapelo' and P. caerulea from Brushwood since they were having a sale. I think I may also be missing green as the leaves dissapear here in Ithaca. I've never ordered houseplants in the Fall, so I'm hoping this turns out okay. Ithaca, where I'm in school, is zone 6a now (used to be 5b) and I plan to keep them in a south facing window with no grow lights and one on my desk in studio, in a north facing window (is this crazy?). Do I need a growlight? Is watering approx. every two weeks and no fert in the fall/winter sound right?
Hope all's well,

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:20AM
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You can probably get away w/o a grow light but the plants will get kind of scraggly looking (etiolated) and the foliage kind of pale. Just get them back outside once it warms up. You might have to cut them back because natural sunlight, even filtered, will likely scorch the foliage but new foliage will grow in just fine. Even with grow lights my plants have to adjust to natural sunlight once they go back out in the spring. As for watering every 2 weeks sounds reasonable, just keep your eye on the plants. Under watering is better then over watering but keep in mind the symptoms of both look similar, yellowing foliage that drops. I just stick my finger a few inches into the soil. Don't go by the surface of the soil. Since they're still growing you can feed them but I'd do it infrequently and dilute the fertilizer. Also don't keep your plants too close to the windows. The glass gets really cold and it could be drafty. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:54AM
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pitch113(z7 NY)

Thanks, Karyn. So, the problem is I'm no longer receiving notifications. I'll try to fix this. Do you have any grow light recommendations (preferably ones that would look not too out of place in my living room)? Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:25PM
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Hi again!

It sounds like Karyn covered all the bases for you, but I would like to add that P. lutea in its normal habitat will die down to the ground in winter outdoors and come back from several suckers in spring, (just like P. incarnata, if you are familiar with that). Point is, if yours dies down, don't throw it away! Withhold water, or water extremely sparingly until it starts to warm up again. You should be able to grow this one outdoors 9 months of the year, even in your climate.

Also, they have these nifty little moisture checkers that you can buy for under $10 that have long probes. You can just shove it in your planters to check moisture once a week, and only water if they are on the very dry side while indoors. I use this method for the couple hundred we bring into the garage for winter under lamps.

Best of luck!
Eric Wortman

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:15AM
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pitch113(z7 NY)

Thanks, Eric. You wouldn't happen to have a link for the moisture checkers? And what do you think of the grow light/non grow light in the living room (and would you have a source for buying lights)? I'm excited to be receiving these passion flowers, as it's already cold, dreary and gray with hints of snow flurries in Ithaca, but would hate to see them fail before we hit Spring. Finally receiving replies again by email!

Don't know why the picture went away, but here's the passion flower I saw in Brazil that Karyn identified as passiflora edulis:

Here's an invasive passiflora tarminiana I saw in Kuai'i, Hawai'i:

Here's the original passilfora caerulea I planted in 2003, in September and then early December, after a snowstorm. As you can see it still has leaves in December, but the winter must have killed off the roots, as it didn't come back the next Spring:

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Below is a link for the type of moisture meter I was talking about: The link won't probably be good for long, though.

As for lights, I am using a couple of 400 watt high output lights with parabolic reflectors - I think they would be unsightly in your kitchen, not to mention you'd be blinded! Sorry... I don't have any great ideas for indoor lights. I suggest you ask the Facebook Passiflora group, which has over 1200 members:


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:29PM
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pitch113(z7 NY)

Thanks, Eric. Just bought a moisture meter. Requested to join the Facebook group, I'll post there when I'm let in and post here when I have updates on the passion flowers I receive.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:13PM
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Here's an excellent grow light guide. I'm not saying to buy from this company but it's the best comparison of grow lights that I've seen. I have bought from them and several other companies.

Here is a link that might be useful: grow light guide

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:58AM
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