Passiflora Grafting

ethane(9 FL)June 21, 2009

Hey friends!

I've put together a tutorial for grafting passiflora, check it out here:

Why graft passiflora? There are some species of passiflora from the cool mountains of South America that can't survive higher temperatures. These same plants grafted onto heat resistant root stocks (like Passiflora caerulea) will grow and flower where they otherwise wouldn't survive. The converse may also be true; grafting of heat loving plants onto cool loving rootstocks may perform better in cooler, wetter environments.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

~Ethan Nielsen

Here is a link that might be useful: Grafting Passiflora Tutorial

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I have heard the suggestion that grafting cool growers (specifically Tacsonias) onto P. caerulea roots might improve the temperature tolerance as you describe, but I haven't read any actual accounts or seen any references (I haven't looked either). Could you provide a link or reference that describes someone's success with this? Are you trying this?


    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 7:19PM
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ethane(9 FL)

I don't know if you looked at my tutorial, but towards the end I've got a Passiflora manicata that I've grafted. (See below.)

I grafted this over a year ago. I live in Utah, where we have hot and dry summers which Passiflora manicata dislikes. The mother plant didn't die but it didn't grow either. The grafted plant (P. manicata on P. caerulea) soon surpassed the size of the mother plant. So yes, here's proof that a grafted tacsonia will grow and thrive in the heat of the desert. I don't know of any other documentation of this online, but it was in a Passiflora Society newsletter a couple of years ago.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:14PM
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Thanks a ton for this tutorial, Ethan. You just opened a big can of worms! We are going to try this tomorrow. I'll keep you posted as to our progress.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:40PM
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Very cool! Sorry, I should have looked at your tutorial first. Are you trying any of the more heat intolerant Tacsonias? (antioquiensis comes to mind, although of course there are many). My recollection is that manicata is one of the more heat tolerant species--is that correct?

Do you know if anyone is trying to graft P. membranacea onto something more temperature tolerant? Actually I don't have a good feel for how sensitive that species is, although I always see it lumped with the cool-growers. Would it have to be grafted onto another Decaloba? Presumably there must be something suitable.

The reason I ask about P. membranacea is that I will soon have to take a machete to mine--it's an incredibly vigorous grower. I just got it in April and I noticed yesterday the tallest point on my loquat tree is a couple P. membranacea tendrils. If you are ever looking for Tacsonia cuttings, email me--I have several that will need to be cut back--P. exoniensis x parritae (always available), P. tripartita var. mollissima, P. exoniensis and assuming it grows like the others, by Fall I'll have to hack back P. parritae x antioquiensis ('Mission Dolores').

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 1:39AM
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Thanks for the tutorial. This is definitely something that I might try later on. I was also wondering about something that Randy asked about. Can any variety be grafted onto say a caerulea or incarnata? I also wondered if it would be possible to graft several varieties onto a single rootstock with multiple large branches?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:02PM
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Wouldn't it be fun to have a species or hybrid and its pollinator (another clone or maybe even another species)on the same rootstock? Even in the cases where you would have to pollinate by hand it might be useful to not need two separate plants. And of course P. caerulea might serve both as a good rootstock and a pollinator for many things. Can it be done without P. caerulea outgrowing whatever is grafted?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 12:10AM
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ethane(9 FL)

As far as P. manicata being more heat tolerant species, I don't know, but my experience with it would confirm that.
When it comes to grafting Passiflora, there hasn't been a whole lot of experimenting done to my knowledge. So as far as grafting P. membranacea is concerned, I don't know that anyone has tried grafting it. The same goes for interspecies compatibility--there isn't much data (at least to my knowledge) as to what species are graft compatible. You could likely graft a decaloba onto a tacsonia or section passiflora, who knows? So, let's learn and experiment together! We will likely discover that certain species are more suitable for stocks than other species, and as with fruit trees, some stocks may give dwarfing characteristics, resistance to soil born diseases, or better performance for certain soil types. My main desire right now is to find one that doesn't sucker.
And yes Karyn, you can multi-graft several varieties on a single stock. I have a some caerulea plants that I trimmed down to three main branches and put a graft on each branch. I actually grafted the same thing on each branch, I was just trying to multiply my chances that one of them would take. Fortunately, they all took, and now I wish I would have grafted different clones onto the same plant for ease of self pollination. And Mark, you could graft in a branch as a pollinator, people often do it with fruit trees. Although, like you guessed, the root stock may outgrow the grafted material. So the only reason you may want to do this if you only had room for one plant. If you had the room, you'd probably be better off to have a separate plant act as pollinator.

Here is what I have grafted currently (in various states):
P. manicata on P. caerulea
P. manicata on P. edulis
P. manicata on P. foetida
P. mollissima on P. caerulea
P. mollissima on P. 'Temptation' hybrid
P. 'Zipacon' hybrid on P. 'Temptation' hybrid
P. pinnatistipula on P. 'Temptation' hybrid
P. actinia on P. 'Temptation' hybrid

I haven't had luck with P. incarnata as a root stock. I personally like stocks to be woodier, and incarnata tends to stay herbaceous and die back to the roots in the fall. Why go through the trouble grafting it and have it die back?


    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 2:02AM
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Dear Ethan,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, i am a passiflora newbie and like all new converts i am a little bit fanatical. i tried this spring some graftings - not only caerulea but other plants as well - ad of course nothing went i understood why! lots of gratitude.

PS. i live in a place with hardiness arround 7 (it means that in generall last 10 winters had a medium temperature of 5-0 farrenheit degrees. which passiflora can accomodate to this climate? ps: in our yard, we have different kinds of soils: from heavy - clay to medium and sandy. where is best to cultivate which?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 2:48PM
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Ethan, I saw a link to your flicker account from Myles website. Pretty cool stuff. I just started collecting passiflora and have been disappointed to learn some of the plants won't tolerate the heat here in Florida.

Are you still working on these, perhaps you can give us an update.........if you have the time.



    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:40PM
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ethane(9 FL)

Hi Darren,
Yes, I'm still working on Passiflora, but I haven't grafted a whole lot. I made another tutorial on peduncle grafting in Passiflora (for fruit rescue). I currently don't have any Tacsonia, but I've been working on developing cold tolerant fruiting Passiflora. Last season I spent some time mucking about the wilds of Florida looking for large fruiting varieties of P. incarnata (the largest fruit was around 75g). Plenty will still grow in Florida, so don't give up! Grafting isn't too hard, and if you want to grow some Tacsonia types, give it a shot. (Where are you located? I am in Gainesville, but will move near Winter Haven this summer.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Peduncle Grafting

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:02AM
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Hi Ethane,

I'm in Tarpon Springs, 2 hours south of you. Yes, I saw both tutorials, both are excellent!

That is exactly why I read your article with such interest, improving the heat tolerance of some of these exotics would be most interesting. The P. mollissima on P. caerulea is something I'd love to see take hold and try myself.

Of course I'd like to try some of the cool blooms that don't do well here like Passiflora exoniensis.

I am going to have to start working on some root stock now, so I can start trying some things out. Perhaps you can suggest some things to try so we are not duplicating efforts.

I just picked up my first rooted caerulea cutting in a trade, so it looks like I'll be needing more....

Thanks for the inspiration to give this a try.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:57AM
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