Close up of two passion flowers growing on a vine
(Image credit: Santje09)

There are over 400 species of tropical passion flowers (Passiflora spp.) with sizes ranging from ½ inch to 6 inches (1.5-15 cm.) across. They are found naturally from South America through Mexico. Early missionaries to these regions used the distinctly colored patterns of the flower parts to teach about the passion of Christ; hence the name. Read on to learn more.

Tips for Passion Flower Care

Their vibrant colors and heady fragrance make the passion flower a welcome addition to any garden. Unfortunately, because of its origins, most species of passion flower can't overwinter in many gardens in the United States, although there are a few that will survive up to USDA plant hardiness zone 5. Most varieties will grow in Zones 7-10.

Because they are vines, the best place for growing passion flowers is along a trellis or fence. The tops will be killed off during winter, but if you mulch deeply, your passion flower will return with new shoots in the spring. Since growing passion flowers can reach 20 feet (6 m.) in a single season, this die-back will help keep the vine under control.

Tropical passion flowers need full sun and well-drained soil. Two applications of a well-balanced fertilizer per year, once in early spring and one in midsummer are all the passion flower care you'll need.

How to Grow Passion Vine Indoors

If you live in an area where winters are too harsh for tender passion flower care, don't despair. Growing passion flowers indoors is as easy as finding a big pot and a window with bright light. Plant your vine in a rich, commercial, indoor potting soil and keep it uniformly moist, not wet.

Move your plant outdoors after all danger of frost is past and let your vine run wild. Come fall, cut back the growth to a reasonable height and bring it back indoors. Knowing how to grow passion vine is all it takes to bring a little of the tropics to your patio or porch.

Jackie Rhoades

Jackie Rhoades began writing for Gardening Know How in 2010.