Blue passion flower is one of the hardiest and most popular species of passiflora along with passiflora incarnata. The extreme desirability of this Brazilian perennial vine as a cultivated ornamental is the result of its breathtaking blue and white flowers, which are sweet-scented and can measure up to 10 centimeters. Like incarnata, it is extremely hardy and fast-growing, which makes it a great rootstock for other species of passiflora such as passiflora edulis. The vine itself can stretch to thirty feet, and it can reportedly withstand temperatures as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit. In frosty areas, the foliage will die back but the roots will remain. Be sure to mulch the roots in the fall to protect them from the cold. It is ideal for decorating structure such as fences, lattice, trellis and mailboxes and will thrive in almost any soil as long as it is well-draining. It has the added benefit of attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Plants can be propagated by cuttings, layering or seeds. Woody cuttings should be taken in early summer. The seeds can be collected from the fruits that have fallen from the vine and dried. However, fruits will not form in all environments. The flowers, although to a lesser extent than p. incarnata, are used fresh or dried to make a relaxing tea that is useful for anxiety relief and insomnia. The leaves contain small amounts of cyanide and should not be ingested. Boiling is said to remove the toxins. Blue passion flower also contains small amounts of at least one MAOI and should not be consumed along with certain foods or drugs.
Growing Information: Passiflora seeds are known for long and stubborn germination. Seeds may be cold stratified for four weeks in the fridge prior to planting if desired. Natural cold stratification can be provided by sowing seeds outdoors in the fall. Other growers will prepare the seed by soaking it in water or juice for 24 hours prior to planting. The acids in the juice are meant to help break down the seed coat. Vinegar has also been used for this purpose. Sanding the seed coat a bit may also help achieve a similar result. Plant the seeds about 1/2” deep in a damp medium. Sowing in a moist paper towel that is placed in a zipper baggie has proven successful. Keep at a temperature of about 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit using bottom heat if possible. Germination can take several weeks to several months. Established plants prefer bright light and should be fed in the spring with a layer of fresh compost.
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