Also known as sweet calabash, this passiflora species is known for its tasty, hard-shelled, apple-sized fruits. It is widely cultivated in the West Indies. Like other passion fruits, maliformis is frequently used as a flavoring for beverages and desserts. The seeds are also strained from the gelatinous pulp, and it is eaten fresh. The stringy purple and white flowers are absolutely gorgeous and are self-fertile. As an ornamental, 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. Hardy to about 35 degrees Fahrenheit, this species is native to northern South America and prefers a somewhat cool, but humid environment in full sun. It may be grafted onto hardier species such as passiflora caerulea or incarnata, or it can be grown in containers that are brought in for the winter. Growing in containers also has the added benefit of containing root growth, which promotes flowering. If able to be left outside in the winter, the roots should be mulched to insulate them from the cold. Plants will probably require pruning to prevent them from crowding and should be fertilized every two weeks during the summer.
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 them at about 3/4″ deep in a damp, well-draining medium. Sowing in a moist paper towel that is placed in a zipper baggie has proven successful. Keep at a temperature of about 67 degrees Fahrenheit using bottom heat if possible. Germination can take several weeks to several months. Provide filtered sunlight.
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