Also classified as passiflora tripartite, passiflora mollissima is a high altitude plant native to the Andes that is cultivated primarily in Columbia for its fruit. The long, slender shape and the yellow color of the fruit have led mollissima to become known as banana passion fruit. Banana passionfruit is used like that of other passion fruits: as a beverage and dessert flavoring. But mollissima is typically used fresh because it loses its flavor with storage. Its flowers differ from those of the other species of passion flower that we offer in that they’re pink. Despite the difference in color, they are still attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies just like many of their relatives. As an ornamental, this plant 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 is a vigorous grower reaching up to twenty feet in length. It cannot tolerate frost and should be grown as a potted plant that can be brought indoors in areas colder than zones 9-10. Grafting to passiflora caerulea or incarnata may also help improve hardiness. 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 during the summer.
Growing Information: Passion flower 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, 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 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit using bottom heat if possible. Germination can take several weeks to several months. Established plants prefer bright light and high humidity.
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