Hundreds of climbing shrubs belong to the genus Passiflora, all originating from South America; cataloged by religious in past centuries, their common name is due to the fact that in the plant parts very similar to the instruments of the Passion of Christ can be seen. Over the centuries these plants have been introduced in most of the temperate areas, due to the beauty of the flowers or to be able to consume the fruits; many species have unfortunately escaped cultivation and have become pests, especially in areas with a mild climate, where they infest rainforests.
The fact that a plant becomes a pest is a clear symptom of its rusticity; in fact the passion flowers, in spite of the graceful flowers and the delicate looking foliage, are very vigorous climbing shrubs, which do not fear the bad weather and which carry the beautiful flowers for months.
The foliage in the various species can have different shapes, from the common oval leaves, to more delicate leaves, lobed or incised; in general all the passiflore leaves are dark green and tend to be semi-evergreen, meaning they fall only if the climate is inclement.
The flowers are certainly the most characteristic part of the passion flowers, they have a saucer shape and sizes ranging from a few centimeters to 12-15 cm in diameter; they have petals of white, yellow or rosé color, but are characterized in particular by filaments that develop from the center of the flower, giving it a very bizarre shape.
in the nursery it is possible to find many varieties of Passiflora, some are type species, others are hybrids; generally in Italy only the caerulea species is grown, with white and blue flowers, which resists without problems the winter frosts; over the years some nurserymen have also air-conditioned other species, and it is therefore possible now to cultivate species that were once not very rustic, but which will certainly have been more successful in central-southern Italy.
The cultivation of Passiflora
As mentioned before, despite the delicate appearance, the passion flowers are very vigorous plants, which can develop their thin branches for a few meters even only during a single vegetative season; they are real climbers, that is they produce real supporting organs, called tendrils, which allow the plant to attach itself firmly to any support, without needing to be secured to it.
They prefer very sunny positions, but they can also develop in partial shade; certainly if grown in full light they produce a greater number of elegant flowers.
they do not require special care, or particularly rich soil: they tend to grow without problems even in the common garden soil, with sporadic fertilizations and can easily withstand long periods of drought.
But if we want to cultivate ours passiflora caerulea in pot we remind to water it periodically, especially during the coldest periods of the year.
To contain the exuberance of the plant, remember to trim the longer branches periodically, in this way we will also keep the dense and thicker shrub.
If we have purchased a variety of which we do not know the best the characteristics it is advised to place the house passiflora caerulea in a place sheltered from the wind and intense cold, so that the plant can in any case withstand winter cold without problems; possibly the most delicate species can be covered with non-woven fabric. Or you can prune the plant at about 35-40 cm from the ground, protect it from the cold, and then let it develop throughout the next growing season, so as to expose as little vegetation as possible to the cold.
Passiflora - Passiflora caerulea: The Fruit of the Passion
the flowers of the Passion are followed by fruits, large ovoid capsules, green, orange or brown, which contain a mucilage which contains numerous seeds. The fruits of P. edulis have excellent flavor and are consumed fresh, in juices, juices and jams; the same cannot be said for the fruits of all species of passionflower, such as those of the Passiflora caerulea, which have sometimes disgusting taste and odor.
Therefore, if we wish to consume the fruits of our passion flower, let us know from the nursery at the time of purchase, to be sure of cultivating a fruit species.