|Written by Dena Bolton|
Intro:Â The passion plant is a fast-growing vine with flowers that almost resemble some type of spaceship. The name came from Jesuit priests who discovered it in South America and saw symbols of the crucifixion of Christ in its blooms. The leaves of the passion plant are often brewed in teas to promote calm, well-being, and to combat insomnia. In addition, the passionflowers are good additions to the butterfly garden. You can also use the fruit from passionflowers to start additional plants for your garden.Â (I learned the trick to growing passionflowers from seed from my daughter, who always has tons every year.)
Step 1:Â Choose an appropriate site. Before starting a passionflower, you should first make sure that you have a site in full sun.Â (In the southern regions of the United States, however, they need some shade to protect them from the hot afternoon sun.) In addition, they need some type of structure, such as a chain link fence or trellis, on which they can climb.
Step 2:Â Allow the fruit to ripen on the vine. The fruit emerges as the flowers begin to die. Do not deadhead the flowers, however. You will not have any fruit if you do.
Step 3:Â Let the fruit dry completely. You can do this either by allowing it to dry on the vine or by harvesting the fruit and placing it in a cool dry area until it has shriveled and is brown.
Step 4:Â Break open the fruit, which contains the seeds. Scatter the seeds on the ground where you want more passionflowers to grow. Do not cover for about one week. This allows the seeds to dry out a little more.Â (My daughter swears that this is the best way to start your seeds; and I will not argue with her, considering how many passionflowers she has blooming every year.)
Step 5:Â Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil (1-2 inches).
â€˘Seeds that are planted at the end of the blooming season will not produce new passionflowers until the following year.
â€˘Passionflowers can be grown in containers indoors; however, be sure to give them something on which to climb.
â€˘Passion fruit attracts thrips and gnats. Place a pot of your favorite mint next to your passion fruit. These bugs will magically disappear.