September 21, 2022

A Passion for Experiments

first view

It's fun to grow new plants, and it's especially fun to compare different methods, settings, and conditions for the same plant. Last year, I started several Purple Passion Flower plants (Passiflora incarnata) from seed. This plant is native just to the south of us in Central Illinois and throughout the Southeast U.S.

The seeds grew well last year, and they came back this past spring. But I didn't see any flowers...

Until a couple of weeks ago! I was adjusting something above the potted plant when I saw the first flower. What a sweet surprise!


Next, I realized there were several additional buds, and it's been a joy to see them all bloom in succession.

potted plant

Here are the pot and the trellis the flowering plants are growing on. They spent the winter indoors in the sunroom, going nearly dormant and then popping back in the spring. They really took off when I put them out on the front porch facing the afternoon sun.

trellis vines

I also planted some vines in the soil on the west side of the house. They came back even stronger, but they haven't flowered. Maybe next summer? I covered these plants in the soil with heavy mulch for winter, since we're USDA zone 5--borderline for winter survival of this plant. This is probably the warmest spot in my garden, getting sun and heat from the house throughout the entire year.

It's been a fun experiment to compare the potted plants with the outdoor garden plants. I hope they'll all survive and thrive next year, too. Will they fruit?

pollinator 1

I've noticed a few pollinators on them, and apparently P. incarnata plants are self-fertile, meaning they don't need a partner plant to be pollinated and bear fruit.

pollinator 3

It's so entertaining to watch the pollinators move among the dramatic stigmas and anthers and other flower parts.

pollinator 2

Passion Flowers are so beautiful and so unique.


Every part of this plant is beautiful--from the foliage to the flowers to the sweet tendrils that wrap around the supports and curl around each other. New adventures with plants are so gratifying!


  1. Congrats! Aren't passionflowers just the best? Have you caught any of your anthers flipping? This video shows the process:

    1. Yes, they're awesome! Thanks for sharing the video...I hadn't noticed the flipping, but now I'll watch for it. :)

  2. Wonderful! I hope the plants on the west side of the house also come through for you - they look extremely healthy. Your post prompted me to check the status of my one and only passionflower plant but it hasn't shown any sign that it's even thinking about blooming (yet).

    1. Thanks, Kris. The outdoor plants made it through one winter, so I guess I'll repeat the same process of heavy mulching this winter. I don't think I'm going to get fruit on the potted one this year, but maybe next year. It sure was fun to see the blooms!

  3. Hi Beth,
    What a fun post. I like to experiment too. I grew Luffa last year.
    Your photos are amazing. :-)

    1. Thanks, Carla. Luffa: Now that's exciting! We share a fun hobby, don't we? :)

  4. We had huge plants around the verandah at our previous garden, but this climate doesn't suit them. Yours have beautiful purple flowers.

    1. I am on the edge of its perennial/survival range here. Hopefully, with heavy mulching it will continue to return every spring/summer. And the potted ones will keep the fun continuing, too.

  5. Great set of photos, Beth. I especially like the close-ups--just lovely! I love passion flowers and our climate is conducive to grow several varieties.

  6. Beautiful photos of the Passion Flowers!
    Have a wonderful week!

  7. This post was wild for me! I have passion plants growing on my fences and they are weeds to me! I have to chop them down constantly. I have tried eating the fruit but they are not good. In researching the plant, people said they are delicious which makes me wonder if I have the wrong variety growing. It doesn't matter. I'm not planting another seed for them.

    It was enjoyable reading about your excitement and it gave me a funny feeling. Now I feel as if I should appreciate my trashy weeds more.



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