Passiflora caerulea is perfect to grow in pots and if started early may even flower in their very first season. In this article we’ll discuss how to grow Passiflora caerulea in pots based on my own experiences of doing just that recently.
Benefits of Growing Passiflora caerulea in Pots
Passiflora caerulea is a hardy plant in temperate regions. Unlike most of the other members of the passionflower family it can be safely left outdoors right around the year. So the obvious question then becomes why you might consider growing Passiflora caerulea in pots?
There are actually quite a few reasons why you might want to consider this…
Grow Passiflora caerulea Where No Soil Exists
The first benefit of growing Passiflora caerulea in pots is that you can of course put the pot anywhere you like.
This means that it suddenly becomes possible to grow Passiflora caerulea on your windowsill or on a bare patio. For those readers who have no real garden space but instead have to rely on a balcony once again growing Passiflora caerulea in pots makes perfect sense.
Give Your Passiflora caerulea Pride-of-Place When Flowering
Personally I love the foliage of Passiflora caerulea but in truth most people grow it primarily for the exotic-looking flowers. For much of the year Passiflora caerulea holds far less interest.
Growing Passiflora caerulea in pots means you can move it around your yard, giving it the perfect growing conditions no matter where they may be. Then, as the plant begins to flower you can move the container closer to your home or patio so you can fully enjoy the blooms.
This can work particularly well if the area your family spends most time is quite shady. Passiflora caerulea doesn’t tend to do as well in these conditions, so the ability to position the pot in a sunnier area outside of flowering makes a lot of sense.
Fill Bare Patches in your Yard
Growing Passiflora caerulea in a pot gives you ability to use it to fill any bare patches in your flower beds. As other flowers die away your Passiflora caerulea container can be repositioned to fill this gap.
The fact that Passiflora caerulea may flower as late as September in some areas makes this particularly appealing, as typically by this point in the season many summer flowers will have gone over. If they can be replaced with the waxy beauty of Passiflora caerulea flowers then all the better.
Offer Greater Winter Protection
Whilst Passiflora caerulea is considered cold-hardy that’s not to say that surviving through the winter is easy. Growing Passiflora caerulea in a container means they can be relocated in the fall and given some extra protection.
Personally my Passiflora caerulea is moved into an unheated greenhouse so it avoids the worst of the wind and rain, though some other gardeners opt to move theirs against a south-facing garden wall or even bring it into the home.
Can Passiflora caerulea Be Grown Indoors?
Passiflora caerulea can absolutely be grown indoors in a sunny room or conservatory. That said, be aware that Passiflora caerulea can grow at quite an astonishing rate when it gets going so some serious pruning may be required to keep it under control.
Furthermore, with their tendrils constantly grasping for nearby support you’ll need to remain constantly vigilant that your Passiflora caerulea isn’t making a break for freedom and heading off in an unwanted direction.
That said, growing Passiflora caerulea indoors can help to bring a real feel of the exotic into your home and gives a fascinating focal point for guests. What can be better than admiring the intricacies of a passion flower bloom from the comfort of your own home?
Can Passiflora caerulea Be Grown Outdoors?
Passiflora caerulea can be left outside all year round in most temperate regions. It goes without saying that such an exotic-looking plant does best outside when given the warmest position possible.
Passiflora caerulea grows well up fences and walls, which will help to retain heat in the cooler weather. Free-draining soil is also recommended so your Passiflora doesn’t become waterlogged, which can result in the roots rotting.
Growing Passiflora caerulea in Pots: The Basic Requirements
If you’ve decided to grow Passiflora caerulea in pots then what do you need to know? Fortunately Passiflora caerulea is a reasonably simple container plant which is well within the abilities of most gardeners…
Passiflora caerulea isn’t fussy over the type of pot so feel free to unleash your creativity. While plastic pots are cheapest and lightest, terracotta or glazed pots will also both work well. The only downside of such pots is that they are heavier, which is a consideration if you plan to move your Passiflora caerulea around, such as bringing it indoors in winter.
My one-year-old Passiflora caerulea is currently in a 12” diameter pot and seems to be doing well, though I expect to increase that container size in the future.
When growing Passiflora caerulea in containers it is advisable to consider gently removing it from the pot each spring before the growing season really gets underway. Looks for any signs of the plant being pot-bound and pot up into a larger container if necessary.
Additionally, try to brush off any compost you can and replace it with a fresh growing medium. This will add nutrients to the pot, helping your Passiflora caerulea to reach its potential.
Passiflora caerulea grows rapidly, but to do this it needs the right nutrients. A rich, free-draining compost works well. Personally I have used a peat-free multipurpose compost with good results. It offers lots of organic material and quickly dries out in warmer weather preventing any rotting of the roots.
All passion flowers appreciate the sunniest position you can give them. Passiflora caerulea is no different. So if growing outdoors try placing your Passiflora caerulea in a south-facing area where it will receive direct sunlight for much of the day.
Placing your Passiflora caerulea pot near a fence or wall can also help to improve growth rates and health, reflecting both light and warmth back onto your plant.
Even when changing some compost each year it’s worth considering feeding your Passiflora caerulea throughout the season. The reality is that containers can quickly run out of beneficial nutrients. A liquid houseplant fertilizer seems to work well in my experience, given every couple of weeks from spring to fall.
As a climber, Passiflora caerulea needs something to climb up. If not, the stems will flop over and hang down from the pot. Not only is this not particularly attractive but of course the stems and flowers will be at risk of damage.
It may be necessary to firmly attach your Passiflora caerulea to the given support initially. After a while the plant will be able to keep hold itself, but a little training and support is usually necessary in the early days.
Green garden twine can work well for attaching your Passiflora caerulea to your chosen support, and the growing stems can be gently wound around and around the support to make full use of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Passiflora caerulea Like Sun or Shade?
Passiflora caerulea does best in full sun. Some mild shade now and again isn’t necessarily the end of the world but for the healthiest and most vigorous Passiflora possible aim to give them the sunniest position in your garden.
How Much Water Does Passiflora caerulea Need?
Passiflora caerulea can be a thirsty plant. While it rarely suffers from dehydration thanks to it’s thick, waxy leaves you should aim to water your Passiflora caerulea regularly.
When growing Passiflora caerulea in a pot allow the compost to almost entirely dry out between waterings. In the winter months this may mean rarely if ever watering your Passiflora caerulea as winter rain will likely keep the compost moist.
In contrast, it may be necessary to water your Passiflora caerulea daily in hot, summer weather.
In terms of watering be sure that there is nothing preventing rainfall from reaching the roots of your Passiflora caerulea. It is not usual to find that Passiflora caerulea grown in pots are placed against fences or walls which can deflect rain away.
Does Passiflora caerulea Need a Support?
Passiflora caerulea absolutely needs some support. Without such support your Passiflora caerulea will flop over and may become damaged as it scrambles along looking for something to grab on to.
In nature your Passiflora caerulea would naturally seek to climb up high to get the most direct sunlight possible. Permitting this in your garden is therefore well worthwhile.
The Best Supports for Passiflora caerulea
A huge range of different supports may be appropriate for Passiflora caerulea. When growing Passiflora caerulea in pots probably the easiest option is to construct a basic frame from garden canes and cable ties. The Passiflora caerulea vine can then be gently wrapped around this frame and held in place with green garden twine.
Of course this is hardly the only option. Passiflora caerulea will also grow well up garden trellis or pea netting.
If growing Passiflora caerulea in pots then put extra thought into the support you offer your plant. If you hope to be able to move your Passiflora caerulea container around then try to choose a support that attaches to the pot itself.
Growing a Passiflora caerulea in a pot that is then allowed to clamber up a fixed support such as a garden fence can limit your options to move the container around in the future.