The passion flower passiflora always evokes vivid emotions. To some florists its strange inflorescences seem the most beautiful of all exotic pets, to others the mere sight of its intricate "order" flowers causes irritation. Passiflora needs quite a bit of space, and attention, too. The uneasy nature of this long-known "exotics" scares many people away, although in practice the passiflora usually still pleasantly surprises. It is a plant for fans of unusual indoor lianas, who can not take their eyes off its amazing blooms.
Passiflora and its appearance "not for everyone"
Famous in our country, and throughout the world, as passionflowers or flowers of passion, passiflora have become famous as one of the most original lianas. We grow passiflora mainly as a caddy garden plant, which is brought indoors for the winter. And in countries with milder climates it more often appears in lists of the best garden lianas rather than indoor crops.
But the beauty of passiflora flowers attracts many so much that the charming liana decides to move into interiors as well. In many catalogs and florists it is even advertised as the best exotic for home conditions, though the passiflora is very far from this status in terms of capriciousness.
Even the species name of the passiflora vividly demonstrates its special status. True, it did not get it at all because of its appearance and not at all because of its passions. The name was given to it by the first missionaries, who considered the flowers of the plant a beautiful symbol of the suffering of Christ.
Passiflora causes a lot of emotions and contradictory reactions. But those who love the liana call it incomparable. Popular nicknames for passiflora include both the name of grenadilla and cavalry star.
In nature, passiflora is fairly widely represented everywhere except in Europe and Africa. The greatest diversity can boast these lianas in South America.
Passiflora botanical description
Passiflora are powerful evergreen woody climbing lianas, whose shoots, depending on species and pruning can be limited to a modest 50 cm or stretch up to 3 m. In the nature the plants are much bigger, up to 50 m high, but in the room culture they still demonstrate their massiveness and power, although much more modest in size.
Passiflora is characterized by thin and uniform foliage even in the lower part of shoots. The three- or nine-lobed, heart-shaped leaves sit on thin petioles and create a sense of airy elegance even when formed into a compound trellis.
The beauty of the leaves is further emphasized by the glossy sheen of the surface and the rich, dark, grayish shade of green traditional for passiflora. The plant partially sheds its leaves during the winter, but it recovers perfectly in the spring.
The large flowers of the passiflora are not accidentally considered legendary. Vivid not so much in color as in shape, they truly deserve the title of flowers of passion. The pointed petals, which make the flowers look like stars, look very impressive, but their true beauty can only be seen up close.
The contrasting staminodes, which form in the corolla a flat, fused perianth circle, give the plant a filigree beauty. The enormous disco-shaped perianth with narrow lanceolate lobes, like a saucer, enhances the beauty of the long pedicel, five star-shaped stamens, three sideways diverging stigmas and a crown of long, modified staminodes.
The contrasting coloration of the perianth and crown emphasizes the complex details of the structure and makes the flowers of Passiflora similar to orders and those very cavalry stars, making Passiflora one of the most easily recognized plants. The symmetry, abundance of details, and perfection of the structure of the passiflora flowers cannot be confused with any other indoor plant.
After flowering, the original oval-shaped fruits of passiflora are set, resembling pomegranates by their internal structure, which was the source of another nickname - grenadilla. The fruit is edible and in Latin America it is used for desserts and drinks and is considered a valuable fruit. In appearance, they resemble feijoa and passion fruit.
The flowering period of passiflora traditionally coincides with the time of being outdoors - from June to September. Each flower opens for only one day, but they bloom relentlessly.
The color palette of the passiflora is interesting, but not that varied. White, blue, red and purple are all color options. The colors are not presented in their pure form, but in unusual cold shades and mottled variations.
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Views of room passiflora
The most common species of passiflora, which mainly and grow in room culture, is passiflora blue (Passiflora caerulea) - a typical for the genus liana, which differs from its fellows more robust shoots and powerful growth. Up to 2m long, it looks elegant and well-supported, thanks to its heart-shaped leaves with long petioles, divided into 3 or 9 lobes. White, blue, and purple flowers shine like stars against the dark, glossy leaves.
Three other greenhouse and indoor passiflora species also deserve attention:
- Passiflora lemon (Passiflora citrina) is a flexible, somewhat messy looking liana with compound leaves and small, yellow flowers.
- Passiflora vitifolia (Passiflora vitifolia) is a plant easily recognized by its large vine-like leaves.
- Passiflora amethystina (Passiflora amethystina, formerly known as Passiflora purple (Passiflora violacea) is a very elegant variety with bright three-lobed leaves and pink-purple with fuchsia hue delicate flowers.
Most of the passiflora on sale are hybrid varieties of Passiflora blue. They differ only in the color of the flowers and the size of the leaves, most often remaining nameless. One can find quite a few original plants with exotic, mottled, contrasting color variations that turn the flowers into works of art.
Conditions for growing room passiflora
In rooms, finding a really comfortable place for passiflora is not easy. This plant belongs to the extremely light-loving and in living rooms can settle only on windowsills. And the requirements for a cool overwintering do not simplify the selection of a place for it. Before starting a room passiflora, it is worth evaluating the conditions that can be given to it.
Passiflora are easily formed, although not the most flexible lianas. They cannot be grown in bush form, with overhanging spreading shoots, in pots on tall stands. But you can use it for walls or trellises, form it on poles. Passiflora is especially good on arches and round supports, but it also looks good on other kinds of bases and frames.
Lighting and placement
For passiflora you should choose really bright places. It is not afraid of direct sun. In summer the midday rays can be too scalding even for its leathery leaves, but normally in southern locations the plant feels well. Even the slightest shading leads to stretching of the plant, shrunken leaves, lengthening of internodes and corresponding worsening of flowering. Good light all year round, even in overwintering, irrespective of whether passiflora is cultivated as a houseplant and a garden plant or only as a houseplant. On southern balconies (but not on southern windows), it will need a scattering screen only in summer. Because of its sensitivity to purely natural light, it is impossible to grow this liana in the interior and not on a windowsill. Passiflora is suitable for winter gardens.
Temperature regime and ventilation
From spring to fall, passiflora requires a warm, comfortable place with temperatures higher than +21 ° C. If the temperature drops, and if the light fluctuates too, the plant may stop blooming. It is a demanding plant for a stable environment and does well in living rooms or on warm days.
If passiflora combines a garden and room culture, its dependence on the weather is more pronounced. On cloudy days the liana does not open its flowers and shows its "discontent" by all its appearance.
The key to the beautiful flowering of the passiflora and the main condition for success in growing this liana is, of course, a cool overwintering. Unlike some competitors, passiflora will not be content with a slight drop in air temperature: it needs a really contrastingly cold winter with a temperature drop of at least 10 degrees. A temperature of 6 to 8 degrees centigrade is considered optimal for Passiflora, the maximum winter values are better limited to 12 degrees.
Fresh air access, quality, regular airing of rooms are important for this liana no less than optimal temperature values. Passiflora cannot withstand stagnant air, even in winter, when kept in the cold.
Passiflora does well in the fresh air. It can be moved to the garden or at least to a balcony for the summer. However, it needs to be protected from draughts in the rooms, especially during the cool wintering period.
Home care of passiflora
Passiflora is not a plant for beginners. It requires careful and abundant watering, proper correction of care for the dormancy period, frequent feeding and annual pruning. The liana needs to be constantly monitored, which does not make it easy to grow. On the quality and thoroughness of care depends directly on both endurance and resistance to pests and diseases.
Pouring and humidity
Passiflora is one of the most moisture-loving indoor lianas. But the requirement for plentiful, frequent watering does not mean that one can be careless about the degree to which the substrate dries out. Dampness is detrimental to passiflora to the same extent as for any indoor plant. Average frequency of watering in the period of active growth - once every 2 days. But during the resting period only very light moisture in the soil is maintained, do not water abundantly, with a frequency of 1 time in 8-10 days. Watering is gradually reduced, transferring the passiflora to an almost dry regime after taking it out into the cold. During the winter passiflora is watered only to support the viability of the plant - with a minimum amount of water and very rarely. But resume watering only when the plant is moved to warmth, trying to spend frequent watering, but with a small amount of water, maintaining a light moisture substrate until the rapid growth.
High air humidity for passiflora is preferable, and when growing only in rooms - obligatory. Even in winter the plant should be sprayed more often, especially when the central heaters are running. Evening spraying allows you to maintain the beauty of the leaves. Passiflora does not need moistening devices.
For passiflora use only warm water for spraying and water of the same temperature as the air in the room or warmer by a few degrees - for watering. Water should not be hard.
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