The passiflora caerulea, or blue passionflower, is so unique, it looks like a piece of abstract art. Its curly, tentacle-like petals only last for mere hours making them one of the most elusive, yet gorgeous flowers to grow in your own garden. Grow one yourself with this all-around passiflora caerulea guide!
There is a tropical beauty amongst us, and its name is passiflora caerulea. AKA, blue passionflower! Most people are familiar with the purple passionflower, passiflora incarnata, but I wanted to give some loving to its but equally stunning blue sibling, passiflora caerulea.
The blue passionflower, or bluecrown passionflower, has a reputation for being a difficult grower. A big part of that comes down to its exotic look. In fact, the passionflower can be incredibly low maintenance in the right conditions. You just may find yourself with too many vines to count!
If you’re looking to grow a passiflora caerulea, keep on reading to learn about how to grow, care, propagate, and use your blue passionflower.
This post will cover…
- Meet the Blue Passionflower
- Benefits and Uses of Passiflora Incarnata
- Planting Passiflora Caerulea
- Passiflora Caerulea Care
- Pests and Diseases
- Passiflora Caerulea Propagation
- Frequently Asked Questions About Blue Passionflower
- More Plant Guides
Meet the Blue Passionflower
One of the most unique flowers around, you can’t help but stare at passiflora caerulea. The base has thick, whiteish petals with a layer of blue, white, and purple sepals. In the middle, it has both female and male reproductive parts.
You can find blue passionflower blooms from late summer to early fall. While it has a fairly long flowering period, the flowers themselves only last for 48 hours. The flowers open at night and slowly close during the day. Fairly light in fragrance, the Constance Elliot cultivar is the most fragrant. But the butterflies can’t get enough of this flower!
The passiflora caerulea also produces egg-shaped fruits that turn from an unripe green to a ripe orangey yellow.
A fast grower, this vine can grow up to 30 ft. It produces tendrils and attaches to other plants, nearby structures, or sprawls on the ground in thick patches.
The passiflora caerulea is hardy in zones 9-11. In tropical climates, it grows as evergreen but becomes deciduous in places with cool winters. It’s known to withstand up to -15° C! Due to its deep root system, it can die back for the winter and come back in the spring. They’re quite frost tender and should be protected in the winter.
Benefits and Uses of Passiflora Incarnata
There are over 520 species in the Passifloraceae family. Originally found in Central and South America, you can also find passionflowers in North America, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
Many plants in the passiflora family have helpful benefits. They are known to work as a sedative, nervine, anxiolytic, antispasmodic, hypnotic, and anodyne. Most of the research and uses center around the purple passionflower, passiflora incarnata.
The blue passionflower fruits can be cooked while still unripe or eaten raw once ripe. They can be turned into a drink, though the flavor is not something that appeals to most people. Some also use the flowers to make a syrup.
Planting Passiflora Caerulea
Blue passionflowers can tolerate both sandy and clay soils, but they prefer well-draining soil, non-alkaline soil. You can test the pH of your soil to make sure it’s a good fit for passionflowers.
Plant your bluecrown passionflower in a sunny location that can also offer some shelter from harsh wind. Since they like to climb, try placing them by an arbor, trellis, or fence, but make sure to offer them some kind of support.
To plant from seed, soak the seeds in warm water for 12 hours. Then, plant them in late winter or early spring indoors in individual pots (preferably in greenhouse conditions). If you want to grow the plant outdoors, it’s best to keep the plant inside for its first winter to give it a chance to build a big root system first. The following spring, you can plant them in the ground.
Any young plants will benefit from a layer of mulch in the late fall to help protect them from the cold.
Passiflora caerulea also works well as a container plant. This helps to control their fast-spreading and allows you to move the pot somewhere sunnier or inside during the winter.
Passiflora Caerulea Care
Please oh please, give the passiflora caerulea plenty of sun! They thrive in full sun and will not grow in the shade. They can handle partial shade but definitely are sun lovers.
In fact, their flower will open during sunny weather and won’t open during cloudy or rainy days. To get your blue passionflower to fruit, you’ll also need long hot summers.
Overall, the passiflora caerulea likes to be kept moist. Ideally, do less frequent but deep waterings. By reaching deep into the ground for water, they get a stronger root system. This helps them survive the cool season and come back in the spring. During the winter, keep the soil more or less dry.
Go light on the fertilizer for your passiflora caerulea as they’re fast growers naturally. Even too much manure or compost can promote plenty of foliage but few flowers.
Pruning is not necessary for your passiflora caerulea to be happy. However, you may find yourself wanting to prune in order to control the growth and spread of your blue passionflower. The flowers also grow on new growth.
If you do want to prune, do so in late winter or early spring. They’re very tolerant of pruning. You can even cut them all the way back to ground level if you want to regenerate the plant. Next spring, the passiflora caerulea will be good as new again.
Pests and Diseases
One of the biggest issues with passionflowers is fusarium wilt. This is a soil-borne disease that causes yellow and dying leaves, branch and trunk spitting, and root discoloration and death.
Another common concern is cucumber mosaic. This can come from cucumber beetles and aphids, with a mosaic-like pattern across the leaves causing slow growth and distortion.
The blue passionflower is notably resistant to honey fungus.
As for pests, slugs and snails can chomp down a young plant in just one night. Caterpillars and beetles also like to feast on the large leaves while spider mites and scale can be found on the plant’s stems.
An all-natural pest control spray made with herbs can be helpful in protecting your passionflower.
Passiflora Caerulea Propagation
To propagate passiflora caerulea, you can use either cuttings or layering techniques.
To make a cutting, snip it during the softwood stage (see this post to understand the difference between softwood and hardwood). You want a vine at least 4-6 inches long with a few leaves on it. Cut it just below a node (where the leaves emerge from).
Dip the end in rooting hormone before sticking it the end into the soil. Add some support if needed. Cover with a clear plastic bag to act as a mini greenhouse.
Place your cutting in a shady location and keep it moist. After a month, it should have rooted and is ready for transplant to its regular home.
The best time to propagate passiflora caerulea through layering is in the summer. Take a vine that is long enough or at ground level. Strip a section of the leaves to form a section. Bury that portion of the vine under the soil and anchor the vine down with a rock if needed.
Water the area well and after a month, it should have rooted. However, try and keep it connected to the mother plant until spring to give it its best chance at survival.
Frequently Asked Questions About Blue Passionflower
Yes, the fruits are entirely edible. However, they’re not a very desirable flavor, similar to a very weak blackberry flavour. You can cook unripe fruit or eat ripe fruit raw. The flower petals can also be made into syrup.
The roots and leaves are toxic. If ingested, it can trigger an upset stomach.
As it is a fast grower, passiflora caerulea can get invasive. It grows long runs and can have many offshoots. To control vines, prune new growth.
To get rid of the vine entirely, you will have to dig out its entire root system or it may grow back. Planting your passiflora caerulea in a container also helps to control their spreading.
Since the roots and leaves are toxic, it is advised to keep the blue passionflower away from cats, dogs, and small children. See this full list of plants toxic to pets.
Leave any other questions you may have down below. Happy growing!