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Passionflowers have deeply lobed leaves which are followed a month or so later by a proliferation of showy, creamy-white flowers with purple-blue zoned coronas. Towards the end of the summer the passion flower will produce its golden, egg-shaped fruits.
I love passionflowers, they look so exotic and untypical to Britain. However there are some species that will grow very easily here and can be grown easily in your garden, including Passiflora incarnata, Passiflora careulea, and Passiflora lutea.
Although they are cited as evergreen in all but the coldest regions, they generally suffer some cold damage and look best in the summer/spring when the new growth is visible. Therefore it is best to position your passionflower in a sheltered south-facing area.
Passionflowers will grow true from seed, but it can be a challenge to grow passion flowers this way. The main problem with passion flower seeds is their unpredictable dormancy period, which can be anywhere from two to twelve months. In order to assist dormancy you could lightly sandpaper the seeds on one sides using a fine sandpaper and then to soak them in tepid water for a day. Remove any seeds found floating in the water as these will not be viable and can be discarded.
Temperature is critical to germination and they require a range between 20-30 degrees celsius. Sow the seeds during the summer in the warmest months or use a heated propagator.
Fill a seed tray with seed compost and plant your passionflower seeds 5 mm deep. Add a layer of horticultural grit of perlite to aid drainage. Water the seeds in, cover them with clear plastic and place them on a sunny windowsill until germination. This could be as quickly as 2-4 weeks or as long as 48 weeks.
Remove the plastic at the first sign of germination to prevent fungal rots appearing, although you will be required to keep the compost moist during the germination period. Keep the new seedlings out of direct sunlight until the second set of ‘true’ leaves have appeared. Pot up into 9 cm pots and grow on for several weeks before planting outside.
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