Purple Passion Flower Vine (Passiflora incarnata). This perennial flowering vine is native to Florida and is one of the most complex and intricate flowers among the flowering vines. This vine is very easy to grow, can tolerate dry conditions and loves full sun. Its bloom time is during the warmest months from late Spring through early Fall and will definitely need a structure to grow on and plenty of room to wander. It will spread easily over a fence, arbor or trellis in a sunny location, reaching out with is grasping tendrils and hanging onto anything within reach.
The best part of this vine is the gorgeous, three- to five-inch flowers that come in shades of lavender or purple, with a wavy fringe over five petals. The middle of the bloom looks like a tiny landing pad, with a tiny yellow bean-like pollen sac suspended overhead. The flowers last about a day or so and bloom continuously during the warm months. The small green fruit is oval in shape, it is edible, but is not very tasty.
The Passion Flower Vine is perfect for a butterfly garden. It is the larval host plant for Gulf fritillary and Zebra longwing, the state butterfly of Florida, as well as other species of butterflies. This vine also attracts hummingbirds.
In addition to this beautiful purple/white/green color combination of the incarnata variety, Passiflora flowers come in a range of colors including white, blue, lavender, purple, red and maroon. There are also five other Florida native passion flower vines lutea, multiflora, pallens, sexflora, and suberosa. With these other native varieties, the flowers are not as showy with more subdued colors. By far, the Passiflora incarnata has the showiest flowers and are the most intriguing.
This plant column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, a Sanibel garden center, located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel Island, Florida.