Sunday, August 3, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday- My Passion for Passiflora

The two Passion vines I planted have become a bit of an obsession to me. One was labeled "Lavender Lady" but the blooms appear more of a "Blue Passion flower" or the Passiflora Caerulea variety. Supposedly the Lavender Lady is sterile and all fruit will be hollow. The Lavender Lady seems to have blooms that are a definite purple and my little vine falls way short of that. I have a second smaller passion vine, name unknown that was planted in a shady area and never did well or bloomed. I've recently moved it next to this one, and hope to see some blooms now that it can get a little sun. The second one has three lobes to the leaves, rather than five, so I believe it is probably a different variety- it will be fun to see what the blooms look like from that one!

The passion vine has a very special friend in a couple of caterpillar species, the Gulf Fritillary and the Zebra Longwing. I believe the ones trying to have dinner on my vines are the Gulf fritillary ones but the Zebra Longwings are similar so could be either. Both do turn into beautiful butterflies that come back to pollinate the flowers and lay their eggs on the leaves!
This little guy would probably grow up to be a gorgeous butterfly, but because these plants are so young, I just can't afford to share with the caterpillars and so they are getting squished! My squish tolerance is going up- the little ones don't bother me at all, and I am only slightly squeamish about this size- much bigger though and I'll have to do it with a shovel or something- I don't want to feel them squish between my fingers- yuck!

The tendrils shoot out amazingly fast- and they secrete an interesting orange sap that seems to attract the ants in droves. The ants are good though, at eating Caterpillar eggs, and doing clean-up in general, so I am not concerned at the little armies marching up and down the vine- go ants!
The fruit were hollow- either I really do have the sterile "Lavender Lady" as my one vine was labeled, or the plant is just too young to produce edible fruits

I found this awesome little movie- of a passion flower opening up that is really cool!

There are also a couple of short clips of bees visiting the flowers- really amazing videos!

Happy Green Thumb Sunday!

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


Shibaguyz said...

What beautiful flowers... they almost look like an artist painted them.

Hootin' Anni said...

We have a passion flower vine that we didn't even plant...I'm thinking it was a gift from a bird if you know what I mean.

My Green Thumb today is all hibiscus. Stop by, won't you? If you have time.

Rosemary said...

I agree about the squishing! Yuck
Beautiful passion flower how lucky you are to be able to grow them in the north they are house plants but never do as well.

MrBrownThumb said...

I'm jealous.

Great post I love Passifloras

Aiyana said...

Passion vines are neat! I had a couple back in the 60s, along with Star Jasmine, yellow honeysuckle, and ivy. My idea at the time was to cover the house with green and also fragrance. It worked, but it also damaged the stucco! I still remember how great it was to open the windows in spring and fall and get a dose of all that perfume.

Good Acres said...

Your shots of the passion flowers are lovely! Their complex structure and showy colors make me in awe of nature. Cheers. -- Good Acres

Teena in Toronto said...

I've never heard of a Passiflora. Very cool!

Thanks for the visit :)

The Hunky Gardener said...

Passion flowers are one of my favorites. Have you tried lavender lady? I have grown it indoors in my cold climate.