Passion Flowers: How to Grow Them Indoors and Do They Make Good Houseplants?

Want to try growing a beautiful passion vine indoors? Find out whether it’s easy, worth it, and how to do it in this post.

The week I began this post, Jane Perrone from the On the Ledge Podcast (a wonderful houseplant podcast) published an episode all about Passiflora or Passion Flowers.

I was very excited about it because I’ve been growing Passifloras or Passion Flowers as houseplants for several years and I don’t hear many people talking about it.

However, I left the episode wanting more information on how to grow them indoors and whether they make a good houseplant. The podcast also didn’t discuss the most popular variety in the houseplant community, that I’m aware of, Passiflora trifasciata.

So, this post will provide the info I was hoping to hear about in the podcast: are passifloras good houseplants? how do you grow them? and what is it like to grow the more popular varieties?

Note: Care information is from my experience in Michigan, within the United States.

Table of Contents

Do Passion Flowers, or Passifloras, make good houseplants?

Passion flowers, though beautiful, are not easy houseplants.

They aren’t well-suited, in my opinion, for beginners or for people who are more relaxed in their approach to houseplant care.

They need a lot of attention and consistent care in order to stay healthy.

These plants require a lot of bright light, consistent moisture, and a good eye for pests.

They are prolific growers when happy, so they will reward you handsomely for your hard work.

They do not bloom that often indoors in my experience.

If under more intense grow lights or grown in tropical zones that receive more sunlight, it’s possible they would produce flowers more regularly. I can’t say as a Michigan grower who experiences a lot of darkness and 6 months of winter each year.

While passion vines are difficult and fussy at times, I adore their foliage and flowers so I think the challenge is worth it!

Would I recommend people try a Passiflora or Passion Flower as a houseplant?

Passiflora sp from Grayes Greenhouse
Passiflora sp from Grayes Greenhouse

Yes if, you:

  • are ready for a challenge
  • are attentive to watering
  • are willing to make space for a heavy viner
  • have lots of light
  • have lots of patience
  • are willing to fail and try again

How do you grow Passion Flowers, or Passifloras, as houseplants?

Care summary:

Lots of light; always moist; potting mix with drainage to maintain good aeration around the roots; regular fertilization to maintain healthy growth; regular pest checks or pest prevention

And now more care information:

If you live in a naturally humid place with lots of sunlight, like Florida, you are probably set for success in a bright window. The care guide below is based on my experience as a Michigander with a long, dark winter and brief summer.

To find success with Passifloras, I have to keep mine right in a window.

Mine prefer a West-facing window where they get pretty bright light throughout the day with the hot sun in the afternoon. I’ve never had scorched leaves from the afternoon sun, but if you are closer to the equator your plant might respond differently.

With lots of light, these thin-leafed beauties get thirsty. So thirsty. So I have to monitor them very regularly.

For this reason, I grow mine right in my kitchen, only a few feet from my kitchen sink. I check them multiple times a week and water them at least once a week as soon as I notice the top quarter to half of the pot is dry.

I can monitor this with precision because I’ve moved to growing my individual passiflora pots in glass containers where I can see the moisture level in the soil, monitor the root growth, and maintain extra moisture.

If you are a beginner to plants, I wouldn’t really recommend a passion flower anyway, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend a container without a drainage hole for this one.

It is a needy baby that needs someone with experience in maintaining moisture consistently. As soon as it dries out, it will shed leaves like trees in the fall. But it can also be easily overwatered.

Because they are prolific growers, they definitely need to be fertilized to maintain health and growth.

I don’t use anything fancy, personally. The same Osmocote slow-release fertilizer or Espoma organic indoor liquid fertilizer that I use on most of my houseplants has worked well for these.

If you were trying to get your plant to bloom, you could try a bloom booster or a fertilizer where the NPK number has a higher P or Phosphorous number. But I would only do this if the plant is already quite happy and healthy otherwise.

This last bit is also important. Passion vines need somewhere to climb! If you don’t provide it, they will find it. Trust me.

It can be a handmade trellis, a piece of a string, a manipulated section of wire, it doesn’t matter.

Even if you provide them something to climb, you will probably need to set boundaries with them, like an excited toddler, and show them where it is safe to grow.

I’ve had to redirect mine from growing on lights, blinds, stair railings, and more.

Passiflora strategic climbing
Passiflora strategic climbing
.

What varieties do I like to grow indoors?

Passiflora biflora

My favorite variety to grow indoors is Passiflora biflora.

The leaves are a beautiful light green in the shape of a butterfly wing. Both leaves and stems are incredibly delicate..

The plant climbs and clambers around wildly but in a peaceful manner that brings a softness to the space in which it grows.

I’ve never seen this plant flower in my home, but this isn’t something that bothers me. I’ve had plenty of other varieties flower with more ornate flowers and less beautiful foliage. I would rather choose this foliage.

Unfortunately, I rarely see it offered for sale.

It is occasionally available for purchase from Steve’s Leaves and a few Passion Vine sellers on eBay and Etsy.

I’m not aware of anyone else growing and selling this plant.

Passiflora trifasciata

Passiflora trifasciata is very beautiful and has become a bit more widely popular thanks to a few plant influencers growing it and talking about it.

However, it is not at all easy to grow in a home (none of these are, but this one seems to be particularly finicky).

It is also a pest magnet- all passion vines are, frankly.

I’m not saying it can’t be grown.

It’s worth a shot and I, for one, am still trying to grow it. I am having a decent amount of success at the time I am writing this, but this is my 4th or 5th try with the plant.

I’ve seen my plants fall apart for many reasons: underwatering, thrips, spider mites, lack of light in winter, etcetera. It’s very sensitive. I would say that it reminds me of a delicate fern or calathea, in a way. It’s a diva.

I was talking with a greenhouse owner about this plant and she was telling me that another local houseplant grower gave up growing it, despite his vast depth and breadth of knowledge in growing many types of plants. It just wasn’t happy as a houseplant for him.

And this was how the greenhouse acquired their mother plant; he gave them his plant.

It is only through sheer stubbornness that I haven’t given up myself. It’s just so beautiful that I keep trying, at least for now.

Passiflora caerulea

Passiflora caerulea’s leaves a bit less delicate than biflora or trifasciata. This helps it to withstand a little more, but it still needs regular water and can attract pests.

The leaves aren’t quite as beautiful, but they are still lovely and unique with a fingerlike or palmate appearance.

What is really amazing about this plant is the flower, though. My goodness it is stunning.

However, I don’t think mine would flower in my current home light levels unless under a growlight. And that’s exactly where I grow it.

Passilfora caerulea
Passilfora caerulea

Can you grow Passion fruit indoors?

Can you? I’m sure it’s possible.

Is it likely? Not for most people.

I grew an edible variety outdoors one summer and was able to successfully have the plant fruit, but the fruit wasn’t ripe by the time I needed to bring the plant indoors.

The fruit stayed on the vine after moving it inside but didn’t continue to ripen and started to weaken the plant over time. It was not a success.

After that, I’m not sure I’ll bother again. It’s always possible. I do love fruiting plants and experimenting with them, but I feel no need to try currently.

If you’ve had success, tell me about it in the comments below!

Disclaimer

This advice may not work for every houseplant grower, but it works for me and my plants!

If you do something different that works better for you, share it in the comments below! That’s how we learn and grow as a community. 🙂

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