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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Passiflora, Plant diseases--Diagnosis, Plant diseases, Master gardeners

I have a passion flower that I brought in for the winter. It has lost all leaves and has sticky little brown spots on it . How do I get rid of the brown sticky things? And how do I get the leaves to grow back. Would putting under a grow light for the winter help.


I read up on Passionflower cultivation and pests in the book Passiflora: Passionflowers of the World by Torsten Ulmer & John M. MacDougal, Timber Press (2004).

Under the section, Overwintering, it says that in winter, passionflowers suffer from lower temperatures, shorter days, and low light, and therefore this season is the most critical period for these plants. Before night temperatures drop below 10 degrees C, the more sensitive container plants, such as Passiflora quadrangularis and P. vitifolia, should be taken indoors. Depending on their resistance to cold, other species will need to be taken to their winter quarters later on; for now, though, these plants should just be cut back and thoroughly scrutinized for pests. Unlike many other decorative plants, passionflowers keep their foliage in winter, with the exception of certain herbaceous species such as P. incarnata, P. lutea, and P. bryonioides. Do you know if your plant is any of those three (so we will know if its loss of leaves is normal and not a sign for alarm)? [This is from p. 49.]

About the brown sticky spots, it is extremely difficult to make a diagnosis or suggest a treatment, sight unseen. If your plant was not supposed to lose its leaves, and the leaf drop is a sign of severe stress, then those spots could be the result of the plant's health being poor (as in low resistance to disease). The spots could be bacteria, viral, fungal or even from some insect (although I read through the list of these and could not tell what it might be).

Your plant would be a great candidate for the Master Gardeners to whom the public can take their plants for advice and diagnosis of problems. I found a Master Gardeners of Ontario, which you can search for your particular region.

Date 2018-04-11
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Passiflora

Are passion flower and passion fruit the same vine, or two different plants? I think I remember that we had yellow fruit on the passionflower vine.


Passion flower and passion fruit can be the same thing. The vine primarily grown as an ornamental is also sometimes called passion vine, and it is in the same genus (Passiflora) as the vine cultivated for its fruit. The passion fruit most commonly eaten is Passiflora edulis, which doesn't do well with our winters here in Western Washington, but Passiflora 'Incense' and Passiflora incarnata can survive our winters and produce edible fruit. Another passion flower species, Passiflora caerulea, is often grown here, but the Sunset Western Garden Book says its yellow-orange fruit "isn't very tasty."

Date 2018-06-27
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Garden design, Passiflora, Phygelius, Salix, Ceanothus

Do you want that "mature garden" look, but don't want to wait a decade to achieve it? Check out Fast Plants by Sue Fisher (Fireside, $16.00) to learn about trees, shrubs, vines and perennials that will grow up in a hurry. A few suggested plants for a near instant effect include:

  • California Lilac (Ceanothus)
  • Cape Fuchsia (Phygelius)
  • Bluecrown Passionflower vine (Passiflora)
  • Willow (Salix).
The author insightfully includes information on controlling growth because there is a fine line between fast and overly vigorous!

Date: 2007-09-18
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May 31 2018 13:14:08