Passion Flower

Purple flower with traditional petals and a fringe
Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata). Photo: Rebekah D. Wallace,
University of Georgia,

Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) is a perennial, flowering vine. It is native to Florida and easy to grow. In fact, some gardeners say this plant is too easy! It certainly is hardy and fast-growing.

If you’re up for some regular pruning, passion flower is a great choice for your landscape. The flowers are stunning, and it’s even a host plant for a couple of butterfly species.


Passion flower (also called maypop) is native to Florida and hardy in zones 7B-11. Look for this plant in native and pollinator plant nurseries. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies in the summer and fall. For other wildlife, the foliage provides good, dense cover year-round.

Passiflora incarnata produces flowers in shades of lavender or purple. These gorgeous blooms are three to five inches wide with a wavy fringe over five petals. The middle of the bloom looks like a helipad, with a tiny yellow pollen sac suspended overhead. Each flower lasts about a day during the summer and early fall.

Butterfly on purple passion flower
Gulf fritillary on bluecrown passionflower (Passiflora caerulea). Photo: Jerry A. Payne, USDA ARS,

Passion flower’s ovoid (egg-shaped), green fruits are edible, but not very tasty. The fruits you may know as “passion fruit” come from another species. Retailers sell the pulp of passion flower’s South American cousin (Passiflora edulis) as “passion fruit juice.” Unfortunately, P. edulis is predicted to become invasive. The most recent status published by the UF/IFAS Assessment is, “Predicted to be invasive and not recommended by IFAS.” You can learn more at the UF/IFAS Assessment website page for Passiflora edulis.

Passion flower’s leaves are tear-drop shaped, 4-9 inches long, and evergreen. Some gardeners mistake passion flower for an invasive species because of its tropical appearance and aggressive growth rate. Though it is native to Florida, it can still be a nuisance if it grows out of control. If your passion flower becomes a nuisance plant, check out our article on removing problematic vines.

In addition to P. incarnata, there are other native species of Passiflora in Florida. These include P. luteaP. multifloraP. pallensP. sexflora, and P. suberosa. The passion flower (P. incarnata) is by far the showiest. These Passiflora species are host plants for the gulf fritillary, variegated fritillary, and zebra longwing butterflies. Zebra longwings are a forest-dwelling species, commonly found in wooded environments. If you don’t mind vines climbing your trees, passion flower is a good option for butterfly gardening on shady properties.

Planting and Care

Vine with purple flowers growing over a field of crop sorghum
Passion flower vine growing over a sorghum crop. Photo: John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University,

Plant passion flower at the base of a fence, trellis, or arbor. These species perform best in full sun but can tolerate some shade. Because the vines spread, plant it where it has room to roam. Passion flower will grow as high and as wide as the structure it grows along. Heavy pruning may be necessary to keep the vines in check.

Passion flower can tolerate very dry conditions and is resistant to pests. Caterpillars do slow the growth as they munch on the foliage, but the plant will survive. Passion flower is susceptible to nematodes.

For more information about passion flower, please contact your county Extension office.

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