University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #FPS457

Passiflora incarnata Wild Passion Flower, Maypop1

Edward F. Gilman2

Introduction

Maypop is undoubtedly the showiest of the native Passiflora species. It is an evergreen, flowering vine that climbs by tendrils. Its height and spread varies depending on the structure it climbs on. The flower is a spectacular pink and purple and generally reaches a width of 3 to 5 inches. Each unique flower lasts about one day, appearing in the summer and early fall. The flowers fill the plant, making maypop a fine flowering plant for most of Florida. The leaves have three lobes and smooth margins. Ovoid, green fruits are abundantly produced and can be found on the vine along with the flowers. Fruits are light weight and the flesh is spongy and white. They are attractive and edible (but not very tasty) and attain a diameter of 2 ½ to 3 inches.

General Information

Scientific name: Passiflora incarnata
Pronunciation: pass-siff-FLOR-ruh in-kar-NAY-tuh
Common name(s): wild passion flower
Family: Passifloraceae
Plant type: vine
USDA hardiness zones: 7B through 11 (Fig. 1)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: attracts butterflies; attracts hummingbirds; cascading down a wall
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Description

Height: depends upon supporting structure
Spread: depends upon supporting structure
Plant habit: spreading
Plant density: dense
Figure 1. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]
Growth rate: fast
Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: odd-pinnately compound
Leaf margin: serrate
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: parallel; pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: pink; purple
Flower characteristic: summer flowering; fall flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: oval
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit cover: fleshy
Fruit color: green
Fruit characteristic: suited for human consumption

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: medium

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: occasionally wet; acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: moderate
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: aggressive, spreading plant
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Maypop can be supported on a fence, trellis or arbor. Members of this genus are often grown for their attraction to butterflies. Try this one for a nice addition to your native landscape. Fertilize two or three times each year to maintain vigorous growth.

Passion flowers are drought tolerant and can be grown in different soils. They can be found growing close to the beach on other shrubs and small trees in north and central Florida. This plant does require a position in the landscape that receives full sun for best flowering.

There are at least five other native species of Passiflora in Florida, lutea, multiflora, pallens, sexflora, and suberosa. Passiflora incarnata is by far the most showy with pink and purple 4-inch-wide flowers appearing in the warm months. Although its natural range extends only slightly into south Florida, it can probably be grown in most of south Florida with little trouble. In most cases, this plant would be preferable over introduced species such as Passiflora foetida which has become invasive in Palm Beach County and is spreading.

The wild passion flower is propagated by seeds or cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

Nematodes can be a serious problem. Caterpillars slow growth by eating foliage.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS457, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date September 1999. Revised June 2007. Reviewed June 2011. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.