Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting a Little Passionate

This has been my best year yet for passiflora ("passion flower") vines.  The main reason for this is that we have yet to get Gulf Fritillary butterflies in any numbers.  Usually, they are here in abundance by this time and have laid eggs all over the passiflora vines.  The hungry caterpillars then "passionately" eat all the vines up.  The lack of caterpillars means that my passiflora vines are growing like weeds with nothing to stop them.

In the above picture you can see how abundant and lush the growth is on one of my vines.  Such a mixed blessing because the reason I planted them is to attract the Gulf Fritillaries. 

It doesn't hurt either that we've had abundant rain for the last month or so, just when the passifloras are really taking off.  Aren't the flowers striking?  They have a light, sweet fragrance too. 

This is a picture of another of my vines covering the chainlink fence in front of my house.  This plant is easy to grow nearly anywhere in the continental US, at least the native vine is.  Be careful to get one that is hardy for your area because there are several varieties of passiflora.  Some types cannot take freezes without dying.  In addition to attracting Gulf Fritillaries they also attract Zebra Longwing butterflies in areas where they are found.  Plant your vine in either full sun or partial shade.  They need adequate water, but really are carefree.  I've seen no other pests besides greedy caterpillars. 


Becca's Dirt said...

What a beautiful flower. The vines are so full and lush. There have been so many extremes in the temps this year.

Elephant's Eye said...

I do hope that your butterflies are about to arrive.

meemsnyc said...

What a gorgeous flower! Pretty!

Jeannie B. said...

They are pretty. We both live in Louisiana and I am always surprised at the variety. I didn't even realize they would be different. I just bought the "Passion Flower" plant and mine look similar but different than yours. I do have some caterpillars and Butterflies too but I didn't know what kind. Mine doesn't smell that I've noticed but now I need to go smell them to see!