Hardy(ish) Passionflowers

Hardy and Nearly Hardy Passionflowers

There are a number of passionflower species that are hardy and in recent years some very smart breeding work has been carried out with polyploid hybrids principally by Myles Irvine, a now retired gym owner, who has dedicated a lot of his time to creating hybrids that have big, colourful flowers and are, above all, hardy. They have recently become available at mainstream nurseries and will, I’m sure, mark the start of a new era in passionflower cultivation in the UK and around the world. The hardiest are P. caerulea, P. ‘Snow Queen’, P ‘Betty Myles Young’, P ‘Damsel’s Delight’ and P x colvilii. If growing them outside dig a nice deep hole, use micorrhizal fungi, water with a whole can once a week for first season and protect with fleece first winter. If your plant is very small then grow on under cover and plant out in year two. These precautions should help the less hardy ones settle, and give the really hardies a great start.

Passiflora ‘Fata Confetto’ hardy to -10C and with a lovely scent. This is also the pasionflower that we find easiest to take cuttings from. It really should be more readily available
Passiflora Fata Confetto
Passiflora ‘Damsel’s Delight’
a complex polyploid hybrid from Myles Irvine. This and the next two are every bit as hardy as P. caerulea and have bigger and more dramatic flowers. I will post a size comparison later in the season.
Passiflora ‘Snow Queen
a beautiful hybrid from Myles which outshines P. caerulea ‘Constance Eliott’
Passiflora ‘Betty Myles Young’, another great hybrid from Myles, this one is named after his mum
Passiflora ‘Betty Myles Young’ – we find this to be the most free flowering of the hardy varieties
A chance seedling of P. ‘Betty Myles Young’ This shows us what a great job breeders do in selecting the best from hundreds of seedlings. Like its parent this one is hardy but less dramatic and less free flowering.
P. caerulea vs P. ‘Damsel’s Delight’

Here you can see how much bigger P. ‘Damsel’s Delight’ is than P. caerulea

P. caerulea vs P. ‘Betty Myles Young
P. caerulea vs P. ‘Snow Queen’

Passiflora x violacea

Passiflora x violacea. This cross first took place in Fulham in 1821 and has been repeated many times since so that there are a number of different cultivars going by this name. The form pictured is quite close to the original by Mr Sabine and Mr Milne, however the one you are most likely to get these days is P. x violacea ‘Victoria’ which is more free flowering but less striking and less hardy.

Passiflora x violacea
P. x violacea ‘Victoria’

P. x violacea ‘Victoria’ and P. ‘Amethyst’ (see below) have been the best selling passionflowers in the UK after P. caerulea and P. caerulea ‘Constance Eliott’ for many years and deservedly so. They are bioth easy, borderline hardy and very free flowering. A great place to begin if you are starting a collection

Passiflora x kewensis ‘Amethyst’
Passiflora x kewensis ‘Amethyst’

Passiflora x kewensis ‘Amethyst’ (or just P. ‘Amethyst’ to its friends): This is a lovely coloured and free flowing hybrid (often confused with P. ‘Lavender Lady’ and frequently labelled amethystina, both of which are separate plants). It is hardy down to about -8 or so if allowed to get its roots deep in the first year and given a sheltered spot. The x kewensis is the result of recent research and it had to take the name from a very lovely hybrid now called ‘Kew Gardens’. The rules of plant naming are simple in principle but can be a tad confusing. Easiest perhaps to just refer to this as Passiflora ‘Amethyst’

Passiflora tucumanensis =n3.

Passiflora tucumanensis =n3 The =n3 part of the name indicates that it is triploid, having an extra set of chromosomes. I wil put a note about this in the tehnical notes section. This is a quite small flowered, pretty and lightly scented one. Allegedly hardy to -10 but I’ve not tested that yet.

Passiflora x colvilii. This cross, dating from 1824, has been done many times and they are a varied bunch. Coming from hardy parents (caerulea and incarnata) it is pretty hardy once established.
Passiflora ‘Allenstyle 3’ and Passiflora ‘Allenstyle 1’ These are not official names, they are a couple of seedlings we selected from an open pollinated Passiflora ‘Amethyst’.Their hardiness has not yet been tested and they are nothing special, but we like them.

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