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Passiflora lindeniana

This is a rare look at the amazing Passiflora lindeniana - the Tree Passion Flower.  It looks nothing like typical Passiflora vines because it's not a vine!  It is a free-standing, woody tree, growing up to 60 feet tall and 4 feet wide at the base!  Its outrageously large leaves usually grow 1 to 1.5 feet long, but can potentially get to 3 feet!  This is an endangered species from the cool mountains of Venezuela, where there are only a few stands left.  Because of its cool climate origins, it probably will not thrive in hot climates.  If you can provide the right conditions, it's a very fun plant to grow.  It is extremely hard to find, and one of the "holy grails" among Passifloras.

Passiflora lindeniana

Passiflora lindeniana takes on a palm-like shape, with good branching near the top.  It reportedly sheds its leaves each winter, but most years it stays evergreen for me here in San Francisco, both outdoors and indoors.  Inside, it grows quite vigorously for a woody plant.  Since it isn't a vine, it is completely free of tendrils.  It hasn't flowered for me yet, but a picture of the 3 inch flower is here.  Its yellow, 2 inch fruits are supposedly edible.  The plant is nearing extinction in the wild due to a local species of fly, whose larvae eat the developing fruit.  In most years, all the fruit of every tree are infested, making it near impossible for the plants to reproduce.

I have no information about how much heat it can handle, but it seems to prefer temperatures below 80 degrees F (27 C), with cool nights.  I suspect that it won't be happy in temperatures that are consistently above 85 degrees F (29 C) and nights are warm.  I believe that it can only survive down to about 25 degrees F (-4 C).  It has been successfully grafted onto some other Passiflora species, which might allow it to be grown in warmer or colder conditions than it is used to.

It grows well in a large pot.  Like most Passifloras, it enjoys rich, well-draining soil.  Aim to keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy), and do not let it dry out.  The plant likes filtered sun, and probably will need some protection from strong afternoon sun.  Over 50% humidity is recommended.  The plant can respond to stress by dropping its leaves, but it re-grows them once conditions improve.

 

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