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Passion flower for Pergola?

Hi, my name is Sue I am new to the forum :) I am deciding on a climber for my pergola, I really like the Blue Passion flower, Passiflora Caerulea, as I have a sunny sheltered aspect, etc, my only concern is that the climber would have to initially climb up a 4”x4” smooth wooden pole, and I’m not sure it will make it? Should I pair it with another plant to cling onto?


  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    Im not sure how large the tendrils are on a passion flower or how sticky they are, I would consider attaching a slim section of trellis as a back up if it wasnt climbing the pergola.
  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 934
    All climbers need some support initially. You could wind string or wire around the pole and then tie in your climber
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • strelitzia32strelitzia32 Posts: 767
    I'm not sure what you mean by 4 inch x 4 inch wooden pole. Is that a square pole with sides of 4 inches, i.e. 16 inches circumference? That's going to be too big.

    Passion flowers have long, strong but not sticky tendrils. They are exceptionally good at hooking on (they have a little hook at the end), and good at finding holes etc, but 16 inches is way too big.

    If you give it a bamboo stick to get started, it will climb that no problem. Then, once it's established and about 18" tall, start training it in repeated S shapes so you have a long snake up your pergola. Leave at least 24" between each S, because further new growth will come from the axils. Passionflower flower on new growth, so if you do this you can trim back the old side growth each year and keep the main structure (they're hardy, but wind and cold can kill them).

    If your pergola doesn't have thin trellis where it's going to climb, you can use tightly tied string or twine. Passionflowers are totally happy grabbing on to string. They don't like anything that's more than 4 to 6 inches wide, i.e. Large trellis. You can force them to grab on by manually pulling the tendrils through, but that's a lot of hassle.

    Finally, make sure your pergola isn't in a windy, frost spot. Passion flowers do better against more solid walls like brick, where they have some protection and radiated warmth. They might not do as well hanging in the air on a pergola!

    Lots of different types of passiflora though.
  • strelitzia32strelitzia32 Posts: 767
    Here's one I'm training across a path to make a green canopy, just using a bit of string.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358
    Some wires, either attached vertically or wrapped round and secured in a spiral will be fine, or some decent mesh - heavy duty stuff, not chicken wire - wrapped round will give it enough leverage until it gets high enough to do it's own thing. The wires/mesh will be covered. 
    Or - large staples [the kind for fencing wire] knocked in to give you something to attach string to, and tie in the growth as it climbs. Screw in vine eyes will also work. They need to be decent ones too, not too lightweight.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thank you everyone. Its a long square post (the pergola legs) so will wrap some wire around it. I am worried that the wind on the pergola will kill it, as strelitzia32 pointed out, are there other passiflora that like these conditions? The pergola is near a fence and its a fairly smallish garden but its north facing (the seating area there gets the sun at the end of the day) Maybe I should consider other plants such as Clematis? I dont want to buy something that will die, I have spent so much money on plants already this year, I am starting to run out!
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358
    edited July 2020
    There are certainly loads of clematis which will be perfect.
    I don't grow Passion flowers as I think they're horrible, and wouldn't like my conditions anyway, but I believe they like a sunnier spot, so perhaps someone can confirm that for you.

    For clems - take a look at Taylor's Clematis, Thorncroft and Hawthornes, and you'll find plenty to choose from.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,565
    edited July 2020
    I'm with FG. I like the interesting flowers but the foliage always seems to look scruffy to me, and you see a lot more of the foliage than the flowers. If I had a pergola I would probably train a grape vine over it, or wisteria perhaps. Then you're taking advantage of the way the bunches of grapes, or  wisteria racemes, dangle down from overhead. And the foliage is more refined.
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