Thursday, August 14, 2014

Passiflora 'Sunburst' is my favorite plant in the garden, this week…

I’d been running internet searches for orange flowering vines when I ran across a listing for Passiflora ‘Sunburst’ on the website for Grassy Knoll Exotic Plants. It was beautiful, exotic and SOLD OUT. The fact it was a Zone 11 plant didn’t even get a chance to figure into the matter.

Just a day or so later I had a visitor from California, Max Parker. We were talking about the nurseries he planned to visit in the Portland area and he mentioned Grassy Knoll, what? This was the second time that name had come up, I had no idea they were local!

Fast forward to my annual spring nursery outing with friends and guess where we visited? Yep. Sadly the owner, Elizabeth, wasn’t around that day but her kind husband allowed us to shop (they are usually wholesale only) and I did purchase a small 4” start of that Passiflora ‘Sunburst’ just look at it now…

I bought it hoping for the orange flowers, but figuring since there were no guarantees the foliage was pretty wonderful all on its own...

Even in the beginning stages when it’s all folded up and showing it’s purple underbelly with green veining.

But wow, the flowers! They are a little smaller than your average passion flower, measuring about 2” across. But what they lack in size they make up for in color punch.

The first couple of blooms only lasted a day, but the most recent ones have hung around a bit longer before fading to this…

The stats on Passiflora 'Sunburst'
  • hardy in USDA Zones 10-11
  • likes well drained soil in full sun to light shade
  • can grow up to 10-20 ft, mine was growing from a single stem which I accidently broke trying to weave it back down and around the trellis. It’s now branching in several spots
  • the flowers are said to be unpleasantly scented but I haven’t noticed a foul odor, unlike from my Eryngium venustum
  • oh and those yellow dots on the leaves, they're called nectar dots but I can't find a great explanation of what that means (at least pertaining to anything but cherries), anybody know?

So now that I'm head-over-heels for this plant I'm wondering about trying to over-winter it. Obviously it's not going to make it outside. Anyone have experience? I'm thinking about cutting it back a foot or so from the ground, digging it and potting it up for winter spent under grow lights. If anyone has other ideas or experience I'd love to hear about it. And of course I'm wondering about fabulous things in your garden which have caught your attention this week...please tell us about them!

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

41 comments:

  1. sandy lawrenceAugust 14, 2014

    LOVE this bloom. New to me. Looks like a firefly among the unusual foliage, which I like as well.

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    1. Gosh, it's been years since I've seen a firefly.

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  2. Fab garden as always. Those nectar dots in actual fact is the passiflora's way of deterring a butterfly from laying their eggs (which are small yellow dots just like it) on the leaves. This mimicry fools the butterfly into thinking that leaf is already 'taken'. Makes one wonder about which one evolved first in response to the other.

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    1. Thank you Justin! Glad I asked and you were here to educate.

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  3. Great plant, such a shame it is not hardy, it would be perfect for the new trellis along the side of the extension.

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    1. If it were hardy I think I'd willingly let it cover our new fence.

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  4. That is a beautiful plant. I've contemplated getting a hardy passionflower for my garden.

    I did a least favorite plant in the garden post today, about a weed I can't get rid of. It's here: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2014/08/my-least-favorite-plant-in-garden.html

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  5. Oooo la la, love this! What a great plant. learned something new, I've never heard of nectar dots before and thanks Justin for the explanation. The flowers have such a pop of hot color and that interesting shape. Love the leaves as well. it deserves it's place in the spotlight this week

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    1. Whoops I put this link in the wrong place, LOL My favorite this week
      http://deanneart.blogspot.com/2014/08/my-favorite-plant-in-garden-this-week.html#comment-form

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    2. Yay, off to find out what your fav is Deanne...

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  6. That is absolutely gorgeous and doggone it, not hardy here either.}:(

    I think my current favorite plant in my garden this week, is my new Pothos 'Marble Queen' in it's bright blue pot.}:P I have it hanging right where I can see it from my desk and the vibrant coloring always makes me smile.

    I have another varigated Pothos, but it's no where near as lovely as this one, though its more special being from my grandparents.

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    1. You've made me think of my grandmother, she did not have a green thumb but darn it she could grow Pothos and boy did she. Thanks for the memory.

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    2. It must be a Grandmother thing, because mine is the same way.
      My grandfather on the other hand, he could plant a mean veggie garden!

      Growing up, I had a neighbor who lived across the street. I'd do odd jobs for her and have dinner with her sometimes (she was an elderly lady, sweet as can be). She had a lovely Pothos that she'd strung along the ceiling in her dining room. That plant was huge and glorious.}:)

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  7. The flower is beautiful but I like the foliage just as much; the leaves are such a great shape AND color.

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    1. Who knows, maybe Peter's right had I'll experience so much overwintering success that I'll be passing out babies at the spring plant exchange. Don't hold your breath.

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  8. I was meaning to ask you about that vine on the trellis, gorgeous foliage! Conveniently you've featured it so no more need to ask :) the foliage alone makes it worthwhile growing. Shame about the hardiness but there you, we can't have it all....

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    1. People keep saying that (can't have it all) but I choose not to believe them.

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  9. Fabulous! I love passionflowers, although I haven't grown them in quite awhile - they're a larval plant for the Gulf fritillary and, in all but one year, the plants were devoured by butterfly larva. My contribution to this week's favorites list can be found here: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/08/my-favorite-plant-this-week-adenium.html

    P.S. My problems with TO continue. I sent another message to their host.

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    1. And hence the nectar dots. And I think you've had success, I just looked and didn't see any of your posts!!

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  10. That is absolutely gorgeous. I love the foliage as much as the flowers, so unusual. Here I would be blaming the slugs for nibbling the leaves.

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    1. (knock on wood) the slugs haven't been a problem.

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  11. For overwintering - since you'll be cutting it back anyway - try rooting those cuttings. Most vines are quite easy to root as they do so whenever they touch the ground. Cuttings take up little room and once they root you can experiment with different overwintering strategies. Heck, you might even want to take a cutting or two now as a test. If it works you'll have multiple plants to work with.

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    1. Good point Alan, I think I'll do it. There are a couple of stems growing straight out, I'll start with those.

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  12. Beautiful foliage and flowers! I wish you luck in overwintering it and like Alan's idea about rooting cuttings so that you'll have too many and will have to bring them to the spring plant exchange!

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    1. I would be thrilled to have that mush success!

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  13. You know ... I actually enjoy the foliage as much as the blooms on this one. I've never tried to grow Passion Flowers because I figured my climate was too cold. But I just found out there's at least one that's hardy to zone 5! And it's native to the eastern U.S. Boy, I feel silly that I didn't know that. I'll have to look into it!

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    1. Yay! I hope you track it down and have much success.

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  14. Boy, do I have a story to tell about this vine! When you first posted a photo I tracked it down to the one source I could find, ordered it, and have it now planted in a largish pot. The nursery erroneously charged my credit card twice for the order, which included a couple more plants, so the total was approx $60. Charged twice, $120. I've asked them kindly to refund me for the double charge...no answer. I've asked them though email, phone calls, no answer. Do I out them on the blog? Is that abuse of a blog? I checked reviews of this nursery AFTER I ordered, and they weren't good. Lots of warnings about mismarked plants, etc. My order was fine, just double-charged. So...if anyone else is tempted to order, I'd stick with Grassy Knoll. I hate to out this nursery until I know for sure. They have a great plant list for rarities, and I'm sure it's just poor management, but still $60 could buy lots more plants...

    Such a beautiful vine, Loree. Nice to have all that heat this summer for it, right?

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    1. Oh man, Denise that sucks! Would you consider sending them a letter? You know the old fashioned way through the post office? Not that you should have to since you've already called and emailed, but maybe after trying that last option you would feel better about outing them online? Also I wonder if you'd consider emailing me the name. I'd like to keep an eye on this situation what with us adding new mail order nurseries to plantlust.com.

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  15. Wow, that is pretty amazing! They ARE very easy from cuttings, I use perlite as the rooting medium, and humidity is good, just use a gallon ziplock bag.

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    1. Thanks for the tips Max! (both about the nursery AND the rooted cuttings).

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    2. How did it go? Mine is growing like crazy and is just producung lots of buds these days. Need a good tip on cuttings and how to keep it alive during winter. Its in a pot now inside a glass house

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    3. All my attempts at cuttings failed, so before the first freeze I dug and overwintered it inside. It's back out in the garden now and growing like mad. No flowers yet though.

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    4. Yeah, it's a crazy grower. Shame about your cuttings, I'd really like to multiply this one so I don't lose it. I'll have a go as soon as it blooms for the first time.

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  16. Mail some cuttings to Spokane Community College Greenhouse. I will propagate it, and have lots/larger specimens ready for next season.

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    1. Well Tyler I just might have to take you up on that!

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  17. I'm late to the party as usual, but that foliage is fabulous. Such an unusual leaf shape (and love the little spots)! And the flowers are crazy.
    Here is my favourite this week: http://crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/my-favourite-plant-in-garden-this-week_17.html

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  18. Oh what a lovely plant. I had one of these. Got it from Grassy Knoll. But had a caterpillar infestation that devastated it. Very upsetting. Never flowered as they went for the leaves. How is your plant doing?

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    1. My plant is doing great (also from Grassy Knoll). Since it's not hardy here I have to dig it up in the fall and overwinter it inside. Hopefully I'll be able to plant it back outdoors soon. Sorry about your caterpillar issue, how frustrating!

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