Passiflora foetida, or Running Pop, is a perennial vine that climbs with tendrils, which is native to the Old World Tropics. It is an extremely polymorphic species. The stems are covered in stiff bristly hairs, with dark green 3-5 lobed leaves. The leaves have a very disagreeable odor when brushed against or crushed. Our plants grew 13 feet (3 m) in one season. They are very vigorous growers and need plenty of room to grow. The plants do extremely well in containers and are hardy in the landscape in USDA zone 9-11. (Note: I would like to thank my friend Debbie in San Antonio for sending me seeds of this plant.)
Blooming: Our plants in the greenhouse have flowered non stop since planting them. The 1-2 inch (2.5-5 cm) purplish flowers are solitary in leaf axils. The petals are slightly shorter than the sepals, with white corona filaments banded with purple. The globose fruit is bright red to yellow and is edible. Since the species is polymorphic, flower color can range from white, to lilac and purple.
Culture: Passiflora foetida need full sun to light shade, with a moist, well-drained soil. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat most to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. Plants are well watered during the growing season and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. We fertilize them monthly with a balanced fertilizer. In late fall, we trim back the old growth to 3-4 nodes. During the winter months, water is somewhat restricted and fertilizer is withheld until new growth starts in spring.
Propagation: Passiflora foetida is propagated by cuttings and from seed. Seed sown in early spring will germinate in 14-21 days at 70° F (21° C).
Passiflora foetida was featured as Plant of the Week August 25-31, 2006.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.