Passion Fruit Care Guide
The Maypop is a member of the Passiflora genus of plants, a close relative of the Passion Fruit native to tropical South America. The Maypop, however, is cold hardy to zone 7 and is native to the southeastern United States. They are fast-growing, drought-tolerant, and even make stunning houseplants.
The story behind the name Maypop comes from the sound if stepped on as it may pop. The roots also lay dormant in the ground during the winter and pop out of the ground in May.
We’ll go over some of our favorite things about growing the Maypop, and also its growing requirements.
The Maypop grows many different shapes of leaves.
The most interesting thing about Maypops is the different shapes of leaves it produces. Some are oblong, others the shape of a duck foot with 3 or 5 lobes; it varies from plant to plant. The theory behind this is that it distracts pests from targeting the plant and getting to the fruit. Behind the leaves and on the stems are tiny little droplets that are actually nectar. The plant is a host to some pollinators but can quickly get taken over if too many bugs lay their eggs on the leaves. The droplets actually distract the insects from overcrowding the leaves of the plant.
Maypop flowers are short-lived, and look like they are from out of this world.
These beautiful flowers are short lived, with a lifespan of about 24 hours. The plant can have dozens of flowers simultaneously with each opening at a different time.
The flowers themselves resemble some type of alien life-form. They have large white petals which are secondary features, hidden behind hundreds of purple rays (known as the ‘corona filament’) which are believed to direct pollinators to the nectaries in the center of the flower.
Maypop vines quickly climb up any structure they can.
As beautiful as they are, Passifloras can be aggressive growers. They can grow up to 20 feet in a single year, growing on anything that can support them. They have tendrils that resemble pea vines and can make beautiful privacy screens!
If you are growing them inside, make sure to use a very long and sturdy bamboo pole (or something similar). The vines have a subtle fragrance to them making them a great indoor plant.
How to care for your own Maypop:
Lighting: Maypops require bright light.
Soil: Maypops aren’t picky when it comes to soil, although too rich of a soil will lead to more green growth and less flowers.
Water: Keep your Maypop watered regularly to encourage healthy flower and fruit growth. Be careful not to overwater.
Container Size: A 10-12” pot is needed if growing indoors or in containers. They have large root systems so you'll want to make sure they have plenty of room.
Support: You should use a sturdy pole/trellis. You may need to train the first vine up, but after that they will readily climb themselves.
Fertilizing: As with many fruiting plants, too much nitrogen when they are flowering can actually create more leafy growth, which can cause them to drop their flowers and stop fruiting. In other words, you will want to fertilize during its early growth using a general-purpose fertilizer.
Passion flowers are beautiful and unique, making them a great conversation piece! The flowers are like presents, and you will want to take lots of photos of them while they are open! They are easy to care for and also great for beginners.