Passion flower is one of those plants that looks like it could be from another planet. Besides being a stunningly beautiful flower the plant packs some great medicinal properties. The leaves, flowers and stems have been used for centuries for their calming, sleep inducing and muscle spasm reducing effects. Passionflower was approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S. but in 1978 was taken off the market because “safety and effectiveness had not beent been proven”. I have grown and used the dried flowers and leaves as a tea, it had a pleasant taste and may have created some relaxation in me, but who knows maybe that was just a placebo effect.
Passionflower is incredibly easy to grow and can be done so by seed, cuttings or layering. Just be careful because if it finds a place it likes the plant can start to take over an area.
STARTING FROM SEED
Find a reputable seed company and get yourself some seeds. To get the best results lightly rub the seed with a peice of sandpaper to scar the outside, then soak in warm water for 24 hours. Push the seeds about 1/4 inch into a moist, well draining potting mix and keep in a warm humid area for 2-4 weeks until they germinate. Once they sprout keep seedlings out of direct sunlight for the first few days then move them into an area with plenty of sunshine and let them grow!
To grow using these techniques you will need to find somebody with an already established plant willing to share. To root a cutting use a sharp pair of scissors to clip about 4-6 inches of new growth, strip the bottom most leaves and stick into well-draining potting mix, lightly water and keep in a shady humid area for about a month. Once you notice new growth and the plant has established roots it can be moved to a permanent location. Layering is a similar technique but instead of cutting, the branch is bent and buried in soil while still connected, watered well and removed from the mother plant once roots are established.
Have fun experimenting with this plant, you’ll be blown away once it starts flowering!