How To Control Passion Flower Vines

Passion flower vines are stunning plants, perfect for creating some privacy in your yard and some seasonal color. Unfortunately, these plants are also tough since they experience explosive growth, which can be tricky to maintain. So what are the best ways to control a passion flower vine’s growth? 

To control passion flower vines, you must regularly maintain the plant by cutting back new growth and removing flowers before they seed. Another method is growing them in pots with less room to branch out and take over. A trellis is an option to stop plants from climbing other things. 

In the rest of this article, I will discuss methods for minimizing passion flower vine growth and some ways to prevent them from getting out of hand in the first place. So if you want to learn more about growing these plants without them taking over your yard, read on. 

1. Cut Back New Growth 

The first step to preventing passion flower vines from taking over your entire yard is to cut back new growth as it appears. 

These plants grow actively during the spring and summer and tend to die back in the winter, especially in colder zones. So it’s essential to prune your plants before the growth gets out of hand and you’re looking at a more challenging project. 

How To Prune Passion Flower Vines 

Pruning passion flower vines is pretty simple, so long as you haven’t let them become too unruly. Otherwise, you will be cutting through a lot of woody plant bits. Additionally, you should prune the plants during late winter or early spring. Pruning the plant while it’s still dormant will ensure it doesn’t affect its later growth negatively. 

What you will need:

  • Pruning shears. 
  • Gloves. 

Here are the steps for pruning a passion flower vine:

  1. Collect clean tools. You want your tools to be free of bacteria or other harmful pathogens. Disinfecting them before use is an excellent way to ensure your vine stays healthy. You can clean them by washing the tools in a gentle soap or using a light disinfectant that won’t burn the plant. It’s also important that your pruning shears are sharp enough to make clean cuts on the plants.
  2. Remove broken or dead wood from the vines. You first must locate any dead wood or broken bits clinging to the vines. These bits aren’t beneficial for the plant and must be removed to keep the plant looking nice and less dead. Plus, this is when you can best shape the vines. 
  3. Cut off leggy growth. Once most of the dead wood is gone, the next step is to focus on flyaway vines. These are the bits that are sticking up above the rest of the plant and are pretty wispy. You want to remove these to make the plant appear more uniform and prevent those vines from taking over more of your yard. 
  4. Trim the growth into the shape you want. Pruning is your chance to shape the plant when it returns in the spring. Be careful not to overdo it and make the plant look sad and sparse. You want to trim the plant into a fan-like shape, with the fan at the top. 

The most important thing to remember is to do the pruning sparingly, as it can harm your vine plant. That said, passion flower vines are highly resistant to most types of stress and are relatively complex to get rid of. So pruning is even more critical since you need to do your best to keep these plants in check before they spread too far. 

Pruning your plants can also help them stay healthy and live longer.

Another critical step is to have good pruning tools. Some of the older woody growth on these vines is difficult to remove, so you need sharp shears. However, it’s best to avoid tools that will quickly tire your hands, as large vine plants take time to prune back completely. 

Prune Unhealthy Vines 

Technically, this is an excellent step to follow whenever you’re pruning your passion flower vines. If you notice parts of the vine that look sick or aren’t growing well, it’s a good idea to cut them back because the sick vines are taking up healthy space vines could occupy. 

Also, if you notice some plants are unhealthy, it’s a good idea to check them out for possible illness or pest infestation. Since passion flower vines attract many insects, it’s pretty standard for pests to hang around them and even damage the plant. So keep an eye out for harmful infestations

A vine is considered unhealthy if it:

  • isn’t growing well or at all. 
  • there’s discoloration. 
  • the leaves appear burned or crunchy. 
  • pests cover the vines. 

These are all signs that some of your vines aren’t healthy and need removing. Removing unhealthy vines is essential as it will harm the rest of the plant if left alone. Additionally, removing poor-growing vines makes room for healthy ones and saves space in your yard where the plant would otherwise branch out. 

An excellent preventive measure to take is applying a neem oil spray solution to the plant. This oil is relatively safe for your plant and will kill or deter other pests from residing in the vines. 

Using Neem Oil on Passion Flower Vines

Neem oil is a natural pesticide, making it safe for most plants. Mix it with water, then add it to a spray bottle to mist the entire plant. For it to kill pests effectively, you need to get under the leaves on the vine as well.

It’s also important to apply the oil when beneficial insects aren’t around, so many gardeners recommend using it early in the morning or late evening. You should never use it when the sun’s at its highest point since it could scorch the leaves on the vines.

Lastly, you’ll need to keep applying the neem oil to your passion flowers regularly to eliminate all the pests. If you stop too soon, the remaining pests can easily take over the vines again. Generally, you’ll need to apply the oil daily for about three to four weeks.

2. Remove Flowers Before They Seed 

The next step is to remove any flowers before they seed and transfer them to more areas of your yard and garden. Passion flowers only open for one day before dying, so it’s a good idea to deadhead them as they pass. Otherwise, you will end up with more plants than you bargained for. 

Also, these passion flower vines tend to flower at different times. Therefore, you will generally have a few flowers at a time, and the plant will never bloom all at once. So you must be vigilant and remove them to prevent the further spreading of the vines. They have a long blooming period between spring and fall, so you’ll need to check on them often during that time.

Removing the flowers isn’t a complex process. Using your pruning shears, you can clip behind the base of the flower. You can then dispose of it in case it’s already spreading unwanted seeds. 

Pro-tip: Don’t transfer the flowers to the compost bin if they have started seeding. Otherwise, you might grow more passion flower vines in your compost. 

3. Lay Off the Fertilizer 

A huge mistake many passion flower vine owners make is fertilizing an already rapidly growing plant. Because of this plant’s appetite for growth, many consider it invasive, especially since it’s so difficult to remove entirely from space. 

You can fertilize the vine during the growing season if your space can tolerate its spread. However, avoid overfertilizing it. Otherwise, you’ll end up with more and larger plants than you can handle. It doesn’t take much fertilizer for the passion flower vines to spread out of control. 

Passion flower vines are considered heavy feeders and tend to consume nutrients quickly in the soil. Therefore, a good rule of thumb for fertilizing these plants is to wait 4-6 weeks between fertilization and to skip it entirely during the winter. 

That said, if you feel the growth is too rapid, you can spread out the fertilization sessions even further. You also don’t need to fertilize them during the winter months since their growth becomes dormant, and the vines aren’t absorbing as many nutrients from the soil.

Overall, laying off the fertilizer can calm the spread of passion flower vines if you feel they’re growing too rapidly.

4. Grow Your Passion Flower in a Container 

A great way to ensure you maintain control of your passion flower vines as they age is by growing the plant in a container. A container prevents the roots from spreading through the soil and makes it far more difficult for the vine to latch onto things you don’t want it to. Additionally, when the plant starts to grow, you can easily move it around. 

If you plant your passion flower in a container, it’s essential to select a pot that is large enough to allow for growth. With this growing method, you will have to transplant the vine as it grows to make room for its more developed root system. The larger the container, the less frequently you will have to mess with transplanting it. 

You also need to be aware of the pots’ drainage ability since poor drainage will result in root rot. Find a pot with drainage holes on the bottom, or make your own. 

Alternatively, you can place coarse materials like pebbles at the bottom of the pot before adding the soil. Also, it’s best to use soil that isn’t too dense and will drain well

5. Grow Your Vines on a Trellis 

Another option to try and control your passion flower vines is utilizing a trellis for their growth. A trellis won’t halt the explosive growth that occurs with these plants, but you can use the structure to guide their growth as the vines latch on to anything they can. 

A trellis is also a good guide for how large you want your plant to grow. You can trim anything that spills over if you want the vines to stay manageable. 

Selecting a good trellis for these massive vines can be tricky, but using one is a good idea if you want to avoid the plant growing over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard. A traditional trellis made of solid iron will do fine.

Training Passion Flower Vines

You can “train” your passion flower vines to grow up any trellis as long as you know how.

Start by finding vines climbing the trellis where you don’t want them to. You can gently unravel them from the trellis and move them as needed. They’ll usually keep growing in that direction, but you might need to move them from time to time.

It’s also not a problem if the vines cross over each other. It won’t harm the plant and can make the trellis look fuller.

6. Plant Near Other Exotic Flowers 

As discussed, passion flower vines attract insects and are often referred to as butterfly plants. These vines also grow well with other tropical vines or plants that attract the same kinds of insects. By planting other exotic plants near them, you can sometimes box them in and prevent them from spreading too far. 

Some of the plant’s passion flowers enjoy include:

  • Butterfly bushes.
  • Butterfly weed. 
  • Pentas.
  • Joe Pye weed.
  • Wisterias. 

You want to be careful, though, because, without regular pruning, the passion flower vines can choke out other plant life. If you’re vigilant in pruning, you shouldn’t have a problem. Giving each plant enough space to grow but not overgrow is also essential. 

7. Cut the Suckers and Apply Weed Killer 

Another trick you can try is to cut the suckers very close to the ground and apply weed killer onto the open cut. Weed killer will help stunt further growth from the plant without killing all the vines. 

However, it’s important to note that you must be careful with the weed killer, and this step isn’t recommended unless you want to get rid of some of the vines. 

A liquid weed killer is your best bet since you can more easily apply a drop on the suckers you don’t want to continue to grow. Only use a little bit and monitor how the rest of the plant responds before going crazy with the weed killer. 

You’ll also need to take care to keep the weed killer away from other plants in your garden. Any other nearby plant is sure to absorb the liquid, even if you try to keep it as close to your passion vine plants as possible.

So, you’ll want to use this step very sparingly. It’s not always necessary to control passion flower vines unless you need to get rid of some of them.

8. Perform Regular Maintenance 

Lastly, regular maintenance is the most crucial step to controlling passion flower vines’ rapid growth. If you want to avoid the vines taking over your entire yard, you must manage them properly. 

Managing these plants can be tedious at first, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few years of handling them. The basics include pruning them regularly and remembering to deadhead flowers. 

However, removing the flowers is less important than cutting the plant back when it goes dormant each winter. Cutting back the plant is the simplest way to stay up on the new growth. 

It’s best to create a pruning schedule and input it into your digital calendar so you remember. Of course, the plants only need to be pruned once a year, but there are undoubtedly other steps you can take to prevent explosive growth from taking over. 


Passionflower vines are fantastic plants with an appetite for growth, which is why they have created a name for themselves as difficult to manage. However, the vines grow easily and, if left unmanaged, can easily take over a yard. 

So it’s essential to trim them back yearly, avoid over-fertilizing them, and grow them in manageable locations. 

These plants are stunning and worth having in a garden so long as the proper steps are taken to prevent them from spreading to unwanted areas. Pruning and plant maintenance are the keys to controlling this vine’s growth. 

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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