The brilliant purple, blue, and white hues of a recently-bloomed passion flower are undeniably beautiful. Sadly, passion flowers only bloom for a single day. But why do these stunning tropical flowers have such a short lifespan?
Passion flowers only last for a day due to self-preservation. Passion flower plants require full sun. If their blooms last a long time, they might create too many offspring plants and suffer from overcrowding. Also, passion fruits consume lots of plant resources while they form.
This article will discuss why passion flowers typically only bloom for a single day. If you’ve ever wondered why these gorgeous flowers have such short lives, you’ve come to the right place.
Why Plants Produce Flowers
Before we delve into the inner workings of passion flower plants and their blooms, we must understand why plants produce flowers.
Flowers are the key to reproduction for many plants since they create seed-bearing fruits. These “fruits” are not always edible, but they typically serve to protect and carry seeds to the soil, helping to germinate and generate new plants.
Flowers have pollen-producing anthers (usually colorful thread-like parts) and a pollen-accepting stigma (a raised part near the center of the flower).
When pollen from the anthers attaches to the stigma with the help of pollinators (e.g., butterflies, bees, hummingbirds), the stigma gets to work, creating seeds or a seed-bearing fruit.
At this point, the bloom typically closes and slowly transforms into a seed pod, berry, or fruit.
While some plants can spread via their root system and sprout up new growths beneath the soil, these plants technically aren’t reproducing. Instead, they’re spreading. That means without flowers, many plant species would quickly go extinct.
Why Passion Flower Plants Produce Short-Lived Blooms
If flowering plants rely on their flowers to reproduce, why do they produce such short-lived blooms?
After all, doesn’t it make more sense for these flowers to last a long time, ensuring they create seed-bearing fruits? Not necessarily.
There are two main reasons passion flowers bloom for only a day — namely, their environmental and nutritional needs.
Passion Flower Plants Have Particular Environmental Needs
Passion flower plants are native to tropical regions. Consequently, they need full sunlight, nutrient-rich soil, and plenty of water to thrive. They also need a lot of space.
Passion flower plants must be up to 12 ft (about 3.7 m) apart for maximum growth. That’s because these plants can reach heights of 30 ft (9.1 m). They can also become just as wide as they are tall.
If these plants produced flowers with multi-day bloom times, pollinators would have an easier time fertilizing the blooms and producing seed-bearing fruits.
These fruits, unless harvested, would eventually fall and release their seeds. These tiny seeds could then germinate and grow in the soil surrounding the parent plant.
But because passion flower plants have specific (and somewhat intense) environmental needs, the seedlings could jeopardize the health of the parent plant.
Additionally, passion fruits (created from fertilized passion flowers) aren’t exactly easy for passion flower plants to produce. That’s because they require nutrients that may not always be available where they’re growing.
Passion Fruits Consume Lots of Nutrients
Passion fruits consume lots of nutrients that include calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. These are transported from the soil around the plant’s root system and up through its stems.
When a passion flower blooms and ends up getting fertilized by a pollinator, it can be bad news for the plant (as counterintuitive as that sounds). If most of the surrounding soil’s nutrients are used up for fruit production, there could be very little left for future plant growth.
For this reason, passion flower plants are biologically resistant to producing long-lasting blooms. The shorter the lifespan of a passion flower, the better off the parent plant will be over the long term.
Of course, providing plenty of soil nutrients to your passion flower plant via organic fertilizers can help offset any damage done via fruit production. It also helps you enjoy more blooms each spring and summer.
For example, you can grab a pack of Dr. Earth 5-5-5 MINIS Life All Purpose Fertilizer (available on Amazon.com). It’s completely free of GMOs and other substances that may harm your plant.
How To Encourage Passion Flower Growth
Even though you won’t be able to get your passion flowers to last longer than a day, you can encourage your plant to produce more flowers. And if you’re wondering what you could possibly do with that many flowers, you can check out my article discussing various ways of using passion flowers after they blossom: What to Do With Passion Flowers After They Flower
Anyways, cultivating a passion flower plant to produce more blooms is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of these flowers for longer. It can also increase the chances of creating passion fruit, which is not only tasty but has been shown to have certain health benefits.
If you’re growing passion flower plants for their fruit, you’ll want to maximize flower production.
The best ways to encourage your passion flower plants to generate more blooms are as follows:
Consider Your Passion Flower Plant’s Needs
Every plant has specific growth needs, and passion flower plants are no exception.
If you’d like to maximize the chances of generating blooms and fruits, ensure you’re giving your plant everything it needs to thrive.
Refer to the table below to discover what passion flower plants need to grow and flourish:
|Sunlight||Soil Type||Soil pH||Spacing||Fertilization Needs||Fertilizer Type|
|Full||Moist, but well-draining||Neutral (6 to 7.5)||Ideally 12 ft (3.7 m) between plants||High; every month starting in early spring and ending in early autumn||Balanced; 10-10-10|
If you’re growing a passion flower plant from a seed or tiny seedling, you’ll also need to practice patience.
Most passion flower plants don’t reach full maturity until they’re about one to three years old. Consequently, younger plants may not produce many flowers (or any) even when grown in ideal conditions.
Passion fruit can also take a while to grow, with most transforming from a fertilized flower into ripened fruit for almost three months or about 80 days. So, if you’re hoping to increase bloom numbers to produce fruit, you’ll also need plenty of patience.
Add Specific Types of Fertilizers
Growing passion flower plants benefit from a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. But if you’re hoping to increase flower and fruit production, you might want to add specific nutrients instead.
For example, nitrogen can help your passion flower plant boost its leaf and stem growth, but it can also prevent your plant from producing blooms and fruits.
Likewise, adding potassium and phosphorus to the soil around your plant can encourage more flowers to grow and produce more fruit. But they’re a poor choice if added before your plant has reached full maturity.
So, for the first three years of your passion flower plant’s life, stick with balanced fertilizers or add nitrogen to help your plant grow quickly. Once your plant has matured, you can focus on increasing potassium and phosphorus levels.
Make Your Yard a Pollinator-Friendly Zone
If you’re looking to produce passion fruit, you’ll want to make your yard a pollinator-friendly zone. You can do several things to make your outdoor areas attractive to pollinators. For example, you can:
- Plant various flowering plants known for attracting pollinators (daisies, sunflowers, zinnias).
- Install a bird bath to provide water to pollinators.
- Grow garden herbs that attract pollinators (basil, lavender, mint).
- Set up a hummingbird feeding station.
If possible, make your garden a pollinator-friendly place directly after the last frost of the winter season. Doing so ensures your outdoor areas become a haven for pollinating insects and animals, increasing your chances of producing passion fruit.
Protect Passion Flower Plants During the Winter
In the wild, passionflower plants only grow in warm, humid, tropical locations. While cultivators have created varieties that can grow in other environments, most passionflower species can’t survive harsh winters or frosts.
So, if you live in an area that gets cold during winter, you’ll need to take extra steps to protect your passion flower plants throughout the cooler weather.
For example, as the cooler autumn weather rolls in, you’ll want to:
- Cover the soil around your passion flower plant with thick mulch (preferably wood mulch).
- Avoid adding fertilizer until the early spring season.
- Place a sheet over steams, leaves, and vines before hard frosts.
These extra steps won’t prevent your passion flower plant from entering a dormant stage. But they can help reduce the amount of damage harsh winter can cause to the plant. It also makes it easier to bounce back and experience new growth when warmer weather arrives.
Like other flowering plants, passionflower plants produce blooms to create seed-bearing fruits.
But because passion flower plants require full sun and plenty of space to flourish, they produce a minimal amount of flowers. These flowers also have a comparatively short bloom time of about 24 hours.
If passion flower plants produce more flowers with longer bloom times, they could suffer from overcrowding and limited resources as new plants spring up around the parent plant.