The Plant Native

Passionflower

Highlights

The Passionflower may be one of the top five flowers in the entire world. There are several species of Passionflower that are native to the southern United States (particularly Florida). Native Passionflowers put out a leafy vine that flowers in the spring and summer. Passionflowers are host plants for the Gulf Fritillary butterfly, meaning every Passionflower vine planted helps these butterfly populations thrive. If you live in the South, plant one (or a few) and enjoy their beauty while feeding butterflies.

All this gorgeousness AND it helps butterflies — !!

Dig Deeper

Explore the history, types, and where to plant native Passionflowers

Table of Contents

Several species of passionflower vines are native to North America, including the Maypop (Passiflora incarnata), Purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), and Gulf Coast passionflower (Passiflora lutea). All of these species feature unique and intricate flowers and come in a range of colors, from purple to pink to white. Let’s dig into the benefits (there are so many!) of planting Passionflower vines.

Passionflower vines are host plants

Passionflowers = Gulf Fritillary butterflies

Passionflower vines are the host plant for Gulf Fritillary butterflies. Host plants are very special plants, in that they are the only plant a species of butterfly will lay their eggs on, and the only plant their caterpillars will eat. Caterpillars can be very picky eaters!

Planting Passionflower vines ensures that Gulf Fritillary butterfly moms will have a place to lay their eggs, and babies will have enough food to survive into butterfly adulthood. To say it clearly: without the Passionflower vine, there would be no Gulf Fritillary butterflies. 

How to grow Passionflower

These plants are happy in a wide range of sun—full sun to partial shade—and well-draining soil. They prefer to climb on trellises, fences, or other support structures, so make sure to provide them with something to climb on. Native plants are also relatively low maintenance and don’t require much fertilizer, making them a great addition to any garden.

What to plant with Passionflower vine

There are so many native plants that pair well with Passionflower vines, including Carolina Jessamine, American Beautyberry, Azaleas, and Buttonbush.

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American Beautyberry

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Azalea

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Buttonbush

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Carolina Jessamine

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Milkweed

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Southern Catalpa

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Southern Magnolia

A white Sweetbay Magnolia flower blooming, photographed growing on a branch of the Sweetbay Magnolia tree.

Sweetbay Magnolia

Passionflower vines are stunning native plants that help feed butterflies and pollinators while also looking amazing. If you live in the south, these are musts for your garden.

Want to keep exploring other great native plants? Here is a quick guide to Southern natives to get you inspired:

UPDATED —
02/19/2024
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