in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Growing Arizona Passionflower: Passiflora arizonica

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A member of the Passionflower family, the Passiflora genus has about 500 species, three of which are native in Arizona. Arizona Passionflower is unusual because it is a night bloomer.


Form: Climbing vine.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 10' long.
Flowers: An elaborate structure up to two inches in diameter. Ten white petals with dozens of pale purple filaments, three white stigmatas (female), and five yellow-green stamens (pollen-bearing male). Fragrant. It opens late afternoon for the night and closes after pollination. It may remain open the next morning if not pollinated.
Bloom: Late summer and fall.
Fruit: Bell pepper-shaped, about one inch in diameter, poisonous when green. It turns yellowish and falls off the vine when ripe and edible. It contains a small amount of pulp, mildly sweet to tart with a delicate flavor, containing many small black seeds.
Leaves: Deeply cut with three major lobes, the two side lobes having secondary lobes, covered in fine hairs. Stinky odor if crushed.
Bracts: Flower buds and fruit are surrounded by thin, tendril-like, many-branched bracts, stinky if touched.
Stems: Hairy, dry to touch, reddish, no thorns, herbaceous, becoming woody with age, with tendrils that assist climbing.
Roots: Possible suckers from roots.
Wildlife: Attracts night-flying moths. Possible larval host to Gulf Fritillary butterfly.
Toxic / Danger: All parts are poisonous, containing cyanide, except ripe fruit.
Origin: Arizona and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses

USDA hardiness zones: 8b-10. Dies to ground in hard freezes and regrows from roots.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Somewhat. Depends on summer rains.
Sun: Full sun.
Water after becoming established: Once every two weeks to twice a week, depending on appearance. Needs more water when fruit are developing.
Soil: Well drained, tolerant but prefers organic matter, pH 6.6-7.8 (neutral to slightly alkaline).
Mulch: No.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings.
Uses: Native plant specimen.


Former scientific name Passiflora foetida var. arizonica. Seeds may take several years of freeze/heat and wet/dry cycles to germinate.
In the picture at top right, the flower is still in the process of opening and its filaments have not fully straightened.

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Passiflora arizonica flower

Passiflora arizonica fruit

Passiflora arizonica leaf

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Latest update: November, 2019