Passiflora Constance Elliot

Much Missed: White Passionflower

Occasionally I lose a plant that I really miss. There have been plants that haven’t survived after I’ve planted them. Usually because I’ve put them in the wrong place in the garden or because I’ve bought something that doesn’t suit our climate or soil.

It may be that the plant is short-lived anyway, or else that it isn’t very hardy and will be unlikely to survive a hard winter. That was the case with the lovely white passionflower ‘Constance Elliot’. This passionflower was growing alongside a grape vine on our arbour. It seemed fairly happy there as it wove its way through the vine leaves and produced a sprinkling of gleaming white flowers.

This year it failed to reappear in spring. I waited hopefully in case it was just late, but no, it was gone. I was lucky to get a few years from it as I knew it might not cope with a really hard frost. It was always going to be chancy whether it could survive in a fairly exposed area of our garden.

Passiflora Constance Elliot

I particularly loved this plant. The white flowers had a great freshness against their background of green leaves. They had a simpler, somehow more ‘natural’ look than the Passiflora caerulea has. I enjoy the flowers of caerulea with their lovely rings of blue filaments, but I feel that the plainer white flowers of Constance Elliot fit into our garden more easily. (Caerulea is great for the conservatory, where things can be a bit more exotic.)

Fortunately, I had taken the opportunity to photograph this passionflower both in the garden and in the studio. It makes an interesting change to photograph after caerulea (where the blue filaments tend to dominate the image). The mostly white colouration of the flowers means that there is more emphasis on the shapes of the flower as a whole and on the dark purple markings of the stigmas and the yellow pollen on the anthers.

Normally I would have just bought a replacement for the plant but I haven’t seen them around so much this year. (Actually, I think that’s just because I haven’t been out much. The plants are probably out there.) The garden centres and other stores often have them as small, very inexpensive plants that can be quickly grown on in a warm year, but I haven’t seen them there. It could be that Brexit has caused problems with some plant supplies – I don’t know. I do know that I will be on the lookout for another plant of ‘Constance Elliot’ next year!

Passiflora Constance Elliot

29 thoughts on “Much Missed: White Passionflower

  1. It’s lovely, but — despite my love of white flowers, and my love of the passionflower vine, it’s not as appealing to me as it is to you. I suppose it’s because it’s so different from our native P. caerulea. To my eye, it looks artificial: almost like a plastic flower you’d find in a discount store bin.

    That said, I certainly can see why this version appeals to you photographically; the color contrasts are great. It’s also true that these would stand out in the garden in a way our natives wouldn’t. What we have here is a great example of Γ€ chacun ses goΓ»ts — to each his (or her!) own. I do hope you can find some to replace the ones you lost!

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    1. I think that if any of the passionflowers were native here, then they’d look much more at home in the garden. And I’d be delighted to have it there. I do like all the passionflowers – though most I’ve only seen in photographs – they’re all beautiful to me… πŸ™‚

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      1. It’s sometimes hard to figure out why any flower does or doesn’t appeal. I’ve sometimes wondered if subconscious memories don’t play a role, or our past history with certain flowers. I generally don’t favor pink flowers, but I love pink hollyhocks, because that was the flower I made dolls from as a child. And I’ve never been able to really love gladiolus, because I grew up with them as “the funeral flower”!

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      2. I think there’s a huge number of influences on or liking or not liking plants – and childhood must be an important source of those. There are not many plants I don’t like but I really dislike French marigold that have the orange and maroon colourings. It’s a mix of that particular yucky colouration and the fussy shape of the flowers, LOL!

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    1. It’s worth a try if you see them amongst those cheap climbers you get in the plastic sleeves. (If you can get one while it’s still fresh stock.) They grow quickly enough that you could treat one as an annual and not worry about the winter. It does like a good bit of sunshine. (So might not have been happy this year!)

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  2. I “met” my first passionflower only a few years back in Germany, where my Dad’s parents were successfully growing them in their garden. I had no idea something that has such an exotic, tropical look could grow in the temperate climate of central Europe.
    I hope you will be able to find and grow another Constance Elliot in your flower garden.

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    1. I’d seen one growing in a pub garden in England years ago, while we were still living in Scotland. It seemed impossibly exotic for the UK. So when we came down to England, I just had to try growing them. πŸ™‚

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  3. That looks like it’s wearing a weather station.. πŸ™‚ I’ve tried a few lady’s slipper orchids but have lost them all and have finally admitted defeat. I am sorry you lost your Passionflower but not your passion for flowers.

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    1. Hehe! If there were little weather stations out there at the moment, the readings would be disappointing! I suspect my passion for flowers will be a lifetime thing… πŸ™‚

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  4. How sad it never came back. My neighbour bought a passion flower, it grew along his wall a couple of years and he was surprised when it lasted no longer. Passion flowers are fairly short lived if outside, aren’t they?

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    1. They do seem to be short-lived if we get much cold winter weather. (Or maybe it’s too much winter rain?) I don’t find them easy to keep going for long – even in pots I’ve set them back by overwatering them! Oops! But it’s usually easy enough and can be cheap to get a replacement…just not so easy this Covid-ridden year.

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  5. Beautiful images as ever Ann, of one of my favourite flowers. I love the white passion flower. I had a P caerulea for a year here, doing well, but sadly killed by freezing temperatures and winds last winter. I don’t feel I can put another plant through that!
    A late comment, the first attempt apparently failed.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Stephanie! You could always treat them a bit like bedding and buy the cheap plants sold in the little packs for about Β£2 or so. If you find a nice healthy one it will give you some flowers for the summer. :)I haven’t seen so many of those packs this year but I’ll look out for them next year.

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    1. I’m sure I’ll get to do that – probably next year. I just need to do a little bit of plant-shopping at the right time. πŸ™‚

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  6. I remember the first time I ever saw a passion flower. It was in Israel and I thought surely that was the only place they grew because they were so unique! Of course I have found them since, right here in Florida. But have never captured a photo even remotely as sharp and detailed and beautiful as yours!

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  7. I love Passion flowers. We currently have 2 in our garden. One white, which is in a tub slowly growing up an obelisk. A purple variant that is in one of our borders that goes wild each year, it will cling and attach itself to anything. I swear if you stand still long enough it would grow round you.

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    1. Ours never grew as strongly as your purple passionflower – but there were a couple in my parents’ garden that grew like mad things. I’m looking forward to being able to buy a couple of new plants next year – they’re so wonderful to photograph. πŸ™‚

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