En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - May 26, 2009

From: Garland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Removing spent flowers from passion flower in Garland TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


To encourage more blooms, should I remove spent flowers on my passion flower vine?


There are several members of the Passiflora genus that are native to Texas: Passiflora affinis (bracted passionflower), Passiflora foetida (fetid passionflower) and Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower). Most of them are native to South or South Central Texas. So, we chose the most glamorous one, Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower) to use as an example. Since it is not native to North Central Texas, we are assuming that what you have is one purchased from a nursery. 

Our webpage on that plant says:  "To encourage bushiness, pinch the plants back during their first growing season." So, obviously, it won't hurt the plant to be pinched back, or flowers pinched off. Most flowering plants will be inspired to bloom again if the bloom is removed before the seed forms. The main purpose of a flowering plant is to make more plants just like it; in order to do this it has to set seed. If the flower is taken off before the plant does that, it will just go in and make more flowers. Now, there is a limit to that. Making flowers and seeds is a high-energy proposition for the plant, but if the plant is happy where you are growing it, it should do just fine. In fact, the first thing a passionflower does when it is planted is start putting out suckers. In Garland, where it is not native, it probably won't be so invasive, but in East Texas, they can simply take over. 

You might find this article interesting from Floridata, Passiflora incarnata.

Passiflora incarnata

Passiflora incarnata

Passiflora affinis

Passiflora foetida



More Vines Questions

Coral Honeysuckle suitability for Central Texas Fence
September 05, 2012 - I recently purchased a house in Liberty Hill. My backyard is enclosed by an iron fence (painted). I am interested in creating a habitat for birds, so I'm thinking of planting coral honeysuckle vine...
view the full question and answer

Plants for wall with afternoon sun in Oregon
July 03, 2008 - Portland, Or. We have a stacked cement wall about 30 feet long that receives afternoon sun from the west. we would like to plant something edible along that wall that can tolerate afternoon sun. G...
view the full question and answer

Poison ivy? vine in NJ
July 30, 2012 - I have a vine growing among some vegetation in my backyard. It has a leaf with 3 "points" with ridges along its edges. The smaller leaves are reddish which is why I thought poison ivy but definite...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive Asiatic Jasmine from Austin
October 25, 2012 - Is Trachelospermum asiaticum considered a native texas plant? Is there an example growing at the Center that can be viewed?
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine growing near river in New Hampshire
August 31, 2009 - I found a small vine growing near a river in NH. It has five point leaflets similar to sumac but much smaller. The flowers were pink with a deep purple/burgundy on the inside. The flowers are in clus...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center