En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 20, 2012

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Propagation, Problem Plants, Vines
Title: Controlling Passionflora Incarnata propagation
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson


Would a cinderblock raised bed, 8 inches in height, be sufficient to contain the roots of passiflora incarnata and keep them from traveling to places where I don't want the vine? Are the roots deeper than 8 inches?


No, not quite deep enough.  Mr Smarty Plants had quite a search to try and get some real data on Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower) and its root system!

Its real clear from the regular stuff one finds on the web that it propagates via roots and a couple similar techniques.  This article from TAMU notes air-layering and root propagation.  They considered that mowing was sufficient to keep the vine under control.  On the  other hand, this comment from a garden forum claimed really long distances.  

But - Mr Smarty Plants hit the gold mine with a proper scientific paper on the subject!  

Weed Science. 1985. Volume 33:484-490 "Reproductive Biology and Herbicidal Sensitivity of Maypop Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)" by  WEHTJE, REED, and DUTE.

Two bits of information caught my eye.  They noted:  "Sections taken from the horizontal axes were within 30 cm of the soil surface, which constitute the primary means of reinfestation."  [30cm is quite close to a foot]  and the first figure in the paper was of the "Root system of maypop passionflower at the end of one year's growth from a seedling." This figure showed new growth emerging from the ~30cm area measured from the surface and 170cm [5 1/2 feet!] as it's longest extent [in depth].

To my mind, you can probably reduce your control efforts quite a bit with a raised bed, but not totally.  If you are willing to do a little bit of controling and/or mowing outside your raised beds then you probably can keep it where you want it!



From the Image Gallery

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

More Propagation Questions

Propagation of poinsettias
June 09, 2005 - How do I grow poinsettias from seed pods?
view the full question and answer

Male and female Maclura pomifera trees in Boaz AL
September 06, 2010 - To grow a Maclura pomifera female tree, do I have to have a male tree for the female to produce fruit?
view the full question and answer

Lookink for bulbs of German Blue Bells in Weatherford, TX.
July 09, 2012 - I am searching for a plant that is called "German Blue Bells". They are tubular as seed. Like tiny iris only bands around the tubular. The flower looks like a morning glory with an off set bloom....
view the full question and answer

Propagation of woody plants by cuttings in Cairo, NY
May 12, 2009 - I have a tree in my yard and I am not sure what it is, it has these gorgeous pink cluster like flowers on it, my friend loves the tree and wants to know the steps to take a piece of my tree so she can...
view the full question and answer

No berries on dogwoods in GA
November 18, 2010 - I have 4 native dogwood trees. I have owned the property for 4 years. They have never produced berries. Can you tell me why? are the trees male and female, and could I have all males?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center