Maypop Passion Vine For Butterflies

Native to the southeast, Maypop Passionvine has truly astonishing flowers. It serves as the host plant for multiple butterflies.

The flowers of Maypop Passion Vine are real show-stoppers. These frilly blooms are intricately detailed, and their strong sweet fragrance fills the air on a warm summer day. Learn how to grow this spectacular flowering vine.

Maypop Passion Vine

Maypop Passion Vine Basics
  • Passiflora incarnata
  • Native to: Southeast U.S., north to Pennsylvania and west to Kansas
  • Zones: 6 – 11, will freeze to the ground in the winter but return quickly in late spring
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Water: Drought-tolerant but flowers best with regular water
  • Growth: Fast-growing vines can reach 30 feet, vigorous climber
  • Flowers: Purple, very fragrant flowers appear in summer through first frost
  • Fruit: Lightly sweet, ripens several months after flowers appear

Maypop Passion Vine

Maypop as Butterfly Host Plant

Four butterflies use Maypop for their caterpillars: Variegated Fritillary, Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing, and Julia Longwing (mostly found in South Florida and Texas). These caterpillars all have spikes covering their bodies. These spikes are harmless to humans, but deter predators like birds. Learn more about these butterflies here.

Maypop Passion Vine

General Maypop Passion Vine Notes

Though it’s a native wildflower in much of the eastern half of the U.S., Maypop Passion Vine has an aggressive growth habit and may not be right for every garden. Like most vines, it spreads underground and has a habit of popping up a few feet from where it was planted. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to pull up, and those new sprouts can be given away as new plants. It grows very quickly, and loves to climb. If you need to cover a chain-link fence in a hurry, this might be the way to go.

What’s in a name? Passiflora literally translates to “passion flower”, another common name for this plant. The common name passionvine is said to come from the belief that the different flower parts represent aspects of the Christian crucifixtion. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center notes: “The 10 petal-like parts represent Jesus’ disciples, excluding Peter and Judas; the 5 stamens the wounds Jesus received; the knob-like stigmas the nails; the fringe the crown of thorns.” Incarnata means “flesh-colored,” perhaps referring to the fleshy look of the pistols and stamens.

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.