The Q&A Archives: Are they hardy?

Question: Hi, I was wondering at what time of the year do they start selling gardenias and camellias and if they are all hardy. Is the First Love gardenia one of the ones with the biggest blooms? Also if the hibiscus Blue Satin hardy? One more thing, I bought a clematis named Passiflora and is growing some kind of fruit. Is this some kind of seed?

Answer: I think rather than a clematis you actually bought a passion fruit vine (Passiflora). The fruit is edible and is sometimes called maypop. The fruit will quickly turn from green to deep purple (or yellow) when ripe and then fall to the ground within a few days. They can either be picked when they change color or gathered from the ground each day. To store passion fruit, wash and dry them gently and place them in bags. They should last 2 to 3 weeks at 50? F. The fruit is sweetest when slightly shriveled. Both the fruit and the juice freeze well. The flavor of passion fruit blends well with citrus and many other fruit flavors, and is quickly appreciated by many people as they become familiar with it.

As for gardenias and camellias, they are both hardy, evergreen shrubs, as is the Blue Satin hibiscus. They should be available in your garden center now. First Love gardenia does have the largest flowers.

Enjoy your garden!

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