A favourite in warm temperate to tropical Australian gardens where they can grow year round, the passionfruit originates from South America. This lovely climber has it all; lush foliage, beautiful flowers and of course, delicious fruit!
In warmer zones with mild winters, passionfruit can be planted throughout the year. In cool or cold zones, plant only during the warmer time of year from October to March.
Passionfruit vines usually fruit around 18 months after planting. Generally, they will produce two crops per year — one in late autumn and another in late spring, so be sure to begin fertilising at the
end of summer and again at the end of winter. This can be done with a foliar fertiliser such as SeaMax Fish & Kelp or Searles Flourish once a fortnight or use a single dose of Searles Kickalong Fruit & Flower Organic Plant Food for a bumper crop of fruit. Fruit should mature in under 3 months and will be best tasting when fully ripe and about to fall off the vine. In circumstances which may be detrimental to the fruit, such as adverse weather conditions, ripening fruit can also be removed from the vine and allowed to ripen indoors. Healthy vines should be good bearers of fruit for 3–5 years. After this time, they should be replaced.
Passionfruit are not especially prone to disease and healthy, vigorous vines should have few problems. However, sometimes they may fruit poorly, in which case it is first advisable to examine their growing conditions. Correct planting and positioning of your vine can help it flourish and produce plenty of fruit.
Passionfruit is sensitive to extended dry periods and frosts, which can adversely affect fruit yields. Fruiting can also be poor if the vine is exposed to strong winds or constant, heavy rain at the time of flowering.
Passionfruit needs full sun all year round and good airflow, so allow enough space around the vine and don’t allow them to be smothered by other crops or hedging plants planted too close to them. Soil should be slightly acidic and have good drainage, which can be achieved by mixing plenty of organic compost into the soil before planting. If your soil is heavy clay, don’t dig deeper into the soil. Instead, build up mounds of soil mixed with compost on top of the existing ground and use this for planting. This will prevent the roots from becoming water logged.
Pests and diseases
In warmer areas, fruit fly attack can be identified by the presence of corky, raised patches on the skin of the fruit. Attach Searles Fruit Fly Traps according to the instructions to control this problem. Always pick up and dispose of any fallen fruit from your passionfruit plant or other fruit trees. This can prevent fruit fly from appearing in the first place.
Leaf and fruit spots can be recognised as brown spots on the leaves surrounded by yellow. Eventually, affected leaves will fall off the plant. This problem can be controlled by applying Searles Mancozeb as directed.
Passionfruit woodiness virus is spread by aphids and has no cure. The good news is that it is rather rare. The leaves of affected plants will become rough and crinkled looking with raised, yellow veins. Fruit will become wrinkled, its skin very thick and the pulp bland and undeveloped. In such cases, the only treatment is to cut the vine out and replace it.
Passionfruit planting tip…
Passionfruit have shallow roots which can be susceptible to drying out, so keep them well mulched and be careful not to disturb the roots by digging or planting around the base.
Did you know?
Many of the varieties of passionfruit which are available at your local grocery store are also available to be grown in the home garden, so do a taste test to help you decide which varieties to grow!
Passionfruit need to be planted near a strong structure like a fence, pergola, verandah or trellis as they can become very heavy when laden with fruit.
Dig your food!
Dietitian and Nutritionist Deb Blakley from Kids Dig Food writes:
“ The wonderful flavour of passionfruit packs a powerful punch. They are a good source of Vitamin C and fibre. Cut your passionfruit in half and scoop out the flesh and seeds with a teaspoon for a quick snack. Try adding to fruit salad, smoothies or juices and baking. If you’re wanting the juice without seeds, place the passionfruit flesh and seeds inside a clean piece of cheesecloth and squeeze the juice through.”
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