Red panama passionfruitPassionfruit (Passiflora) is a sweet fruit that grows on a vine. It’s native to the southern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina and grows well in subtropical and some warmer temperate areas.

There are many different types of passion fruit and most can be grown from seed. A friend gave me a grafted passionfruit years ago and it grew well but after I moved house, I took some of the passionfruit with me and grew new vines from seed.

The fruit from those fruits now produce a large, red, sweet, abundant fruit. Whilst not frost tolerant, most of the fruit sets and had developed well before frost occurs. Therefore, frost affects the leaves and not the fruit.


Propagating passionfruit from seed

Choose seed from a passion fruit that is excellent in taste, size, colour and other features. The better the fruit, the better the seed.

Use a friable and well draining seed raising mix or compost placed in small 50cm pots (tube stock pot) and bury the seed. It’s usually a good idea to plant three times more seed than required. This allows for failed germination and also we can select the best and strongest appearing seedlings to plant out. Plant one seed per pot.

We can use dry or moist seed. Plant them about 1cm deep into the seed raising mix and water them in.

Place the pots in a sunny position and ensure the soil remains moist. Seeds can germinate within 2 weeks. When you can see roots at the bottom of the pots, they’re ready to plant out or pot up.


Cultivating passionfruit

Passionfruit will grow best in a rich, fertile and well draining soil. Clay soils should be transformed with composts and some river sand and sandy soils with some clay and composts. Passionfruit will grow best in full sun positions.

The bigger and deeper the hole we make to plant our passionfruit, the better of the plant will be. That goes for most plants and trees. Think of the hole as a future investment and the organic matter we add as deposits into a bank account that will earn interest.

Passionfruit is fairly hardy but will thrive with a modest amount of deep watering. This is particularly the case during and after flowers and before the fruit falls. However, regular, shallow watering will encourage surface roots and reduce the plants ability to withstand extremes of heat and periods of lack of water.

Passionfruit is a vine and one plant can grow up to 10 metres. Therefore, we need to plant our passionfruit and train it to grow up fairly strong trellis structure.


Harvesting passionfruit

Most varieties of passionfruit will tell you when they are ready for harvesting. How? Their fruit drops. When we wait for the fruit to drop we don’t have to wait for skin wrinkling or fruit to sweeten. They will be ready to eat.

If we harvest before the drop, we will need to wait for a period of time for sweetness to develop in the fruit. Before that time, we’ll tend to have bitter fruit.



Pruning passionfruit

Most passionfruit can be pruned after fruiting and once the leaves and vines have died back. Passionfruit flowers and fruits from the new growth. Therefore, we need to prune severely every year – around the end of winter usually.

If we wait for the vine to die back and new growth to appear we’ll know exactly where to prune it.

We need to cut off all old growth to a number of points where there’s new growth. We want to cut on a slight diagonal just above the node of that new growth.

Here’s a video to show the basic processes of growing and pruning passionfruit. I hope you find it helpful.


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