Name: passion fruit, Passiflora sp., most popular is the black passion fruit, P. edulis cvrs.
Plant type: evergreen climber.
Foliage: generally glossy green, variable leaf forms.
Climate: tropical and sub-tropical, suitably warm positions in warm temperate and only the warmest, sheltered location in cool temperate.
Soil: rich soil with free drainage is essential.
Position: warm, sunny location. Must be frost free.
Flowering and fruiting: large, often colourful and perfumed flowers have an instantly recognisable form. Flowers usually appear from spring onwards as days grow longer. Fruit follows.
Feeding: requires regular feeding.
Watering: must be well watered, but will not tolerate being wet or waterlogging.
The passion fruit is a truly multi-purpose plant. It is a vigorous tendril climber—the tendrils are those little “springs” you’ll notice beside the leaves—that will cover all manner of problem surfaces such as wire fences or arbours with minimal input required. Then it bears an abundance of often fragrant and distinctive flowers that, if all goes well, will become a crop of incredibly delicious fruit. What’s not to love?
Passion fruit comes in a range of foliage forms, sizes and patterns, but the most commonly seen is the glossy, three-lobed leaf forms. Foliage is very densely held, and in adequate sun the plant will retain good cover low down.
Passion fruit vines only remain productive for around 5–7 years. Add a new vine every 4 or so years to keep fruit production up.
Passion fruit can be grown for many uses, including:
There is some variation in the conditions required by the various varieties, however the rough rules of green-thumb are:
For best results, follow these tips to care for your passion fruit:
In frost-free zones, prune after the main fruiting period. In all other zones, prune no later than late winter or early spring. Remove older growth, tangled-up growth and end tips to encourage bushiness. As flowers and fruit are produced on new season’s growth, pruning isn’t necessary, but it does improve fruit production.
Most problems with passion fruit will be soil related. Planting in the right spot in quality soil will avoid most issues. Powdery mildew may be an issue on the foliage of some varieties in humid conditions. This can be treated with a suitable low- or non-toxic fungicide.
Growing passion fruit from seed
Passion fruit is most often grown from seed. This germinates readily if cleaned and planted when fresh into a quality seed-raising mix.
Growing passion fruit from cuttings
Take semi-hardwood cuttings in summer, then dip in cutting gel and place in a small pot and keep in a warm location. The cuttings should strike well.
If using products to deal with pests, diseases or weeds, always read the label, follow the instructions carefully and wear suitable protective equipment. Store all garden chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.
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