Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is a delicious and nutritious fruit (technically, a berry!) that is enjoyed by people all over the world. Did you know that passion fruit is not only edible, but also has many medicinal properties? It is no wonder this fruit has become so popular! In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about growing and harvesting passion fruit, as effortlessly as possible.

We will cover the different varieties of passion fruit, what they like and dislike in terms of climate and soil, how to pollinate them, and how to harvest them. We will also provide some helpful tips on pests and diseases that can affect your crop, as well as some delicious recipes that use passion fruit!

Origin and Characteristics

The passion fruit is believed to have originated in South America, and is now grown in many tropical and sub-tropical regions around in the world. Their juicy and aromatic flesh is divided into segments that contain numerous small seeds and a jelly-like substance, both of which are edible and delicious. The oval-shaped fruit has a leathery skin with either yellow or purple coloration. The taste of passion fruit varies depending on the variety, but it is usually sweet, with a tart aftertaste.

Varieties of Passion Fruit

There are many different varieties of passion fruit, but the most common types are the purple (Passiflora edulis) and tropical yellow (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa) varieties. The yellow variety is commonly know as Maracuya. Other types of passion fruit are less common, and some are inedible.

Purple Passion Flower

Climate

The passion fruit vine prefers warm weather and plenty of sunshine, making it ideal for growing in warmer areas of the U.S., such as Florida, Hawaii or California, and many other tropical and sub-tropical areas. Plant it in a sunny or semi-shaded spot if you live in a climate that goes through periods of extreme heat.

Passion fruits do not like cold weather, so they are not suitable for growing in areas where the temperature drops below 50°F (10° C).

THE BASICS

Common NamePassion fruit, golden passionfruit, purple passionfruit, maracuya
Botanical NamePassiflora edulis
ClimateTropical or sub-tropical
Best Time to PlantEarly spring
LightFull sun or partial shade (in extreme heat)
SoilMoist, but well drained soil
Pests and DiseasesFusarium wilt, black rot, powdery mildew, nematodes
LikesAbundant pollination from bees, space to stretch out, consistent pruning, lots of fertilizer and water, fertile soil
DislikesWet soil or stagnant water, cold air or frost, heavy winds

Propagating

How to Grow From Seed

Passion fruit can be grown from seed, and although some people insist that it is not as reliable as growing from cuttings, we have found that as long as the seeds are fresh, propagation is predictably easy. As long as you are not attempting to plant seeds of hybrid plants, as these will not be successful, and will not end up like the original hybrid plant you started out with. Buy seeds either from a nursery that can tell you the exact variety you are buying, or plant seeds from your own plant that you already know is not a hybrid.

The seeds should be planted in a pot or container that is at least 12 inches deep and filled with rich, organic soil. The top of the soil should be level with the surface of the seed. Gently press the seed into the soil and water well. Place the pot in a sunny location and keep the soil moist, but not wet, until the plant germinates. It can take anywhere from one and a half to four weeks for the plant to emerge. If you purchase the seeds from a store, keep in mind that they are generally older and may take up to a few months to sprout.

If you find that not enough seeds germinate in this way, you can coax the seeds by soaking them in warm water after you rub them gently with some sandpaper or gritty gravel.

When your seedlings have reached between 10-12 inches tall, you can transplant them to their final destination. Make sure you choose carefully, and think about their long-term growth and the space they will need once their stretch their feet out.

How to Grow From Cuttings

One of the easiest ways to propagate passion fruit is by taking stem cuttings. Take a healthy stem from an existing plant and remove the leaves from the bottom two-thirds of the cutting. Place it in a pot or container filled with moist soil and place the pot in a sunny location, keeping the soil moist until the cutting roots.

Make sure that the cutting you use is from the thicker part of the plant, the woodier part towards the stem of the plant. Cut away smaller shoots and leave the strongest leaf on the cutting. You can plant it in water and wait for root growth before transplanting to a pot, or plant directly in a small pot along with some fertilizer or rooting hormone. The rooting hormone is not necessary, but can help if you soil is not of tremendous quality.

Caring

Soil and Water

Passion fruit prefers soil that is rich in organic matter and well-drained. The soil should be watered regularly, especially while the vines are expending energy producing fruit. Amend the soil with plenty of fertilizer, mulch and compost. This is a hungry, hungry plant! The lush leafage and flowers cannot sustain their explosive growth without help.

Pruning and Training

Once your passion fruit starts to grow, if it is happy and getting proper care, it will show its appreciation by impressing you with its acrobatics. You don’t have to do much more then point it in the right direction, and its young vines will latch on to whatever supporting structure you have placed it near. The passion fruit vine grows quickly, so take care to keep and eye on it and prune it to maintain its shape and health.

In tropical regions, it is best to prune after the growing season, when the fruits have fallen off and the plant is taking a rest. Pruning is absolutely essential, as existing shoots that have bore fruit will not fruit again. New berries will form on the new vines growing from where you have pruned. You can trim all the dead or dying stems and leaves, and even thin it out further if your passion fruit vine looks especially full of foliage. This will greatly help with air circulation and prevent fungal disease that can sometimes settle in if the vine is too dense. If any fungal disease is present, remove the affected parts of the plant right away.

Pollination

Even though the purple variety of passion fruit, Passiflora edulis, is self-pollinating, it will still need the help of bees. This is because the pollen of passion flowers is heavy and sticky, making it very difficult for the flowers to be pollinated by wind alone. Despite being self-compatible, cross-pollination will result in higher yields and better quality fruit for this purple variety.

The Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa, known as yellow or golden passion fruit, is self-sterile, meaning it can only reproduce through cross pollination with other varieties. To achieve cross-pollination, you need to plant at least two different varieties of passion fruit in your garden or fairly close together if you have a large piece of land.

Passion Fruit, Almost Ripe

Planting many different herbs and flowers throughout your garden is the easiest way to achieve easy pollination. They will attract plenty of bees while providing you will food and a lovely landscape to admire. Our favourite way of helping our passion fruit vines is by hanging a few decaying logs in the vicinity, to attract bees and keep then nearby.

Harvesting

Passion fruit can be harvested once it turns yellow or purple and the skin is soft to touch. You can wait to pick the fruit from the ground as it naturally falls off the vine, or use a sharp knife to cut the fruit from the vine and remove any stems. One of the pleasure of growing passion fruit is that you don’t have to worry about when to harvest it. The fruit will simply harvest itself. All you have to do is walk from passion fruit vine to passion fruit vine with a basket, collecting the proceeds. The fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks and both the fruit and juice can be frozen for longer periods.

Potential Problems

Pests and Disease

Passion fruit is susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases, including Aphids, Mealybugs, Whiteflies, Scale insects, Fungal diseases such as Powdery mildew and Black rot.

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that suck the sap from the leaves of the plant. Mealybugs are small, white insects that feed on the sap of the plant. Whiteflies are small, winged insects that feed on the sap of the plant. Scale insects are small, hard-bodied insects that suck the sap from the leaves of the plant.

Powdery Mildew

One of the most common diseases affecting passion fruit is powdery mildew. This fungal disease causes a white powdery substance to form on the leaves and fruit of the plant. The disease can stunt the growth of the plant and cause the fruit to rot.

Black Rot

Another common disease to passion fruit is black rot, which causes the fruit to rot and become covered in a black fungus, and anthracnose, which causes the leaves of the plant to turn black and die.

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt, also known as ‘collar rot’ is a fungal disease that affects the passion fruit plant. It mainly affects varieties of passion fruit that are able to grow in cooler climates. The fungus enters the plant through the roots and travels up the stem, affecting the leaves and fruit of the plant. The disease causes the leaves to wilt and die, and the fruit to rot and become covered in a black fungus. Fusarium wilt is fatal to the plant, and there is no known cure.

The best strategy for preventing Fusarium wilt is simply using resistant species of passion fruit. There are a few passion fruit varieties that are resistant to Fusarium wilt, including: purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis), granadilla (Passiflora ligularis), and Jamaican passion fruit (Passiflora tarminiana). These varieties are less likely to contract the disease, but they are not immune. You can also graft susceptible varieties to the resistant yellow variety (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa) to create hybrids that will be resistant.

Other ways of preventing the spread of Fusarium wilt is to plant passion fruit in well-drained soil and avoid overhead watering, which can spread the fungus. If a vine is infected, simply get rid of it far from your other vines as you can.

In the Kitchen

Food Uses

Passion fruit can be eaten fresh or used in a variety of recipes. It is often used to make juices, smoothies, ice cream, pies, and other desserts. Passion fruit is also a popular ingredient in cocktails and other alcoholic drinks. Passion fruit juice is a popular drink in Brazil and is often made into cocktails or mixed with otherfruit juices. Passion fruit jam is a popular spread in Australia, and passion fruit ice cream is a popular flavor in New Zealand.

Passion fruit can also be used in savory dishes such as chicken or fish. The acidity of the fruit helps to balance the flavors of the dish.

Nutrition and Medicinal Uses

It is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants and has thus been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions such as hypertension, anxiety, and insomnia. Passion fruit contains twice the amount of Vitamin C as oranges and can help boost your immune system. Additionally, it is a good source of potassium which can help regulate blood pressure. The antioxidant properties in passion fruit may also help protect your body from free radicals and harmful toxins.

Common Recipes Using Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit Cake
  • Passion fruit ice cream
  • Passion fruit juice
  • Passion fruit cake
  • Passion fruit martini
  • Passion fruit mojito
  • Passion fruit mousse
  • Passion fruit jam
  • Passion fruit salad dressing

And Many More!

Passion fruit is a versatile fruit that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you enjoy it fresh, juiced, or in a savory dish, there is a way for everyone to enjoy passion fruit. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest fruits to grow in the tropics, and requires minimal care.

About US

We are a family of avid gardeners, lost and then found again in the majestic landscape of the tropics. Each day, we try to share bits and pieces of our journey, so that you too, can possess the confidence and ease to grow your own food in a tropical climate.

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