Passion Fruit

What kind of fertilizer should we use and how much should we use?

A heavy hand when fertilizing may result in lust green foliage, but flowers that never become fruit. We only need to fertilize the passion vine twice a year, once in the early spring after pruning the vine and again in the fall after fruiting is done. Application of rich compost around the vine may also "over" fertilize the plant. Planting sites near septic tanks or compost areas where the vine may access additional nutrients can also over fertilize the plant.

Too little fertilizer will affect the vine, causing yellow leaves and lack of fruit set.

Feed the plant 10-5-200 NPK food at the rate of 3 pounds per plant, a couple of times per year or as needed.

Addition of Sulphate of Potash could help the flower set. If the vine is young, then the vigour needs to settle down before the plant becomes productive.

If the plant has been damaged by frost, give it an extra bit of fertilizer once the weather has warmed and growing season is imminent.

Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer leads to leaf growth at the cost of fruit formation. Use a balanced controlled release fertilizer for fruiting plants not a general purpose like Dynamic Lifter.

A good balanced slow release fertilizer like osmocote.

If you are using Thrive Soluble All Purpose, it is too high in nitrogen to phosphorous ratio (5:1) for fruiting trees, with the exception of leafy & stem vege's and flower — N:P:K is 25:5:8.8

Consider something like Searles Flourish Fruit Booster Plant Food (N:P:K is 11:5:27) + Trace Elements or Thrive Granular All Purpose (N:P:K is 5:5.8:4.5). Trace Elements is reasonably well balanced food for passion fruits.

Apply potash during flowering stage to turn flowers into fruits.

Use fertilizer that has more phosphate during flowering time.

A good choice is 10:5:20 NPK applied at the rate of 3 pounds per plant 4 times a year. Too much nitrogen results in vigorous foliage growth at the expense of flowering. Passion fruit vines should always be watched for deficiencies, particularly in potassium and calcium, and of less importance, magnesium. Plants that have been damaged by frost should receive a generous fertilizing after the weather has warmed.

How can we protect passion vines from diseases?

Pest infested plants become stressed plants which affect fruit set. If the vine becomes infested by ants or aphids, try spraying the plant with Pyrethrum to eradicate pests.

In tropical areas, passion fruit vines are attacked by a host of pests and diseases. In these areas, the purple passion fruit is particularly susceptable to nematodes, while the yellow passion fruit is more resistant to nematodes. In California, the problems are much less severe, although the plants can be afflicted with nematodes and viruses as well as Fusarium and other diseases that thrive in cool soils. Nematodes are partially responsible for the short life of many passion fruit vines. Snails can also be a serious problem in California, often completely stripping a vine of leaves and barks, killing young plants or predisposing them to disease.

How much water should we use?

Insufficient water will stress the passion vine, causing it to wither and die. Keep the passion vine moist on a consistent basis. Mulch around the plant to retain moisture but be sure not to overwater, which can lead to diseases.

Passion fruit thrives in temperatures from 68-82 degree Fahrenheit (20-27 degree Celsius) in well-draining sandy loam with a pH of between 6.5 and 7. The roots are shallow, so planting in a raised beds can increase drainage which thwart soil diseases.

Watering daily is excessive. Water less often and more deeply is better, say once per week, but slowly using drippers so the water go deep, rather than a quick daily sprinkle that just wet the surface.

Passion fruit don't like wet feet.

Watering infrequently can also cause problem.

Water at least once in 3 days, but daily when it set flowers.

Water requirement is high when fruits are approaching maturity. If the soil is dry, fruits may shrivel and fall prematurely.

What type of soil should we use?

Passion fruit vines grow on many soil types but light to heavy sandy loams with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 are most suitable. Excellent drainage is absolutely necessary. The soil should be rich in organic matter and low in salts. Because the vines are shallow-rooted, they will benefit from a thick layer of organic mulch.

Why do our passion fruit flowers not turn into fruit?

Not enough polination. Most varieties are self-sterile and thus need help pollinating. Many flowers of the purple passion vine will self-fruit when self-pollinated, but yellow passion vines need to be pollinated by a different vine that is genetically compatible.

Boron deficiency.

Another reason is not enough bees. Attract more bees by planting aromatic, flowering herbs like lavender or other flowing perennials. Honey bees are effective for some small varieties, but carpenter bees are the most avid pollinator for most passion vine cultivars. Similar in appearance to the bumble bees, carpenter bees can be encourage to visit our passion flower vine by placing hollow logs near the plants.

We can also hand pollinate the passion blossoms ourselves. Use a dedicate brush, or cotton swab. Transfer the pollen from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of another. The stigma is the bit that sticks out the most on each flower, and the anther is usually lower down and there is more of them. Hand pollinate in the morning to mid-morning.

Avoid over watering. We may want to reduce the amount of watering to once or twice per week.

Avoid spraying water onto the flowers, especially during flowering time.

Could be too much nitrogen and not enough potassium.

Flowers of the purple passion vine normally set fruit when self-polinated, but many yellow passion vines will not set fruit unless their flowers are dusted with pollen from a different vine that is genetically compatible. Thus, 2 plants grown from cuttings taken from the same vine cannot pollinate each other. Moreover, some vines from a group of seedings can cross-pollinate and others cannot. This must be learned by trial and error as the plants develop. Ordinarily, many opportunities for cross-pollination exist in a large seeding population.

If I live in a cold climate, what kind of passion fruit should I plant?

Passion fruits varies in color from purple to a yellow-orange. The purple passion fruit is much more sensitive to cold temperature, and more susceptible to soil diseases than its yellow counterpart.

The purple passion fruit is sweeter, but is far more likely affected by diseases and cold temperature.

Try Jamacian or Hawiian gold.

I planted two vines at opposite ends of a trellice three years ago - one is a grafted Nellie Kelly (GNK), the other is a Panama Red (PR, not grafted). The GNK grew prolifically and was covered in flowers, not one produced fruit. The PR grew slowly and produced very few flower, but almost every one had a big fruit.

The purpose passion fruit is subtropical and prefer frost-free climate. However, there are cultivars that can take temperature into the upper 20's degree F without serious damage. The vines may lose some of their leaves in cool winters.

What kind of climate is suitable for passion fruit?

Passion fruit is a tropical to subtropical vine or tree. While the vines prefers a frost-free climate, there are some cultivars tolerant of temperatures into the upper 20's.

Passion fruits varies in color from purple to a yellow-orange. The purple passion fruit is much more sensitive to cold temperature, and more susceptible to soil diseases than its yellow counterpart.

Passion fruits thrives in temperatures from 68-82 degree Fahrenheit (20-27 degree Celsius) in well-draining sandy loam with a pH of between 6.5 and 7. The roots are shallow, so planting in a raised beds can increase drainage which thwart soil diseases.

The yellow passion fruit is tropical or near-tropical and is much more tolerant of frost.

Both forms need protection from the wind. Generally, annual rainfall should be at least 35 inches. Passion fruit vines perform well indoors.

The yellow form has generally larger fruit than the purple, but the pulp of the purple is less acid, richer in aroma and flavor, and has a higher proportion of juice (35 - 38%). The vine, especially the yellow form, is fast-growing, and will begin to bear flowers / fruit in 1 to 3 years. Ripening occurs from 70 to 80 days after pollination.

How do passion fruit taste and smell?

Juicy, aromatic, sweet to acidic.

Should we prune and when should we prune?

While passion fruit vines do not require pruning, it may be beneficial. Pruning of passion vine allows the sun to penerate through the vine, aiding in ripening fruit. It also produces strong new growth that encourage fruit set. Flowers and fruit do not form on old growth of passion vine, so we need to prune. Prune back the plant at the start of spring. Follow a stem carefully prior to cutting to ensure that we are not cutting a major branch.

When a passion fruit vine has lots of foliage but no flowers, insufficient pruning at the start of spring is usually the problem. When a vine is pruned correctly there will be abundant flowers on the new year growth. Flowers and fruits will not form on old growth.

Pruning is necessary to keep the vines within bounds, to make harvest easier and to keep the plants productive by maintaining vigorous growth. In warm winter climate, prune immediately after harvest. In areas with cool winters, prune in early spring. As a general rule, remove all weak growth and cut back vigorous growth by at least one third. In very hot climates, allow a thick canopy of foliage to grow around the fruit to prevent sunburn.

Can passion fruit vine tolerate much heat?

Passion fruit likes full sun near the coast, but should be protected from hot, dry inland heat. It thrives in temperatures from 68-82 degree Fahrenheit (20-27 degree Celsius) in well-draining sandy loam with a pH of between 6.5 and 7. The roots are shallow, so planting in a raised beds can increase drainage which thwart soil diseases.

How long can passion fruit vine live?

About 5 to 7 years.

What is the cause for small fruit, fruit with thick skins, or fruit with no pulp?

Lack of sufficient water to a fruiting passion fruit vine will result in sub-standard fruit. During hot summer months, we should water on a daily basis. We do not need to soak the ground, but make sure that it is enough.

What is the cause for yellow leaves?

Yellow leaves on a passion fruit vine are usually caused by a lack of iron and nitrogren in the soil. A good feed of chicken manure or fertilizer that is high in nitrogen will rectify this problem. 'Winter yellow' can also be brought on by cold weather, windy conditions, or low humidity.

What is the cause for curling leaves?

An aphid infestation will cause leaves to curl and can send leaves yellow as the insect suck nutrients from the vine. Spray leaves with organic insecticide like Pyrethrum.

Is it a problem if we have shoots below the graft?

As with all graft varieties, it is common for shoots to appear below the graft. When this happens, it is essential for the growth to be removed or the rootstock will become dominant, depriving the fruiting top of energy it needs to grow. The blue passion fruit rootstock used by Nellie Kelly has a much thinner foliage than the black passion fruit, with brilliant blue flowers and soft-skinned, oval fruit that are orange with red pips. If this sounds like you passion fruit vine, then your rootstock has taken over. While the fruit is edible, it has very little pulp and a far tarter taste.

It is essential to remove any growth that appears below the graft, especially in the first 3 months after planting. Use a sharp blade or knife to cut off the growth, as this blinds the offending shoot and prevent any further growth from that site. Never tear or pull the growth off as this will cause multiple shoots to appear.

Should I pull out the weeds?

No. Cutting the weeds with a sharp knife. Pulling out the weeds may fracture the root system. Do not apply weed killer too close to the vine (less than 10cm away) because we risk killing the whole vine.

What are some common names for passion fruit?

Granadilla, Calabash.

Purple form:

  1. Black Knight
  2. Edgehill
  3. Frederick
  4. Kahuna
  5. Paul Ecke
  6. Purple Giant
  7. Red Rover

Yellow form:

  1. Brazilian Golden
  2. Golden Giant

Will the root resprout even if the top is killed?

Yes. The roots often re-sprout even if the top is killed.

Will passion fruit grow well in intense summer heat?

The plant does not grow well in intense summer heat. Plant passion fruit vines in full sun except in very hot areas where partial shade is preferrable.

How can we protect against frost?

Because of their size, passion fruit vines are difficult to cover during winter, but layers of leaves help protect the inner branches from frost damage. The plant will usually come back even when frozen to the ground. The best strategy is to grow the vines against a wall or deck or in a patio. Any kind of overhead protection provide additional benefits.

How can we grow passion fruit from seed?

Passion fruit vines are usually grown from seeds. With the yellow form seeding variation provide cross-pollination and help overcome the problem of self-sterility. Seed planted soon after removal from the fruit will germinate in 10 to 20 days. Cleaned and stored seeds have a lower and slower rate of germination. Seeds should be planted 1/2 to 1 inch deep in beds, and seedlings may be transplanted when 10 inches high. If taller (up to 3 feet), the top should be cut back and the plants heavily watered.

How can we plant passion fruit from vines?

Plants can also be propagated by layers or cuttings of matured wood with 3 to 4 nodes. Rooting may be hastened by hormone treatment. Cutting should be well rooted and ready for setting out in 90 days. Grafting is an important means of perpetuating hybrids and reducing nematode damage and diseases by utilizing the resistant yellow passion fruit rootstock. Scions of healthy young plants are grafted to seedlings, making sure that diameter of the scion matches that of the rootstock.

How should we harvest passion fruit?

The fruit will turn from green to deep purple or yellow when ripe and then fall to the ground. They can be picked when they change color or gathered from the ground each day.

How should we store passion fruit?

To store passion fruit, wash and dry them gently and place them in bags. They should last 2 to 3 weeks at 50 degree 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.

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