How to Grow Passionfruit
It is particularly important to water regularly throughout the flowering and fruiting period.
Being subtropical the plants need full sun and shelter from winds and frost. It is essential that they are planted in a light, free draining soil. If you have heavy soil then planting in a container may be your best option. Ensure you use a good quality potting mix formulated specifically for containers.
Passionfruit should be planted out in the spring once all risk of frost has passed. Dig through plenty of compost, adding some sand will improve drainage. Add a slow release citrus fertiliser to the bottom of the hole before planting. Firm down and water well.
The root system of passionfruit is very shallow but extensive. Regular watering is necessary. Mulching will help retain moisture. It is particularly important to water regularly throughout the flowering and fruiting period from spring until the end of summer. When watering, keep the water off the foliage to avoid fungal problems.
Like citrus, passionfruit are heavy feeders. Therefore feeding at least twice over the spring, summer, and autumn months with a slow release Citrus fertiliser is advisable. Over the fruiting period feeding with a liquid fertiliser is also recommended.
Training and Pruning
Early training helps to establish a framework of leaders from which laterals will grow and bear fruit. Therefore once you have planted your vine pinch off any side shoots train the leader until it reaches the trellis or support. Then pinch out the growing tip to force the production of laterals. These are then trained along the support. Pruning should be done in October or November – never in winter. You may lose some initial flowers and fruits but this will be more than made up for with the vigorous new growth the plant will achieve. The fruit is carried on the current season’s growth.
Passionfruit vines will bear fruit in a relatively short time, from 8-9months old. The fruit ripen from mid-summer onwards. Passionfruit are ripe when the skin turns purple and fruit fall to the ground. As mentioned earlier consistent watering is required in the summer to help prevent fruit drop and premature wrinkling of the fruit.
These popular fruit are subtropical but are very easy to grow when planted in the correct position. The vines are ideal for quickly covering trellis, pergolas and growing around the deck with the bonus of fruit on plants over 8 months old.