Do you like tropical snacks and flowers with a lot of personality? If you’re looking for a vine to grow that is both beautiful and delicious, then passion fruit vine is the perfect choice for you! This plant is a fast-growing climber that will add intrigue to your garden and flavor to your dinner table.
Passionfruit vines are not for the faint of heart. These are hardy plants that can withstand harsh conditions and will produce vibrant flowers and an abundance of fruit. Even though they’re easy to grow, these plants still need lots of water, nutrients, and pruning. But the harvest is well worth it!
Cultivation and History
The Roman Catholics observe the vine in Latin America and called it “passion” after the suffering and death of Christ which is mentioned in the Bible.
The people believed that some of the flower petals represented accounts from the bible. For example, they thought that the corona of filaments in the center of each bloom looked like the crown of thorns that was worn by Christ during his crucifixion.
Native tribes in North and South America relied on plants for food and medicine.
Different parts of plants are used in herbal medicine in many cultures. Modern day uses for lavender oil include using it to flavor food items and to add fragrance to perfume and soaps.
Although the flowers are beautiful and many people choose to grow them for decoration, they are also very attractive to insects that help with pollination.
The vast majority of passion fruit vines also produce edible fruit. Not all types of produce edible fruits, so be mindful of this when you are choosing a species or cultivar.
All About Passion Fruit Vine
Passion fruit originally comes from Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. It is grown a lot in southern California and Florida in the US. This plant does best in tropical climates like those found in zones 10-12. The warmer the climate is, the easier it is to grow. Only very rarely do these plants tolerate light frost.
The vine can spread out 3-5 feet wide and climb 10-15 feet high. The tree has leaves that are evergreen, glossy, and dark green. There are three lobes on each leaf. The plant blooms in early spring and produces fruit in about 80 days.
Passion fruit is a medium-sized, round fruit that’s reddish-purple or yellow in color. The rind, if cut in half, would look like two bowls of lumpy jelly. This fruit is also rich in vitamins that are good for your immunity, thyroid, and red blood cells. The fruit will last a while and can be used in many different recipes.
There are many benefits to eating passion fruit, not just the taste. This plant has extremely stunning blossoms. These flowers have long petals that are either white or purple. The stamen and carpels are also wavy. This thing is so strange-looking that you wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it yourself.
One downside of passionfruit vines is that they have a short lifespan. The lifespan of most people is only five or seven years. The commercial growers replace the trees every three years because the fruit production slows down.
Passion Fruit Varieties
Choose a cultivar of Passiflora edulis for your vine. Although many species in the Passiflora genus are inedible, this one is not. There are over 50 varieties of Passiflora edulis to choose from. Here are some of our favorites:
Passiflora edulis, Purple Passion Fruit
This is the basic species. This passion fruit is reddish-purple, and it is one of the sweetest options. This plant grows best in cooler climates, so if you don’t live in the tropics, this is the plant for you.
Passiflora edulis f. Flavicarpa, Yellow Passionfruit, Golden Passionfruit, Tropical Passionfruit
You’ll find these varieties in the true tropics. The yellow fruit is less sweet because it is more acidic. This type of grapefruit is characterized by its large size and resistance to pests and diseases. The Flavicarpa variety is the most common type of yellow grape, and other varieties of yellow grapes share many similar characteristics.
Edulis f. Flavircarpa ‘Panama Red’ and ‘Panama Gold’
The Panama species of tropical passionfruit stem from the yellow variety. Despite this, the Panama Red is still red-purple. This variety is usually found in Australia.
Edulis ‘Nellie Kelly’
This vine is best suited for cooler temperatures. It’s also highly pest and disease-resistant. This is achieved by grafting a black passionfruit onto a blue passionfruit rootstock.
Edulis ‘Black Knight’
This is the perfect fruit for container growing. The Black Knight hybrid is a dwarf plant that does best when it is contained. It’s deep purple in color and tangy-sweet in taste. This type of fruit does best in cooler weather.
Passionflower will thrive with fulfillment of its basic needs. What are some of the best ways to grow more of these pretty and useful plants?
The fruit of the passion flower vine, called passion fruit, is classified as a berry. It is round or oblong in shape and has a tough exterior.
A Pulpy sac that contains up to 300 seeds is slippery to the touch because of the individual membrane that surrounds each seed.
The fruit is ripe for planting when it is deep yellow-orange, purple, or red and has started to crinkle on the outside.
To help your seeds germinate successfully, rubbing them against something mildly abrasive like a paper towel, a piece of rough fabric, or a bit of screen will break open the membrane around the seed.
Soak seeds in warm water overnight.
While the seeds are soaking, prepare three-inch pots with a handful of compost or seed starting mix. To plant the seeds, add one or two to each pot, making sure to plant them about an inch deep. Moisten, but do not drench the soil.
The time it takes for seeds to germinate can differ, but is usually around a week. If seeds are not properly hydrated, they may have decreased germination rates or may not germinate at all.
Cuttings can take weeks to root. When taking cuttings to propagate new plants, make sure that the parent plant isn’t grafted onto rootstock. This increases the chance that the new plants will develop suckers as they mature.
If you take cuttings from a grafted plant, it may not grow well, be the wrong size, not produce fruit, or produce fruit that is not edible.
Suckers are shoots that grow from the roots at ground level. While they may seem useful for starting new vines, they are not productive and will not produce fruit, or they may produce fruit that is not edible.
To make your potting mix, you will need to mix together three parts builder’s sand with one part soil. Industrial silica sand that is coarse works best because it allows for good drainage.
Try to cut new growth if possible, as older growth may not root as quickly.
Select a 6 inch section of the stem and remove the leaves below it. If desired, Dip the cut end in powdered rooting hormone
Push the stem into the rooting mixture and moisten. Keep the potting medium moist, but not wet, as the cuttings will get moisture from the humidity in the air until the roots begin to develop.
To create the best environment for your cuttings, keep them in a greenhouse or container that will help retain humidity and warmth. A clear plastic storage tote with a lid is a good option. Once roots have developed, the seedlings can be planted according to the following directions.
From Seedlings and Transplanting
After seedlings have grown to be about six to eight inches tall, which usually takes four to six weeks, they should be moved into the ground so that the plant won’t be disturbed.
It is not advised to transplant passionflower vines after their taproots have developed.
You should plant them in an area where they will have enough room to grow their large root ball and where they will be able to climb. There should be no other plants or trees nearby that will compete with them for space.
You should keep in mind that this vine can grow up to 30 feet long, so it will need its own space in the garden.
Create a hole that is at least twice the width of the seedling and at least as deep as the pot that the plant is growing in.
Carefully remove the seedling from the pot, making sure not to touch or damage the roots. They are very sensitive, and even a small amount of damage to the root can kill the plant.
Place the seedling in the hole and barely cover it with soil. Pack it down around the seedling and water it.
When transplanting an older vine, make sure that the entire taproot and root ball have been extracted with the plant.
This can be tricky, since the roots of trees can extend several feet below the surface of the ground.
If you transplant a grafted plant, it can produce suckers.
For mature vines, the best time to transplant them is before new growth has started, such as late winter or early spring.
Remove the plant from its location being careful not to damage the root ball or tap root. Put a tarp over your roots until you’re ready to plant them.
Create a hole in the ground that is a few inches wider and deeper than the root ball of the plant. After you have pulled up the plant, fill the hole with soil and tamp it down lightly. Then, water the area to help settle the soil.
This vine will not grow on its own without some form of support, so make sure to provide a trellis or something similar.
Even though mature plants may not look like they’re doing well after being transplanted, they may start to improve after some time. Adding some aged manure, compost, or fertilizer may help the plant until the roots are reestablished.
Sun and Temperature
This vine produces the best blooms and fruit when it receives full sun. The plant will still be okay if it’s in some shade, especially when the weather is very hot. Zones 10-12 are best for keeping it outdoors year-round. Choose a south-facing window for your indoor plant’s home. The temperature should be significantly above freezing for yellow varieties.
Watering & Humidity
The vines grow quickly and produce succulent fruit, so they need a lot of water. Water them consistently so the soil doesn’t dry out. When the plants are fruiting, they will need extra water. Fall and winter will require less water for the plants. However, dont overwater as this can cause root problems. Do not allow water to pool on top of the ground or soak it completely.
An irrigation system can be set up to help with watering demands. Be sure to keep an eye on the plant to ensure it is not being over or unders watered.
Not surprisingly, these tropical plants rely on high humidity. If you live outside of tropical and temperate zones, you may need to use a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air. Not sure how humid your house is? Check out our top 10 hygrometers!
Water drains well in this type of soil, so you won’t have to water as often. If a grower does not use aeration, the growing medium can become too compact, wet, and unsuitable for plants that come from regions with warm climates. Doctor it with sand, perlite, or pumice as needed.
The soil also needs to be slightly acidic, with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5, for good fruit production and disease resistance. If you want to test the quality of your soil, you can use an at-home soil testing kit, go to your local agriculture department, or get help from a university.
Last, the growing medium needs to be fertile. Passiflora edulis requires a lot of nutrients that soil usually can’t provide. That’s why mulch is important for this species: it conserves soil moisture. You’ll also want to add fertilizer as needed.
Fertilize your passionfruit every two to four weeks starting in the spring. Almost all commercial growers use fertilizers with an NPK of 10-5-20. Gardeners are encouraged to use fertilizers high in potassium to improve the overall health of their plants.
Choose a fertilizer with very little nitrogen if your soil is already high in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen will cause the plant to produce more leaves, and fewer flowers and fruits. The same thing can happen with overfertilization.
Passionfruit is ripe when it is fully colored, heavy, and can be easily picked from the stem. The fruit will taste sweeter as it ripens and the skin will wrinkle slightly. It falls off the vine when ripe, which is easier than having to use a ladder. The fruit won’t bruise, rot, or attract pests when they fall, so you can collect them at your leisure (within reason). You can pick the fruit from the tree when it is slightly unripe or when it is ripe.
And now we’re at the best part – eating! Slice the fruit in half to reveal two bowls of tasty, jelly-like goodness. Discard the inedible rind and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. The seeds are edible but can be easily removed.
The sweetness of the purple fruits is best enjoyed when eaten fresh. On the other hand, yellow fruits are usually pickled or juiced. Both types will last a few weeks without being refrigerated, and will last even longer if they are refrigerated. If they are picked slightly unripe, just leave them on the counter for a few days until they ripen. The skin may wrinkle as the fruit ages, but the inside will still be tasty.