Delicious passionfruit easy to grow
A little care in cold climates will produce good crop
Passionfruit are warmclimate plants but with some care they will grow well in cooler areas too. Grow them against a sunny brick wall or indoors in a conservatory if the temperatures constantly dip below minus 2°C in your area. In cooler countries they are often grown indoors. Now that the soil has warmed up, it’s the ideal time to plant passionfruit. Choose a warm, sunny spot that’s well sheltered from winds. Plant against a wall or fence for support, or erect a trellis or climbing frame. Plant in free-draining soil that’s had plenty of compost and some slowrelease fertiliser dug in. If planting in containers, use a good quality potting mix that already has slow-release fertiliser incorporated. Passionfruit plants are self-fertile so you only need one vine. Though vines planted this year may not fruit for the next year or so. Passionfruit have a shallow and extensive root system, so they need constant moisture. Water regularly while plants are becoming established and especially during dry periods. They must be watered well during flowering and fruiting, or the fruit may shrivel and drop. Use a mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture but keep it away from the stem or rot may set in. Passionfruit are vigorous plants, so feed regularly from spring through autumn with a citrus fertiliser. A liquid fertiliser may also be beneficial, especially when growing in containers but use one that’s especially made for flowers and fruit. If you want to train your plant, do so in its initial years by selecting vigorous shoots to establish a framework. These can be trained up a trellis or fence, then horizontally along wires like an espalier. Fruiting stems grow off these horizontal laterals. As fruit is formed on the current season’s wood, an annual prune is beneficial. Pruning is done each year around late September or early October, when the plants begin to grow vigorously. Cut the fruiting stems back to two buds, or about 10-15 cm. Remove any dying stems too as passionvine hoppers often lay their eggs here. You can easily spot the eggs – they’re only 1mm long but they’re inserted in plant stems in long rows. Fruit takes between two and three months to ripen. In warm areas the fruit will appear in late spring through to late summer and possibly through autumn. Cooler areas will see fruit in late summer. Ripe fruit falls to the ground but you can pick it earlier – when you see it change colour and shrivel slightly. Passionfruit continues to ripen off the vine, so don’t worry about picking them too early. Sit them in room temperature to ripen to a nice sweet flavour.
Stunning: Passionfruit can grow in cooler climates with a bit of care.