9 tips to grow­ing some passion

Pas­sion­fruit is a warm-cli­mate plant, but with pro­tec­tion from wind and cold, plants can be grown in cooler ar­eas too. Over­seas they’re of­ten grown as in­door plants, but a warm green­house will do the trick too.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Growing - WORDS JANE WRIGGLESWORTH

T he com­mon pur­ple pas­sion­fruit ( Pas­si­flora edulis) is what you typ­i­cally find in gar­den cen­tres, al­though the gi­ant granadilla ( Pas­si­flora

quad­ran­gu­laris) is avail­able too. The lat­ter is vig­or­ous, grow­ing up to 15m in one sea­son, and the fruit are as su­per­sized as the plant. •

For ei­ther species, choose a warm, sunny spot that’s shel­tered from wind and frost. Pas­sion­fruit will tol­er­ate a slight frost of mi­nus 1-2°C for brief pe­ri­ods, but pro­longed or more se­vere frosts will kill the grow­ing shoots. The gi­ant granadilla is less hardy, tol­er­at­ing tem­per­a­tures down to about +1°C. • Both re­quire ex­cel­lent drainage. A free-drain­ing, fri­able, sandy loam is best. If your soil is soggy, plants are likely to suc­cumb to dis­ease. • Dig com­post and slow-re­lease fer­tiliser into the soil be­fore plant­ing. •

Pas­sion­fruit have a shal­low but ex­ten­sive root sys­tem, so they need con­stant mois­ture. Wa­ter reg­u­larly while plants are es­tab­lish­ing, and es­pe­cially dur­ing flow­er­ing and fruit­ing. Lack of wa­ter may cause fruit to shrivel and drop. Con­sis­tent wa­ter­ing, on the other hand, en­sures al­most con­stant flow­er­ing and fruit­ing. • Use 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.

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