Passion fruit vines
A favorite plant in many Australian gardens is the Passion Fruit, really a vine, passion fruit or Passiflora edulis is an excellent fruiting plant for a sunny position.
Originally from sub tropical areas of South America passion fruit vines can be grown easily as far south as Melbourne in the right conditions. In cooler climates they are often grown against fences or walls where they receive a fair amount of sun along with a little reflected warmth.
Without doubt the best known varieties grown in Australia are the famous ‘Nelly Kelly’ a wonderful black fruiting variety that has provided essential ingredients for Pavlovas for many years. The ‘Bannana’ passionfruit would be next, elongated fruit and found in many home gardens. Both of these varieties seem well suited to cooler climates.
The large fruiting ‘Panama Red’ is better suited to tropical to sub tropical climates. Passionfruit vines are readily available for sale from nurseries and garden centres across Australia.
Passion Fruit are all vigorous vines and heavy feeders, they climb using tendrils so a ‘wire trellis’ suits well for support. Avoid planting passionfruit where they will have competition around the root system if possible. Grown in an open sunny position or against a sunny wall or fence seems to be the favorite way in many Australian gardens.
Most new vines take 2 – 3 years to be fully productive, many growers use poultry manure as fertiliser ( the pelletised stuff is excellent) and regular watering is essential.
The best time to apply fertilizer is in spring, remember to water well first. We suggest that you do not go to heavy with the fertilizer as this can cause bud drop.
- If you have kept the area around the root system weed free, rake gently to loosen the soil, but not so much as to disturb the roots. Disturbing the roots can cause suckers.
- Water well
- Apply fertilizer and some blood and bone
- Water again
- One application a year should be enough depending on your soil
- keep weed free around the base of the vine
- mulch lightly as needed to maintain a cool root run
- water during summer especially during hot weather (do not let the soil dry out)
- Fruit lack juice
Usually caused by lack of or inconsistent watering
- No fruit
Could be a lack of pollination, passionfruit usually attract bees that pollinated the flowers, you can hand pollinate using a paintbrush, just gently brush the pollen from one flower to another
Also over fertilizing as mentioned.
The purple varieties do self pollinate, some of the others do not, so make sure you have a self pollinating type, or a suitable pollinator
- Yellow foliage
Caused by a nutrient deficiency, usually lack iron, fertilize to remedy. Remember that in cold climates, or cold winters foliage will yellow during the winter.
- Leaf Curl
Same problem as with other plants, sap sucking insects, use an organic spray such as a pyrethrum, readily available and nurseries
After a number of years fruiting often seems to decline, best to replace the vine at this time.
Some passionfruit vatieties are more cold tolerant than others, for example ‘Sweetheart’ prefers warmer climates, Jumbo Gem can take a little cooler. Tropic as the name implies needs a sub tropical to tropical climate. Misty Gem is a versatile performer, while Panama Red needs sub tropical at least. Generally the more commom black variety is better suited to cooler climates, and of course the banana passionfruit grows well in colder areas as well.