Top passionfruit tips

With its striking flowers and sweet yet slightly tart flavour, passionfruit is a popular fruit pick. As a sub tropical it thrives in the warmest areas of the country and enjoys a sunny spot.

We know it isn't the easiest fruit to grow, so to help you on your way to passionfruit success we've put together our top tips.


  • Plant vines in full sun except in very hot areas, where partial shade is preferable. The vines grow in many soil types, but light to heavy sandy loams, pH 6.5-7.5, are the most suitable.
  • The purple passionfruit is subtropical and therefore a frost-free climate is preferred. 
  • Plant passionfruit in mid-spring and mid-summer.
  • Plant vines next to a sheltered wall, trellis, or deck sheltered from the wind. If planting more than one, space vines no less than two metres apart.
  • Passionfruit require excellent drainage and the soil should be rich in organic matter. Dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and compost to your soil before planting. If the soil is too acidic, apply Tui Lime. Then you can add a layer of Tui Garden Mix


  • Passionfruit vines fruit around 18 months after the vine has been planted.
  • The vines may lose some leaves in the cool winters. Regularly apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to help plants cope with frost in the winter and heat and drought.
  • Passionfruit will grow well in containers but require a structure to support the vine.
  • Passionfruit vines grow very quickly over a short period of time and require regular feeding in the growing season. When temperatures warm up in spring start feeding passionfruit with a fertiliser rich in potassium such as Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser for optimum flowering and fruiting. Feed when it is going through its leafy growth phase until it starts to flower.
  • Watering is very important when fruit are approaching maturity. During a dry summer, deep watering is required. If the soil is dry fruit may shrivel and fall early.
  • In spring when the risk of frost has passed remove weak or dead growth, reduce vigorous shoots by about one third and thin out overcrowded growth and vines.
  • Passionfruit ripens during mid summer-autumn. The fruit will take around two to three months to ripen. You know fruit is ripe when its dark purple and you can gently shake tree and fruit falls off. Harvest in the morning before sun can burn fruit.

Common issues

  • Pollination: although self-fertile, poor weather can affect pollination of passionfruit. Plant a variety of flowers to attract pollinating insects or hand pollinate the flowers.
  • Passion vine hoppers: unfortunately they are hard to control as they come from far and wide when they sense that plants are slightly stressed. Hosing the hoppers off does work but they often return and in bigger populations. If you want to spray them, the nymph stage (the fluffy bottom stage) is the best stage to get them. Keep your plants well watered and well fertilised.
  • Fruit falling off while green: possible causes include irregular watering, insufficient feeding, insect infestation, sudden change in temperature, or poor pollination. Make sure the vine is regularly watered, mulch around it to help conserve soil moisture.
  • Yellowing of leaves and little growth: one potential cause is overfeeding. Too much fertiliser can have the same effect as too little. The warm weather can also affect growth.  Regularly feed with Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic every 7 days at a rate of 70mls per 9 litre watering can. Once you see it pick up then cut the Seaweed Plant Tonic back to every two weeks and 30mls per 9 litre watering can. 

When should I plant
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Harvest in 12-18 months

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Top passionfruit tips Comments

  • My black passionfruit are purple but not wrinkled and have fallen off the vine. Are they ripe or do I just let them ripen a little more?


    • Hi Pat, we suggesting tasting one to see if it is sweet enough. The wrinkled fruit will be sweeter than the smooth skin fruit. If the tree is dropping fruit early it could be a sign that the plant is stressed. Possible causes include irregular watering, insufficient feeding, insect infestation, sudden change in temperature or poor pollination. Make sure the vine is regularly watered, mulch around it to help conserve soil moisture. Feed with Tui Citrus Food or Tui Enrich Fruit, Citrus, Tree & Shrub fertiliser. Passionfruit vines grow very quickly over a short period of time and require regular feeding in the growing season.

      Tui Team

    • The purple fruit falling off is ripe. If still a little sour it is because the first ones are more sour and as the weeks go by it gets sweeter and sweeter. If still a bit sour you can leave in the fruit bowel for a cupple of days and as the wrinkles start appearing it is ready to eat before it turns brown or that is to late. Also I would not pull the leaves off unless they are brown or damaged. This season is hot and the leaves help protect the fruit from ripening to fast by shading them. The slower they ripen the sweeter they are. Leaves also help it breathe and grow well and retain water within the plant...

      Gregory Faithfull

  • Should you trim some leaves off near the fruit so it can ripen in the sun?


    • Hi Anne, yes this is a good idea and can be done now. 

      Tui Team

  • When passion fruit is ready for picking just wipe and put into freezer....keeps well.

    Patricia McLean

  • Hi Tui Team, I have a passionfruit plant that has been around for a few years. We love the passionfruit but I would like to cut it back to paint the trellis. Will this kill the plant?

    Lesley Walsh

    • Hi Lesley, passionfruit plants are good for up to 5 years and then they lose their vigour so they are best replaced. Removing the vine and replanting would be the easiest. However, if it is still producing well, it can be cut back. Passionfruit are frost tender. If you live in a frost prone area cutting it back now is probably not the best time as the new growth will get frosted, which knocks the plant back and disease could enter the plant. If you're in a frost free place, yes it can be cut back to paint the trellis.

      Tui Team

  • Can passionfruit grow in a green house. We live in North Otago.


    • Hi Noelene, passionfruit can be grown in a greenhouse, especially if you are in a frost prone region. The only thing it will need help with is pollination when the plant is flowering to ensure you get fruit. This can be done by hand pollination using a small paint brush or similar transferring pollen from flower to flower, and opening the door during the day to let pollinators in. If the greenhouse is not heated then there is a chance that passionfruit can still get frosted, apply Tui Seaweed Plant Tonic regularly throughout the season as seaweed tonic gives frost protection up to -5 degrees, but needs to be applied well before frost is expected to be effective. 

      The Tui Team