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.
- 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.
- Harvest in 12-18 months