Passion fruit plants are generally sensitive to environmental stress. It is therefore important to carefully choose a suitable site where you will carefully plant the passion fruit seeds with the correct spacing.
Vines typically do well in a natural rain forest environment where the plants are well protected from the environmental extremes. Generally, the plants are therefore not naturally hardy. If passion fruit plants are grown on a site that is unsuitable, they are going to give lower yields and you are going to grow them at a higher cost than those that have been grown on a more favorable location.
An unsuitable site will eat into your margins and will in many cases incur financial losses. Before you venture into passion fruit farming, it is important to carefully choose a suitable site for planting.
The site selected should be well sheltered from the winds. Wind exposure will cause a lot of stress on the passion fruit vines and this will end up reducing the vigour of the plants. This will subsequently reduce their yield and quality. If the winds are strong, the fruits will move in the wind against the stems of the vines, trellis wires and posts and this will cause rub marks on the fruits. These fruits will be considered second-grade and unsuitable for the fresh market. They will therefore fetch a much lower price in the market.
The aspect is a very important consideration when choosing a site for planting your passion fruits. The best aspect is usually a northerly or north-easterly one as this will give the plants maximum protection from the cold south westerly winds or southern winds. This aspect also ensures that the passion fruit plants stay warmer for longer and get the most sunshine which is good for vigor and fruit development.
Usually, a steep slope means that you have to put up with higher production costs. These will mainly go into the erosion control measures like contour planting and cut-off drains. Other extra costs will go into purchasing 4WD vehicles and utilities. Steeper slopes also mean slower machinery and human rate of work and this will add to the cost of producing your passion fruits. A steep slope also increases the risk of accidents in the farm.
The Row Orientation
It is very important that you have proper row orientation. The rows should run from north to south in order to optimize the vines access to sunlight and give the fallen fruits better shade protection. If the rows run from east to west, there is likely to be significant sunburn damage on the mature fruits that fall on the ground. If you have a large farm, you can incorporate long rows in order to allow for machinery efficiency. However, there are certain features that may limit the options for row orientation on your passion fruit farm. These include factors such as sloping terrain and a narrow block shape.
The site where you are planting your passion fruits should be frost-free. The purple passion fruit varieties are generally affected by frost as they shed leaves and the passion fruit yield reduces. The Panama selections of passion fruits are even more susceptible to frost damage than the purple passion fruit varieties.
Passion fruit plants are deeply affected by root diseases that occur commonly in wet soil. The soil where you are growing your passion fruit plants should be well-drained. The internal soil drainage and the surface drainage should be excellent. Before you plant passionfruit, it is advisable to mound the rows so as to improve the surface drainage. However, improving poor internal drainage is generally more difficult. That is why you should start by choosing well-drained soils in the first place.
To maximize the fruit quality and the yield of your passion fruit farm, you may need to invest in irrigation. The water used for irrigation should have a low salt content. In some councils, you may also need to get irrigation licenses in order to proceed with irrigating your land.
Market for Your Passion Fruit
Local markets are usually the best due to the cost of freight and the fact passion fruits are perishable. Freight companies usually have a minimum consignment size and if you are grower, you may need to deliver your passion fruit harvest to the nearest pickup point.