Simple Guide to Growing the Yellow Passion Fruits

Yellow passion fruits do really well in the lowlands and mid-altitude locations. They are also growing increasingly popular due to their delicious juices and flavor.

The yellow passion fruits are in high demand both locally and globally. Some of the biggest markets for yellow passion fruits are the EU and the Middle East. However, in spite of the high current demand, production of yellow passion fruits still remains low and this is usually due to the limited access that many farmers have to high quality passion fruit planting materials. The yellow passion fruit orchards also have a shorter lifespan compared to the purple passion fruit varieties as a result of the woodiness viral disease and poor agronomic practices by passion fruit farmers.

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Panama Gold Passion Fruit Variety
Panama Gold Passion Fruit Variety

In locations with good rainy seasons, it is generally advisable to plant the yellow passion fruit varieties. The varieties to be planted generally vary from country to country. In Uganda, the best yellow passion fruit varieties to plant include the KPF4, KPF11, KPF11 and the KPF12 yellow passion fruit varieties. The KPF4 variety of yellow passion fruits generally has light green leaves and vines as well as oval fruits and a pulp that is deep yellow in colour. On the other hand, the KPF12 variety has darker green leaves and vines, rounder fruits and heavy flowering and fruiting. The KPF12 yellow passion fruit variety grown in Uganda also produces round fruits.

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Preparing the Yellow Passion Fruit Seeds

To extract the seedlings, you should cut the fruit into two in order to extract the pulp. Use clean water in order to separate the passion fruit pulp from the seeds. The seeds should be rinsed at least thrice before you dry them in order to prevent them from sticking onto the drying surface. The washed seeds should be put in a cloth and dried at room temperature away from the sunshine in order to retain their viability.

The passion fruit seeds should be planted immediately or within 30 days of extraction so as to retain their viability. Plant the passion fruit seedlings directly into biodegradable planting bags by placing them 1cm into the soil. Doing this will help reduce the shock of transplantation.

The passion fruit seedlings should not be planted close to adult vines in order to avoid infection from some of the common passion fruit diseases such as the woodiness virus. Planting them away from grown plants will also ensure that the passion fruit plants get sufficient sunshine.

Preparing Land for Yellow Passion Fruit Transplanting

Dig the planting holes in a way that the orchards will be in an east-west orientation. The holes dug should be at least 0.6m or 60cm deep. Have a spacing of 4m.

The spacing between the posts shouldn’t be too large as this might lead to the collapse of the trellising system used in supporting the passion fruit plants. The post used in the trellising should have a length of 2.5m and 15cm in diameter and the total height above the soil should be 1.9m.

The passion fruit vines should be transplanted when they are at the height of 25cm to 30cm. However, the time it takes for the passion fruit seedlings to attain this height will vary depending on the region. In some regions, it takes 2 months while in others, it can take 3 months.  If you plant the passion fruit vines at a spacing of 1.5 x 2.5m, you will have a total vine population of 1064 vines per acre. With a spacing of 3m x 2m, your total vine density will be 740 vines per acre.

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The Management of Passion Fruit Vines

The shoots and the tendrils of the passion fruits should be removed on a weekly basis until the vines reach the trellising wire. The tendrils should be removed up to about 50cm from the trellising wire.  You should use your hands to prune the shoots and the tendrils of the passion fruit vines as this will minimize the spread of diseases. Good pruning will also ensure that the plant provides less resistance to the winds. The secondary laterals should be pruned at least 10cm to 40cm from the ground in order to avoid diseases and pests. This will also help simplify the passion fruit harvest process.

Effective water management in passion fruit farming will help boost flowering in the vines and prevent flower abortion. It is advisable to put in place effective water management practices as well as systems that will help boost water retention and minimize water stress in the crops.

You can adopt hand pollination in order to increase the rate of fruit formation. Do this regularly as the emerging flowers in the vines bloom. This will help boost the passion fruit yield by 30%.

Ensure that you continuously prune the passion fruit crop. Pruning, irrigation and the addition of manure should be done every three months.

For more tips on passion fruit farming, check out our passion fruit farming handbook.

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Passion Fruit Farming in Uganda: Important Facts to Keep in Mind

In Uganda, passion fruits have traditionally been grown in a smaller scale. Perhaps there are areas where it even grew accidentally. Commercial production of passion fruits on an industrial scale is still a very new concept in the country. However, this is where the money lies. So how can transform yourself from a small scale subsistence or accidental farm into a commercial scale profitable farmer growing your passion fruits for exports and processing?

Passionfruit Seedlings
Passionfruit Seedlings

For one, having the right information is key. You need to know the right variety of passion fruit to plant, the best soils, soil preparation, husbandry and how to control the pests and diseases in order to maximize your yield. If you haven’t, check out our Passion Fruit Guide for a comprehensive coverage and information on commercial and successful passion fruit farming.

Here is a summary of some of the steps to follow to be a successful passion fruit farmer in Uganda:-

The land preparation stage

The land preparation stage

The ideal soil type for growing your passion fruit is sandy loam soil. The soil type shouldn’t be a limitation, however. There are ways in which you can prepare the land in order to create the ideal planting conditions. Some of the steps that you can undertake include the following:-

  • Start by ploughing and preparing the land. This will make it easier for you to dig holes into it and plant your passion fruits. The planting holes should be at least 2 feet wide and 1 feet deep.
  • You can separate the refilling soil and mix it with some manure.
  • Put well composed organic matter into the hole where you are going to plant the passion fruit. Do this at least two weeks before you plant the passion fruits.
  • There is always the risk of fungi in the manure that might affect your passion fruit so it is always advisable to add some fungicide to the soil and manure mixture.

If you will be planting the passion fruits during the dry season, you should water the holes a day before and a day after planting the passion fruits.

The spacing from one passion fruit plant to another or from one hole to another should be 3m by 2m or 10 feet by 7 feet. With good labour supply, you can plant the passion fruits very close to one another. However, with no labour supply and where you will be doing all the planting and plant management all on your own, space them widely. Passion fruit farming in Uganda is generally a labour-intensive undertaking.

Passion fruit seedlings are generally wrapped with a polythene bag so this should be removed during the planting and properly disposed of so as to ensure the soil is well aerated.

For better growth, dip the roots of the passion fruit seedlings into a root stimulant.

What are the varieties of passion fruit to plant in Uganda?

The main passion fruit varieties that you can plant in Uganda include the following:-

  • The local purple traditional passion fruit variety
  • The local purple hybrid passion fruit variety

The Soil and the Nutrition

There are various steps that you can undertake so as to improve the soil quality and ensure better yields for your passion fruits. For passion fruit farming in Uganda, organic manure can be quite effective and also easily accessible. If you raise other domestic animals such as chickens and cattle, you can easily source organic fertilizer from your backyard. You can also prepare compost manure.

Passion fruits are vigorous plants and generally require fertilizers such as potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. The levels of amount to add will depend on the various stages of growth of the passion fruit.

In case you planted the passion fruits using manure, add NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) fertilizers after one month. In the second month, use the TSP or Triple Super Phosphate Fertilizer or the Single Super Phosphate (SSP) Fertilizer. With time, you can interchange this with the Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN). This will help in the development of the fruit tissue and also helps in strengthening the cover of the fruit. You can use organic and inorganic fertilizers interchangeably.

Marketing Passion Fruits in Uganda

You can sell your passion fruits to different categories of buyers in the Ugandan market and even abroad. These can include wholesalers, restaurants, retailers, individual customers, traders, and supermarkets among others. Regionally, Kenya is one of the biggest markets for passion fruits. There are also growing export markets such as China and the UAE. Prices vary widely depending on the market.

Weeding Your Passion Fruit

You can weed your passion fruits at various stages during the planting. A garden free of weeds will generally give you an excellent harvest. In case you decide to weed your passion fruits, make sure you don’t leave the ground bare. Spread some mulch or leave some grass bands around the roots of passion fruit to protect the roots and help in keeping the soil moist.  You can also intercrop the passion fruits with crops such as strawberries which provide for good cover crops.

Storing Your Passion Fruits

Store the fruits in a cool place. In that condition, they can last for more than two weeks without getting spoilt. Before you harvest the fruits, apply some CAN to prolong the shelf life of the fruits. In Uganda, however, a lot of the passion fruit produced is sold almost immediately.

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Passion fruit growing tips

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.

You Can Make Your Passion Fruit Plants to Yield More Fruits
Fruiting Passion Fruit Plants

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.

Wind Protection

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

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.

The Slope

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.

Frost

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.

Soils

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.

Irrigation

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.

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Passion Fruits are Loaded With Lots of Nutrients

A single passion fruit is loaded with more than 300 black seeds which are edible. Passion fruits also have a unique and complex taste like aroma. While the taste is a little tropical, it is also citrusy, sweet and tart all at one go. There are more than two hundred varieties of passion fruits planted globally. While the purple-black skinned variety of passion fruits is still the most popular, the yellow passion fruit variety is also growing in popularity with many consumers globally. It is best for processing passion fruit juices.

A Delicious Passion Fruit Blend
A Delicious Passion Fruit Blend

When fully ripe, the skin of the passion fruit will be wrinkled and brittle but don’t be turned off  by the look of the skin. Inside the passion fruit, you will find a very succulent yellow flesh. A single passion fruit consists of about 16 calories and is packed with lots of vitamins A and C. Passion fruit is also a great source of fibre when it is eaten with the seeds.

When growing passion fruits, it is important to ensure that the passion fruit plant is on a very strong support system. Usually, a trellis or trellising system is used when growing the passion fruit.

The passion fruit plant will grow to about 20 feet every year and can easily take over a support system such as fencing or tree. Once grown, the passion fruit will keep on fruiting for 8 years before you will need to replace it.

Making a Passion Fruit Salad dressing

One of the best way to consume passion fruit is by making a sweet tart salad dressing of passion fruits with strawberries and baby spinach or even a salad consisting of greens, pear slices as well as blue cheese crumbles.

The ingredients that you will need for its preparation include the following:-

  • Two to three passion fruits
  • A half a cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • A tablespoon of lime juice
  • A tablespoon of vinegar
  • Two tablespoons of honey
  • A quarter tablespoon of salt

Directions for Preparations

  • Slice the passion fruit into half and scrap off the passion fruit pulp along with the seeds into a saucepan. Cook the passion fruit pulp over low heat until it comes close to the boiling point and then remove it from the heat.
  • The strain the passion fruit pulp through a fine sieve or a colander and get rid of the seeds. Allow the passion fruit juice to cool down.
  • Place the cooled passion fruit into a blender jar alongside the olive oil, vinegar, honey, lime juice and salt and blend the mixture until it is smooth.
  • Store the passion fruit salad dressing in a refrigerator for duration of up to a week. You can stir and shake the blend before you use it.
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Passion Fruit Marketing: Domestic and Export Markets

Profitability is generally more about what you can grow as well as what you can sell. The markets for passion fruits are highly competitive and the prices for fresh fruits fluctuate a lot depending on the demand and supply.

Packaged Passion Fruits
Packaged Passion Fruits for Sale

Selling your passion fruits generally requires a lot of time as well as a lot of effort. There are various market factors that you need to consider when growing and selling your passion fruits:-

  • There are growers that produce their fruits via merchants or agents for the wholesale markets in capital cities. These agents will take massive commissions and the merchants that they produce for also buy at deeply discounted pricing. This may not be so profitable for the farmer.

 

  • There are very few growers who can guarantee volume as well as the continuity of supply that is required for the passion fruit market in the major retail chains.

 

  • You can also sell your passion fruit harvest in the wholesale market as well as in the supermarket systems that allows you to market your crop directly to local consumers and retailers. This possible through the sales of your passion fruits to the local independent growers, roadside stalls, farmers markets, farm-gate sales as well as in online markets. The online market, particularly, provides a low cost way to push your products to the marketplace. However, to exploit all these options, you have to be fully committed and you also need to develop the right sets of business skills that will allow you to market your passion fruits directly to your customers and build customer loyalty.

 

  • There is also the Quality Assurance accreditation process that you need to factor in. Quality Accreditation (QA) is usually a key requirement in numerous markets. The QA involves the passion fruit growers going through the right standards training and implementing a set of quality assurance systems, undergoing regular quality audits so as to ensure compliance. For many growers, Quality Assurance generally constitutes a major ongoing cost that the passion fruit grower needs to fulfill. Many of the leading supermarkets are increasingly demanding that the grower be accredited to meet the customer’s demands. Almost 75% of all the fresh fruit produced is usually sold through these market outlets so eventually, you will have to look for some Quality Accreditation.

 

  • While there is a vibrant export market for passion fruits, most of the passion fruits produced are usually sold domestically. For farmers that would like to take the plunge, there is a huge potential export market that can be developed. Export markets are generally a lot more complex however as the grower has to meet more stringent requirements and commitment in both time and money in developing long term relationships with buyers that are based overseas.
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Passion Fruit Farming Marketing and the Profit Margins

The value of passion fruits will vary broadly depending on a number of factors such as the country, the locality and season. The grade of the passion fruit will also have a bearing on the price. If your fruits are bruised or wrinkled, they will fetch a lower price in the marketplace. A 7 kg carton of passion fruits will fetch anywhere from $14 to $70.

Prices for passion fruits will be highest when very little fruits have been harvested and will be lowest during the peak harvesting seasons when many farmers are harvesting their fruits and pushing them to the market.

The prices for passion fruits will fall rapidly as the volumes of the fruits increase.

If you are a new grower, don’t be too bullish about the passion fruit prices. It is generally hard to realize an out-of-season production (that guarantees higher prices) even for experienced passion fruit growers. It is therefore important to temper your expectations if you are venturing into passion fruit farming for the first time.

If your passion fruit produce is of high quality, you are likely going to receive higher prices even in peak seasons. However, getting a consistently high quality of produce in your passion fruits requires a little experience.

Usually, when the prices of passion fruits are high, expect the yields to be lower. Even if you are going to fetch a good price for your passion fruits, you will be weighed down by the high cost of harvesting and low volumes of harvested passion fruits so you will have a lower income.

Profit Margins in Passion Fruit Production

The profitability of your passion fruits will be dependent on a number of factors. There are some factors that are within your control while some of the factors cannot be controlled. The profitability of passion fruit production will depend on the following:-

  • The amount of passion fruits that you have sold
  • The price of the passion fruit sold
  • The cost of production for your passion fruits

These factors are also affected by other production variables such as the weather conditions, the efficiency with which you do the growing work, the time of harvest, the passion fruit supply as well as the market demand for your passion fruits.

Passion Fruit Yields Per Hectare

The total passion fruit yields per hectare can range from 10 tonnes to 25 tonnes per year. The average yield per hectare is usually 15 tonnes per year.

At least 70% of the passion fruit produced will be suitable for the fresh fruit market. That represents roughly 10.5 tonnes per hectare that will be suitable for the fresh fruit market.

The remaining 4.5 hectares will be second-grade passion fruit and this will not be suited for the fresh market. These are usually sold to fruit processors. If you cannot find a suitable processor, the fruit will have very little value.

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What Can a Passion Fruit Farmer Earn Per Hectare Annually?

This will vary from country depending on a number of factors such as cost of labour and the overall cost of production. According to data collected from Australian passion fruit farmers, the cost of production per hectare was $32,850 per year without factoring in the cost of establishing the plantation, the fixed costs and the capital expenditure involved in establishing the passion fruit plantation.

Based on this data, you need a price of $21.90 per carton to break even with the production costs for an average industry yield of 10.5 tonnes per hectare. This is roughly equivalent to 1500 seven kilogram cartons of passion fruit.

The passion fruits sold for processing will boost your overall margins as these will represent profits over the cost of production. However, the processing market for passion fruits is often small or limited in scope and is not accessible to all passion fruit growers. So the most logical path to profitability in a passion fruit farming operation is producing high-grade passion fruits for the fresh market.

What Prices do Processors Pay for Your Passion Fruit?

Processors will usually pay a quarter of the price that you would fetch in the fresh fruit market. So growing your passion fruits strictly for the process market is not profitable. But the sale of these second-grade fruits still generates some value, albeit a limited one for growers.

The profits from your passion fruit farming enterprise will be left after deducting the cost of production and the cost of establishing the plantation from the sales proceeds. There are also fixed costs that you may have to grapple with such as the fixed costs like buildings, electricity costs, cost of building repairs, insurance costs etc; capital costs for the farm such as the cost of machinery used in the farm, buildings as well as the cost of equipment used in passion fruit farming, harvesting and storage.

Check out our Passion Fruit Farming eBook for more information about Passion Fruit

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Marketing Your Passion Fruit: Frequently Asked Questions

Where should you market your passion fruits? The two main markets for passion fruits are the fresh fruit market and the fruit processing market.

The best quality passion fruits are usually sent to the wholesale market in major towns and cities where they fetch a good price. In some markets, you may have to grapple with interstate quarantine requirements for transporting fresh fruits.

Passion Fruits in the market
Passion Fruits in the market

The passion fruits that are blemished are usually sold to the fruit processing market where they are processed into passion juice and other by-products. This will however require a contract with the particular fruit processor. When entering into contracts with passion fruit processors, it is also important to establish their grading requirements. In some cases, they may not buy the passion fruits that have blemishes.

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What Prices Should You Expect for Your Passion Fruits

The prices that a grower receives from their passion fruit harvest can be variable. They will depend on factors such as the fruit quality, the amount of other passion fruits that are in the market and how and where you are selling your passion fruits. For example, are you selling in the main markets in the cities or doing direct sales in the fruit shops? Are you selling publicly through the Farmers Markets?

Normally, up to 70% of the crop will be suitable for the fresh fruit market. These can be sold directly to the consumers. An estimated 30% of the passion fruit crop is usually unsuitable for the fresh market. These are fruits that are not spoilt but have bruises or wrinkled skins and may not appeal to fresh fruit buyers. These are typically processed into fresh juice and other by-products.

Where there is no processing plant nearby, farmers will typically sell 100% of their fresh fruit produce in the fresh market with fruits that are considered “imperfect” fetching a much lower price.

For additional passion fruit farming tips, check our Passion Fruit Farming eBook.

Check out our Passion Fruit Farming eBook for more information about Passion Fruit

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Growing Your Passion Fruit

What are the main advantages and disadvantages of growing passion fruits on your farm? Is it profitable? Is it worth it? Here are some of the main points given by actual farmers who have tried it out:-

The Advantages of Growing Passion Fruits

  • You get relatively quick returns on your passion fruit crop.
  • Good yields hence can offer you self employment or a reasonable secondary income.
  • It is possible to strike high market prices hence get very good margins on your passion fruit crop.
  • It can provide you with a steady income: Once they start fruiting, the passion fruit plants will continue producing fruits and can give you a steady income for a period of up to 11 months.
  • There is a very high grower satisfaction. Passion fruit vines rarely disappoint. If you follow the right procedure, you are going to get a good harvest. Check out our Passion Fruit Farming guide for a comprehensive guide on how to plant your passion fruits and get a good harvest.
  • Passion fruit farming has a very low barrier to entry. You can get started in a very small plot and still get very good yields on your crop.
  • Ability to work from home: If you are growing passion fruit over a large area and it is giving you a very good income, you can easily work from home and still make very good money from your passion fruit crop.
  • You can get a fresh and constant supply of fruit for your family. Passion fruits are very delicious so you can harvest these for home consumption.
  • Very quick returns compared to other tree crops. You can begin harvesting your passion fruit within 12 months and you will continue harvesting them for years. Passion fruits can give you very quick returns.

Disadvantages of Growing Passion Fruits

Some of the disadvantages of growing passion fruits identified by top growers include the following:-

  • You are the mercy of Mother Nature. Passion fruits will do well in a particular kind of natural environment. It is very difficult to recreate these conditions artificially. This will often put you at the mercy of the local weather, altitude and climate.
  • It is very labour intensive: Passion fruit farming requires a lot of manual backbreaking labor that can prove costly. This is especially so during the peak harvest time.
  • Growing passion fruits is a time consuming undertaking. A lot of time is spent in monotonous work that involves harvesting, packing and grading not to forget the time spent in pruning and training your passion fruit plants.
  • You can be at the mercy of the markets. You have to sell your ripe passion fruits quickly before they go bad and you won’t always get a good price.
  • It is a hard outdoor work: You have to be out there in all kinds of weather working on your passion fruit vines.
  • May require significant financial resources: If you are growing your passion fruits on a larger scale, you may require significant financial resources to pay for labour and farm inputs.
  • Strict timing schedules for various activities on your passion fruit vines such as pruning, harvesting etc.

Get more passion fruit farming tips and guides from our Passion Fruit Farming eBook.

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Passion Fruit Harvesting and Yields

What is the time production for your passion fruit plants?

Passion fruit plants will not generally produce fruits within six months after planting. Your passion fruit plants will come into production after about 12 to 24 months. There are various factors that will determine the time to production (time it will take for the passion fruit vines to begin producing fruit) for your passion fruit vines. These will include the following:-

    • The time of planting: In temperate areas, the best time for planting is usually during spring. In tropics such as Africa and South East Asia, you don’t have to worry about these seasonal limitations.
    • Location and Climate: Passion fruit plants will mature fastest and start producing fruits in the tropics. However, they take the longest time to produce fruits in subtropical climate such as Western Australia and the Mediterranean.
    • Variety of Passion fruit: The variety of the passion fruit planted also has a bearing on the time it takes to begin producing fruits. The Panama varieties take the shortest time to mature and begin fruiting while the purple varieties take the longest time. In some markets such as East Africa, the purple varieties of passion fruits are generally more popular with consumers although the yellow passion fruit varieties can be grown in these markets for the fruit processing plants.
    • The site aspect: Passion fruit plants do best in a north to east facing location. They will take longest when planted in a South or West facing site aspect.
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The Labour Requirements When Growing Your Passion Fruit

Passion fruit farming is very labour-intensive. You cannot mechanize it and it will require a lot of manual labour. In a location where the cost of labour is high, this will be a serious overhead when growing your passion fruit.

Passionfruit Plantation
Passionfruit Plantation:Passion fruit farming is very labour intensive

The passion fruit vines will require close and constant manual labour throughout the year. Leave them unattended for any long duration of time and it is going to have an impact on the yield. Most of the work that needs to be done to take care of your passion fruits will involve a lot of manual labour on the farm. If you have time on your hands, you can do some of this in order to minimize the costs.

If you are planting your passion fruit vines over a large area, you are certainly going to need some helping hand especially in work such as pruning, trellising and harvesting the passion fruit during peak periods.

When they hit the age of maturity, the purple passion fruit varieties will fall to the ground. The harvesting for the purple passion fruit varieties will therefore involve collecting the passion fruits from the ground. This will be a difficult strenuous task. However, the Panama passion fruit selections are usually picked directly from the vine. They don’t fall off to the ground once ripen.

In summers, harvesting for the passion fruits should be done at least once every day. In some situations, you may need to harvest the passion fruits at least twice or thrice every day. This will help prevent damage on the fallen passion fruits from the scorching sun.

The difficult part will be finding suitable hands who will give your passion fruits a tender loving care. Ideally, these should be people who are flexible and willing to work early in the morning and late in the evening. Working on your passion fruit is generally a backbreaking labor so you also need workers who are fit enough to do the needed work.

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Passion Fruit Yields

When grown well, passion fruit plants can give you excellent yields that will prove very profitable. Generally, you should expect anywhere from 10 tonnes to 15 tonnes per hectare. On average, you should expect 15 tonnes per hectare.

Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest
Passion Fruit Harvest

Generally, up to 70% of the passion fruit produced will be good for the fresh fruit market. That is an average of 10.5 tonnes per hectare out of a projected average fruit production of 15 tonnes per hectare in annual crop. The remaining 4.5 tonnes of fruit is generally second grade fruit and can only be used for the fruit processing market.

Processing Passion Fruit

Passion fruits are most profitable when grown for the fresh market. This is usually 70% of the passion fruit produce. The remaining 30% that is not suitable for the fresh market such as those with minor skin blemishes are generally used for the processing market.

Extracted Passion Fruit Pulp With Seeds
Extracted Passion Fruit Pulp With Seeds

However, the process grade passion fruit does not fetch a good price in the market so growing your passion fruits for the process market loan will not make financial sense or is not financially viable. However, you will still recover some of the production costs. The most financially viable way to produce your passion fruit is doing it for the fresh market which has very good profit margins.

Also, selling your passion fruits in far off locations may not be financially viable or will eat into your margins. Not only will you grapple with the high costs of transportation, but some of the fruits will get damaged or go bad before they are all sold to customers and this represents serious losses. Ideally, you should grow your passion fruits for the local market.

Expect up to 30% of your passion fruit harvest to be valueless unless you can find a processing facility nearby. However, some customers in the fresh market can still buy these albeit at a lower price.

Takeaway: Profits in a passion fruit farming enterprise are only achieved if you are able to grow high quality passion fruits for the fresh market.

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Passion Fruit Farming and Marketing

Although native to Brazil, passion fruit plants have spread widely throughout the tropics. These delicious fruits are now widely grown in numerous tropical countries ranging from Kenya to Uganda, South Africa, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and even China. They are grown both for domestic or subsistence use and also for commercial purposes. Commercial passionfruit plantations now supply tons of fruit to processing plants that convert the fruits into passion fruit juice for consumption. However, the passionfruits can still be consumed directly from the farm even without value addition.

Purple Passion Fruit Variety
Purple Passion Fruit Variety

There are two main distinct varieties of passion fruits that are grown globally. These are:-

  • The purple passion fruit varieties
  • The yellow passion fruit varieties

The purple passion fruit varieties are generally better suited for the higher elevations or higher altitudes. The yellow passion fruit varieties will perform better in the lowlands where the conditions are more “tropical”.

However, both varieties are distributed throughout the tropics and the subtropics. In almost all the major countries where passion fruits are grown, you will find the purple passion fruit and the yellow passion fruit varieties.

Passion fruit plants are perennial. Once you plant them, they will fruit for many years before you need to uproot the plants and start afresh. They were introduced into the tropics outside South America in the 19th century. In Kenya and much of East Africa, passion fruit plants were introduced in the 1920s.

Today passionfruits are widely grown both for domestic and export markets. While the passionfruits can be picked and eaten fresh, the pulp is generally extracted and preserved either by cooling or heating.

The passion fruit juice has a unique and aromatic flavor with a high level of acidity. These qualities make them a natural concentrate. Once extracted, the passion fruit juice can be diluted with water and sweetened to make for a very palatable juice. It also blends well with numerous other juices making it a great choice for the preparation of cocktails. Some people also cultivate passion fruits as ornamental plants to help in beautifying their homes since they spread horizontally and produce beautiful flowers.

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The Climatic and Soil Conditions for Growing Your Passion Fruit

The yellow passion fruit variety does well in low altitudes of 0 to 800m. They are generally grown mostly for the fresh fruits market. The yellow passion fruit varieties can also be used as rootstocks for grafting the purple passion fruit variety.

The purple passion fruit varieties, however, will now flower at altitudes of less than 1000m. They should therefore be grown at altitudes of 1200m and above.

Mature passion fruit varieties also have good tolerance for light frost. They can therefore be grown easily in the subtropics.

There are other passion fruit varieties that you can grow although they are not as popular as the above two. These varieties include the banana passion fruit varieties that do well in the highland areas. The banana variety will often climb the tall trees for support. At maturity, it will be yellow in color but it will have a soft and velvety skin and produce pink flowers. The banana passion fruit variety is very different from the other commercial passion fruit varieties, even in shape, and it is normally used in sweetened juices as it does not have a natural sweetness on its own.

All the passion fruit varieties will grow on various kinds of soils. However, the best soils for passion fruit farming are typically the light to heavy sandy loam soils that are of medium texture. The soil should also be at least 60cm deep.

If your location has heavy clay soils, then these have to be drained. If the soils are too sandy, then manure should be added to the soils in order to improve their viability. In order to reduce the incidences of diseases in your soils, ensure that the soil is well-drained and aerated.

Purple passion fruits generally do well in areas with rainfall of up to 900mm in Africa, as long as the rainfall is well distributed. The purple passion fruit vines will require a location where they are sheltered from extreme temperatures. For the purple passion fruit varieties, the optimal temperatures for growing the plants should be 18 to 25 degrees Celsius while for the yellow variety of passion fruits, the optimal temperatures should be 25 to 30 degrees Celsius.

There are critical temperatures for passion fruit cultivars for unique environmental conditions.

Passion Fruit Varieties

While there are two main passion fruit varieties that you can plant, there also exist hybrids between the purple and yellow passion fruit varieties. These can have characteristics intermediate between the two main varieties and will perform well in certain conditions.

The main characteristics of the yellow passion fruit varieties:-

  • The yellow passion fruit varieties are more vigorous.
  • They have better tolerance for frost.
  • Have a more acidic flavor
  • They have a yellow rind and produce larger fruits.
  • Because the flowers are self-sterile, they have to be pollinated. You can use carpenter bees or pollinate by hand.
  • They have better resistance for nematodes and the Fusarium wilt. This makes them a great choice for rootstocks.
  • They have brown seeds

The Characteristics of the Purple Passion Fruit Varieties

The purple passion fruit varieties have the following characteristics:-

  • They have a purple rind and the fruits are smaller in size.
  • Unlike the purple passion fruit varieties, they can self-pollinate. Optimal pollination will occur during humid conditions.
  • They have a richer aroma and flavor as well as a higher proportion of juice content at 35% to 38%. However, they are not as sweet.
  • The vines of the purple passion fruit varieties are less vigorous compared to that of the yellow passion fruit varieties.
  • They have black seeds.
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Passion Fruit Propagation and Planting

Passion fruit is propagated in multiple ways ranging from cuttings to seed and grafting. The passion fruit seed should be cleaned of the pulp and then dried in a shade where there is no direct sunlight. It should then be stored in a dark area. Exposure to sunshine will affect the viability of the passion fruit seed.

The germination of the passion fruit seed will take 2 to 4 weeks. It is generally a lot easier to germinate fresh passion fruit seeds than seeds that have been kept for some time. Seeds that are older than 1 month or 2 months will be difficult to germinate.

If you have older seeds, you can soak them for at least 1 day in order to improve the rate of germination.

The passion fruit seedlings should be raised in polythene bags weighing 15cm wide by 25cm deep. In every bag, the seeds should be sown at a depth of 1cm. You can subsequently thin them out and leave only one after a month or so.

If you are planting the cuttings, you can set them in coarse sand before transplanting them in a nursery bed or bags. Passion fruit seedlings typically grow very slowly. They will require between three and four months for them to reach the right height of 15cm to 25cm for transplanting.  Before you transplant them, you should “harden off” the passion fruit seedlings by leaving them in a shaded but open area for between a day or two days.

Passion fruit grafting is used as a planting them because it helps prevent various passion fruit diseases. This usually involves using the yellow passion fruit variety as the rootstock because it has better resistance to root rot, the Fusarium collar rot and the root rot nematodes. In some rooted passion fruit cuttings, wedge and whip grafts will be used for passion fruit grafting purposes.

Five to seven weeks after transplanting, each of the passion fruit plants should produce up to 4 healthy laterals. After this initial sprouting, the plants will begin to grow more vigorously. They will start flowering after about five to seven months after you have done the transplanting during which the vines will be about 10m to 15m long.

Lighting is also an important factor to the growth and viability of your passion fruit plants. They are an essential component to the floral development and setting of the fruits. You should train and prune the passion fruit plants to give the shoots maximum exposure to sunshine.

Based on the climate where the fruits are grown, you can have three harvest peaks for your purple passion fruits or one harvest peak. The yellow passion fruit varieties generally have a longer harvest season.

For more passion fruit farming tips, check out our

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The Mysty Gem Passionfruit Variety

Grown mostly in Australia and New Zealand, the Mysty Gem passionfruit is known to be the sweetest passionfruit variety. Its pulp colour varies from a bright yellow colour to a pumpkin colour. It also has numerous small, hard and black seeds.

The inside of the Mysty Gem passionfruit is white. It has a great flavor that can be quite refreshing. Its flavor ranges from a tangy one to a guava-like flavor. The Mysty Gem passion fruit can be eaten by directly spooning or scooping the flesh. The Mysty Gem pulp can also be used for cheesecakes, icings and fruit flans. When buying the Mysty Gem passionfruit in the market, choose ones that are smooth, dark, heavy and firm.

Best Seasons to Grow the Mysty Gem Passionfruits

The best seasons for growing your Mysty Gems are in summer, spring, winter and autumn.

Where in Australia can you grow the Mysty Gem Passionfruit?
The most ideal growing areas for the Mysty Gem passionfruits include the following:-

  • The Coastal areas of Queensland
  • The North Coast of New South Wales
  • The Melbourne Metropolitan area
  • Darwin in Northern Territory

Check Photos of the Mysty Gem Passionfruits below:-

Mysty Gem Passionfruit
Mysty Gem Passionfruit

 

Mysty Gem Passionfruit Variety
Mysty Gem Passionfruit Variety

 

Mysty Gem Passion Fruit Variety
Mysty Gem Passion Fruit Variety

For additional information, check out our Passion Fruit Farming Guide.

How to Get a Good Passionfruit Yield

Passionfruit is one of the most popular horticultural crops. It is fairly easy to grow and manage and gives good yields within a period of 8 to 12 months. There are different yellow and purple passion fruit varieties that you can also grow depending on your elevation and local climate.

To get the best passion fruit yields, it is advisable to follow certain best practices in passion fruit planting. The propagation can be achieved through prop grafted prop gules, cloning or even seeds. Grafting is generally the most preferred option for growing your passion fruits.

By following the best practices in passionfruit farming, it is possible to harvest as much as 10 tons of passion fruits in a single season and this can fetch lots of money in the market.

Here are some of the best practices that you should keep in mind if you are looking for optimal passionfruit yield:-

Seed Extraction

To extract the seeds, collect healthy and mature fruits from the parent passionfruit plant and scoop the seeds from the ripe fruits. Put the extracted seeds in water for about 3 days so as to separate the seeds from the pulp. Dry the seeds under a shade and store them in a cool and dry dark place. This will ensure there is no loss in the viability of the seeds.

The passionfruit seeds can either be planted in a prepared seed bed or wide bags measuring 6cm that are filled with sterilized soil. The soil sterilization can be achieved by passing steam through the soil. This will kill off the parasitic nematodes and other soil-borne pathogens that cause diseases.

Land Preparation

You can prepare the land by slashing way the shrubs and tall grasses. Alternatively, you can use herbicides in order to get rid of the weeds. Then dig 30cm by 30cm holes on the garden. The soil that is scooped from the hole should be mixed with some manure and then poured back into the hole.

The spacing for the holes should be 3cm by 3cm apart. With this, an acre of land will accommodate anywhere from 550 to 600 passionfruit plants.

When you are planting the passionfruit seedlings, open a small hole in each of the holes and add 5 grams of fertilizer such as a diammonium phosphate fertilizer and cover this slightly. Then plant your passionfruit seedlings on the hole.

The passion fruit seedlings should be planted at the onset of rains and the planting should be done early in the morning or late in the evening. This will help reduce the heat stress on the plants. Plant the passion fruit seedlings in an area that receives sufficient sunlight.

Fertilizing the Gardens

A month after planting, you can apply a nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium fertilizer. This should be applied in a ring that is dug around the plant. The application should be done every two months until the passion fruits reach the flowering point.

After the passion fruit plants have started flowering, apply only the potassium fertilizers as these will help in the flower formation.

Best Farm Practices When Growing Passion Fruits

There are certain farm practices that you will need to incorporate for the optimal growth of your passionfruit plants.  These include trellising the plants and running plastic ropes around the poles and sideway trellising systems. The ropes should be running horizontally while the passion fruit plants should spread sideways.

Passionfruit Vine Trellis Will Provide a Form of Support for Passion fruit plants
Passionfruit Vine Trellis Will Provide a Form of Support for Passion fruit plants

There is advantage with using sideways trellising. It will allow the passionfruit plants to spread optimally and this will allow room for the plants to be exposed to sufficient sunlight. While trellising is a must, don’t make it too elaborate as this will lead to an accumulation of shed which may end up inhibiting exposure to sunshine thus affecting the plant growth.

You should also spray the passion fruit plants with pesticides so as to stop a pest infestation.

Overall, passion fruit plants generally require dedication, care supervision. You have to be on the lookout for any anomalies and correct them to ensure the optimal growth of your passion fruit plants right from the nursery stage to the harvesting stage.

Which are the Most Popular Passion Fruit Varieties?

Success in passionfruit cultivation rests in choosing the right varieties to cultivate. While there are numerous individual varieties of passionfruits that are grown in various locations, they can be split in two main strains of passionfruits. These are the yellow passionfruits and the fleshed passionfruits.

The Yellow Passionfruit Varieties

The yellow passion fruit varieties are generally more vigorous and produce larger fruits than the purple passionfruit varieties. However, they have a more acidic pulp. The purple passionfruit varieties have a less acidic pulp. The yellow passionfruit varieties also have a rich aroma and flavor the proportion of juice in the fruits is higher at 35% to 38%.

Panama Gold Passion Fruit Variety
Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

The yellow passionfruit varieties are generally better suited for lower altitudes such as the coastal lowlands. The yellow passionfruit varieties are also hardier and more vigorous compared to the purple passionfruit varieties. They produce bigger fruits with diameters typically in the range of 5cm to 7cm. They are relatively more acidic and are used for juice extraction. They are a great passionfruit choice if you are planning to plant your passionfruit for commercial juice extraction.

Other characteristics of the yellow passionfruit varieties include the following:-

  • They will give higher fruit yields in low elevations that have relatively warmer temperatures.
  • The yellow passionfruit varieties are bigger in size than the purple passionfruit varieties. Typically, they weigh 60 to 65 grams per fruit. These fruits are generally round-shaped and have yellow spots. When ripen, they will change colour from green to golden yellow.
  • The yellow passionfruit variey is less susceptible to diseases and pests. It has a high level of tolerance for diseases and that is why it is often used as a rootstock for various other passionfruit varieties.
  • Within the yellow passionfruit variety, there are various other varieties that are grown globally such as the Panama Gold passionfruit variety.

Below is a list of some of the common yellow passionfruit varieties:-

  • Yee Selection: This is a round yellow passionfruit variety that also has very good disease resistance. Has a thick rind and gives low yield of juice.
  • University Round Selection: This is a Hawaiian cross of the Yee fruit and the Waimanalo variety which gives 10% more juice. Also has a very good flavor.

 

The Purple Passion Fruit Varieties

There are also numerous types of the purple passionfruit varieties. The main characteristics of the purple passionfruit varieties include the following:-

  • The purple passiofruit varieties give better yields in higher altitudes or in cooler temperatures. The purple passionfruit variety is best suited for areas that have altitudes of 1100 to 2500m above the sea level. The purple passionfruit variety also has a sweet aromatic flavor. They are smaller in size with diameters of 4cm to 5cm.
  • The purple passionfruit varieties weigh anywhere between 35grams to 50 grams and have a round shape.
  • When ripe, they will change colour from green to deep purple.
  • They have an average juice content of between 30% to 35%.
  • The purple passionfruit varieties also has a strong aromatic scent. The taste and juice content varies.
  • It is the best known passionfruit variety, loved for its nutrients and flavor.
Panama Red Passionfruit
Purple  Passionfruit Variety

Some of the Purple Passionfruit Variants Include the Following:-

Mysty Gems: The Mysty Gems are the sweetest of passionfruit varieties. The passionfruit pulp can vary in colour ranging from bright yellow to a pumpkin colour. This passionfruit variety also has numerous small, hard and b;ack seeds. The inside of its walls in white in colour. It has a very refreshingly sweet taste that is tangy and guava-like.

Sweethearts: The sweethearts passionfruits are blackish in colour and also have a very sweet taste.

Panamas: The Panamas are a hybrid passionfruit variety that are also quite vigorous. They are a more tropical passionfruit variety.

Australian Purple: Also called the Nelly Kelly passionfruit, this is a purple passionfruit variety that has a very sweet flavor. It is grown in both Hawaii and Australia.

Common Purple: This is a thick-skinned Hawaiian passionfruit with a smaller seed cavity. However, it has a great flavor and is low in acidity.

Waimanalo Selection: There are four strains of this Hawaiian passionfruit variety. These include the C-54, the C-77, the C-80 and the C-39 which is the pollinator. It is a very nice colour, flavor and has a low acid content.

Pratt Hybrid: The Pratt hybrid variety of passionfruit is a cross between the yellow strain and the Common Purple passionfruit variety.

Banana Passionfruit Variety

As the name suggests, the banana passionfruit varieties look straight, just like bananas but they have rounded ends. They perform best in higher altitudes of above 1500m. The banana passionfruit variety is most commonly used as a rootstock the grafting of other passionfruit varieties, especially in cooler climates. While their pulp is edible, they are used in grafting some of the more popular and delicious varieties of passionfruits.

Banana Passionfruit Varieties
Banana Passionfruit Varieties

 

The Passionfruit Varieties in Australia

The main types of passionfruit that you can grow in Australia include the following:-

  • Mysty Gems
  • Sweethearts
  • Panamas
  • Nelly Kellie

Panama Red Variety

One of the commonest passionfruit varieties is the Panama Red. This is a hybrid passionfruit variety that is also quite vigorous. It has a large attractive red skin and produces large fruits. The Panama Red variety will crop heavily from Autumn to Spring.

Panama Red Passionfruit
Panama Red Passionfruit

Plant Characteristics for the Panama Red Passionfruit Variety

  • Preferred Climate: Tropical and Subtropical.
  • Water Requirements: Moderate watering
  • Preferred Soil Type: Soil with good drainage.
  • Sun or Shade: Needs full sun, 80% to 100%.
  • Soil PH: Neutral PH requirement of 6.6 to 7.3pH
  • Pollination required: Needs two compatible plants
  • Time to fruit, flower or harvest: Requires 2 to 3 years.
  • Maximum plant height: 2 to 5 metres

Panama Gold Passionfruit Variety

The Panama Gold passionfruit variety will produce a lush green foliage that can cover up to square metres in one year. The Panama Gold passionfruit varieties are generally super large, are golden in colour and have a soft skinned juicy fruit with an aromatic pulp. The Panama Gold passionfruit varieties are generally sweeter than other the black passionfruit varieties. They will produce a hundred fruit in a single season. The Panama Gold passionfruit variety should be planted in a sunny and well-drained area. They will begin flowering in spring and you can begin harvesting the fruit right from summer until autumn.

Panama Gold Passion Fruit Variety
Panama Gold Passion Fruit Variety

The Panama Gold passionfruit variety does well in warmer and frost-free growing areas. The Panama Gold fruits can be round to oval . At maturity, they are yellow in colour and have a soft and firm juicy interior that contains numerous seeds. The Panama Gold passionfruit can be eaten or juiced. It can also be mixed with other fruit juices so as to enhance the aroma.

Growing Passion Fruit: Factors to Keep in Mind

Whatever the variety of passion fruit that you are planning to grow, there are various common guidelines that you will need to keep in mind. These include the following:-

The Selection of Site: Proper site selection must be carried out when you are planning to grow your passion fruit. It is important to choose a site which has well-drained, fertile as well loamy soil. It is also important to choose a site that is well-protected by effective windbreaks. Where the soil is not fertile, you can use manure such as organic or chook manure. If you are using commercial fertilizers, these should be well balanced.

Passionfruit Vine Trellis Will Provide a Form of Support for Passion fruit plants
Passionfruit Vine Trellis Will Provide a Form of Support for Passion fruit plants

Preparation of the ground: In order to increase the depth of the soil, it is important to mound the rows where you will be planting the passion fruit. Good drainage of the planting area is also essential. Once you have prepared the soil, you can add organic matter or compost manure in order to further nourish the soil.

As part of the site preparation, you can also erect a vertical T-trellis on the site. Make sure that the spacing between each row is at least 3m so as to allow vehicle access when you will be harvesting the passion fruit. The spacing between each of the passion plants should be between 4-6m. When planting, add a thick layer of organic mulch in order to minimize the growth of weeds and prevent water loss. The mulch should be replaced on a regular basis in order to maintain optimal soil structure for the growth of the passion fruit.

Planting material: You can plant either seeds or true type. Whether you are planting seeds or grafting, it is important to ensure that these are selected from a good fruit. For additional information on how to plant any of these, please check our Passion Fruit Farming Handbook PDF copy.

Irrigation: To ensure optimal moisture supply during the dry seasons, you will need to irrigate your passion fruit plants sparingly.  Use either drip irrigation system or micro-jets. As we have repeatedly stressed, it is important to keep the soil moist but never wet. You can observe the soil profile in order to determine if there is the right amount of moisture in the soil. It only needs to be moist but not wet.  Add water daily. Mature vines generally require a large amount of water. It is very important that the passion fruit tendrils do not suffer water stress as this will cut down on the yield. The water should be fresh as passion fruit plants are intolerant to salt.

Nutrition: Before planting your passion fruit plants, it is important to have soil analysis carried out on the site. This should be done at least 6 months before you plant so that you can adjust the soil conditions accordingly. For example, the soil PH should be somewhere between 5.5 to 6.5. If the soil is too acidic, you can add little amounts of base fertilizers as well as compost manure in order to raise the soil PH.

Pests: Check out a comprehensive list of passion fruit pests and control measures on our Passion Fruit Farming Handbook.

Diseases: There are various kinds of diseases that can affect your passion fruit plants such as scab, passion fruit woodiness virus, fusarium wilt, brown spot and many others. Check out the various passion fruit diseases as well as the prevention and management measures on our Passion Fruit Farming PDF handbook.

Pruning your passion fruit: Pruning your passion fruit plants is an important plant management measure that you must take as early as possible in order to ensure optimal plant growth. It is important to begin training the passion fruit vines as early on as possible. Train them to the top of the trellis or fencing wire and then remove the vertical shoots so as to allow the lateral shoots to begin sprouting vigorously.

It is also important to ensure that you remove the dead foliage or diseased foliage from the passion fruit plant. All lateral shoots that touch the ground should be pruned off. You can also replant your passion fruit after every two to three years.

How to Make Your Passion Fruit Yield More Fruit

The yield from your passion fruit plants will gradually drop with time. If the vines have been standing for at least three years, you are likely to see a drastic drop in the yield of your passion fruit plants and it is therefore advisable to replant them after this duration.

You Can Make Your Passion Fruit Plants to Yield More Fruits
You Can Make Your Passion Fruit Plants to Yield More Fruits

This drastic drop in the yield will most likely occur in the regions with punishing climates or where there is a high incidence of the diseases and pests that affect passionfruit plants. Over time, that vigorous growth and harvest is stunted and the plant is unable to hit its previous yields even if you apply fertilisers.

If you are not ready to replant, you can also apply some good crop husbandry in order to boost the yield of passion fruit vines. For example, make sure that you prune off the old and unproductive dead wood and shoots on the passion fruit vines. Remove all the secondary shoots that touch the ground and make sure you offer the passion fruit plant’s laterals excellent support through the trellis. It is these parts that bear the fruit and if they are not adequately supported, your yield is going to suffer.

When pruning your passion fruit vines, wash your hands with a disinfectant and make sure that the equipment or tools that you are using to prune off the plant is also disinfected. This will prevent the spread of diseases through all your passion fruit plants.

It is also advisable to apply fertilizers on a regular basis but don’t overdo. Add some compost at the root of the passion fruit plants. These not only retain the moisture but the organic matter also nourishes the passion fruit plant. You can also apply the foliar feed sprays every month after you have planted the passion fruit plant. Continue applying this for at least three months.

Finally, apply some fungicides on your passion fruit plants to kill off most of the fungal diseases that are likely to stunt the growth of your passion fruit plants and your yields. This will also forestall any future fungal disease outbreaks.

Get more passion fruit farming tips via our Passion Fruit Farming Handbook.

Harvesting Passion Fruit

Passion fruit vine is a tropical to sub-tropical plant that thrives in warm climate and cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. There are two kinds of passion fruit – purple and yellow. The purple kind ripens earlier than its yellow counterpart. Actually, the ripening time for passion fruits depends upon the species, climatic conditions and the time of its planting.

How to decide the best time for picking the fruit

Passion fruit has variable ripening time. The purple variety is more tolerant to cooler climate and ripens much later than the yellow passion fruit. Crops growing in warmer areas have a quicker ripening period.

Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest
Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest

Fruits start to grow on vines that are around a year old or in some cases three years. However, warmer regions may see an early crop. The yellow passion fruit blooms from April to November and the purple species from March through April. The fruit bearing and ripening is after 70-80 days after pollination. This technically implies that the purple variety is ready for picking by end of summer and early fall. The yellow passion fruit is ready for harvesting in winter.

Harvesting passion fruit

Passion fruit is one that does not need monitoring for harvesting, as the fruit is seldom plucked from the vine. It is a clear indication that the passion fruit is ready for harvesting when it falls off the vine on its own after totally ripe. So as such, passion fruit is collected from the ground and then consumed or processed. Falling from the vine has no major impact on the fruit and it does not get damaged. One just needs to pick it up soon enough so that it does not get shriveled up by heat.

You know the time has come to harvest the fruit from the vine when it turns plump and has a wonderful shade of golden yellow or deep purple. Initially the raw passion fruits are green in color. Slightly wrinkled fruits are over ripe and are much sweeter in taste and rich in aroma.

In order to detect the fallen fruit, it is advisable to keep the area under the vines clear at all times. While picking ripe fruits from the vine, a gentle twist is all that is needed to separate the fruit from the vine. Green passion fruits will not ripen well after picking. However, the ripe ones get sweeter and have deeper flavor if left untouched for long time.

Storage and usage of passion fruit

The fruit that has been harvested needs to be stored well for prolonged use. After picking, the fruit can remain in the refrigerator for more than a week. However, it needs to be placed in a box or crate for the air to circulate freely and keep the fruits fresh. Storing the fruits in bags may hamper aeration and thus mold can form on the fruits making them inedible.

For long time storage, it is better to wash and dry the fruits and then put them in mesh bags and store in the crisper compartment in the refrigerator. Commercial growers need to preserve fruit for marketing or export and thus they coat the fruit with paraffin wax so that it remains fresh and undamaged while shipping. The fruit remains fresh for around 30 days in the coated condition.

Passion fruit tastes best when fully ripe and for this you can leave the ripe, picked fruit on the kitchen counter and allow maturing it a bit more. It will be noticed that the fruit is sweeter and has more balanced taste.

Being an aromatic fruit, passion fruit has many uses in culinary art. The most common being juice or squash. Nonetheless, the fruit adds great flavor to desserts, ice-creams and variety of dishes.

Get more tips on our Passion Fruit Farming Guide.

Passion Fruit Farming Guide

The passion fruit or passionfruit as it is called in Australia and New Zealand is one of the most common backyard fruits. It is sweet and has excellent nutritional value that will contribute vastly to the good health of your family. Passion fruit farming, as a result, is one of the most profitable horticultural ventures that one can engage in.

Passion Fruit Farming Tips

There are various ways in which you can grow your passion fruit. There are people who will grow it from a seed but most farmers rather prefer growing them grafted plants or transplants. Passion fruit not only gives it sweet passion fruits but it can also be a nice ornamental plant when it is grown in your backyard. Its large purple and white flowers will contribute to the aesthetics of your outdoor areas or gardens and it also produces its much beloved purple black fruits.

How to Get Started With Passion Fruit Farming

In order to ensure good growth as well as bountiful harvest for your passion fruit, it is important to plant them in a sunny and frost-free area and then give them lots of tender loving care. In order to grow lavishly and produce lots of fruits, passion fruits will need to develop an extensive root network so you need to give them lots of space for the root development.

Passionfruit has great nutritional value
Passionfruit has great nutritional value

Additionally, the surrounding area where you are doing passion fruit farming should be kept free of weeds and various other competing plants that might deplete the soil of important nutrients. Give the passion fruit vines enough space to climb. A single passion fruit can reach a length of up to 2.5m across and will be several meters high.

Some of the most ideal places where you can grow your passion fruits include along wire fences or even across a balcony. You can also grow them over a pergola so that they can offer you shade throughout the year.

Growing Passion Fruit Along a Sunny Wall or Fence

In case you are planning to grow your passion fruit along a sunny wall or fencing, then it is important to install the wire, trellis or mesh that will provide support for the tendrils. Take into account the root system of the passion fruits knowing that will require deep soils in order to support the extensive network of root system for your passion fruits.

The fertilizer much should be spread over the entire root system of the passion fruit plant. Passion fruit plants can adequately survive on organic fertilizers such as the pelletised chicken manure. You can also use any other kinds of fertilizers which are designed to promote the flowering as well as the fruiting of the passion fruits. The fertilizers should be applied during spring and then after every four weeks during the summers. When applying fertilizers to the passion fruit plants, make sure that you water the plant well.

In order for a newly planted passion fruit plant to hit its full fruiting size, you are likely to wait for between 12 and 18 months.

Watering and Pruning Your Passion Fruit

The passionfruit vines generally do very well where they are well-watered. Water is especially important when they have been newly planted as well as when the passion fruit is flowering and beginning to form the passion fruit.

Unlike other vines with extensive stem network, passion fruit plants do not require any unique pruning techniques in order for them to begin producing the passion fruit. The pruning can be performed in order to control their spread as well as their size. The pruning also allows sunlight to filter through the passion fruit vines so as to help in ripening the passion fruit.

When the passion fruits are pruned, they will begin experiencing a strong new growth that will help in the production of fruit. Where the passion fruit plants are fairly well established and have also fruited, it is important to have them pruned before flowering. This will get rid of excessive growth and prevent the huge tangling of the stems when they are developing naturally.

Before cutting any stem, follow it carefully in order to ensure you are not getting rid of a major stem that is likely to produce fruit. If there is excessive growth, you can tie this to the support or trellis. Alternatively, you can simply cut off the branches that are wayward.

Growing Passion Fruit: Tips and Information

Passion fruit is a fast growing tropical plant that is fairly easy to grow. Once you have fertile and well aerated soils as well as excellent access to water supply, you can expect to see your passion fruit plants doing very well.

Passionfruit has great nutritional value
Passionfruit has great nutritional value

Passion fruit is a climbing vine and growing passion fruit will need some tender loving care and support for healthy growth and yields in your backyard. Passion fruit is generally a very vigorous plant that grows very fast. Within a very short time, it will have bloomed quickly and created numerous stems and leaves.

Like sweet potatoes, the passion fruit vines will create very large and lobed leaves that sprout out of little tendrils. These tendrils will wrap themselves around whatever form of support that they can find. You will need to provide very good support for these tendrils using various techniques in order to allow them to bloom as naturally as possible.

Passionfruit tendrils
Passionfruit tendrils

Depending on the variety that you have chosen to plant, the fruit can either be purple or yellow and is round in shape. It has a smooth and thick rind and inside, it is filled with an aromatic pulp, seeds and juice. Check the passion fruit above.

Once you have provided a form of support, the passion fruit tendrils will climb up fast and readily and fill up whatever form of support that you have provided them with whether it is walls or fencing.  They will climb high as they can although for practical purposes, it is advised that you nip off the birds so that they can expand sideways.

Passionfruit Vine Trellis Will Provide a Form of Support for Passion fruit plants
Passionfruit Vine Trellis Will Provide a Form of Support for Passion fruit plants

Passion Fruit Varieties

There are various varieties of passion fruit that you can plant in your geographical location. In our passion fruit farming handbook, we have covered the various varieties of passion fruit that you can grow in various locations including what variety to plant in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Kenya, East Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, the United States and South America.

In the cooler climates, commercial passion fruit farmers generally use hybrid varieties of the golden and purple passion fruits. These plants are generally better at tolerating the older climatic conditions. However, passion fruit performs best in the tropical climates.

Some of the hybrid passion fruit varieties that you can grow in Australia include Lacey, PurpleGold, Panama and SuperSweet amongst others. Check out our passion fruit guide PDF copy for your country for information on the right variety of passion fruit to grow in your country along with information on their characteristics.

Yellow Passion Fruit Variety
Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

You will notice that there are certain varieties that are better suited for the tropical climates such as the flavicarpa passion fruit varieties. For cooler climates, you will be better off with the purple passion fruits or some of the hybrid cultivars varieties. All these varieties and their characteristics are covered in our passion fruit farming handbook.

Important Things to Keep in Mind When Growing Passion Fruit

They need lots of nutrients: Passion fruit plants grow very fast and, therefore, need an abundant supply of nutrients in order to support that growth. You will notice that your passion fruit plants have a very lush foliage within a very short time and that must come from somewhere. Without adequate water and nutrients supply, your passion fruit plants might reach maturity and still not produce any fruit. Growing passion fruit vines will require fertile soils and additional fertilizers, preferably the compost manure type. However, don’t overuse the fertilizers otherwise you might prevent or delay the formation of the fruits.

Passion fruits require lots of sunshine: For the best performance, growing passion fruit requires lots of access to sunshine, a warm climate as well as adequate protection from windy conditions. An ideal planting area for your passion fruit is a sunny and sheltered site that is also free from frosty conditions. Some purple varieties of passion fruit can handle mildly frosty conditions. While frost may kill the top of the vines, the roots generally reshoot but passion fruits grow excellently in warmer conditions.

Support: Because the passion fruit tendrils are very long and thin, they will need something that they can climb over. This can be a wall, fence or even poles.

Support System for Giant Passion Fruits in the Philippines
Support System for Giant Passion Fruits in the Philippines

The root systems are vulnerable: The root network of passion fruit is generally quite vulnerable. The best soil for growing passion fruits is generally a healthy soil with lots of worms, microbes as well as various organic matter.  If you grow passion fruit in poor soils, they are likely to wilt, experience root rot or be susceptible to nematodes. Heavy clay soils, for example, are generally not ideal for passion fruit growing.

Watering passion fruit: When growing passion fruit, it is important to ensure that the plants are well watered. Passion fruit is a large plant and is supported by a very small root system. The roots will not dig deeper like those of the other trees. You, therefore, need to supplement their water requirements by making sure that the plant is well watered. Water is especially important when the plants are fruiting. While passion fruit plants need plenty of water, they cannot handle soils that are waterlogged so water them sparingly like you would water your vegetable gardens. The site where you are growing passion fruit should also be one that drains easily.

How to Grow the Passion Fruit Seeds

Buying passion fruit vines is generally costly so some farmers prefer to grow the passion  fruit plants from the seeds in order to cut down on costs. However, when you are growing from the seeds, it is important to ensure that the seeds are fresh. You can purchase seeds from the store you can harvest seeds from the fruit itself and plant them as soon as possible. The seeds will generally take anywhere from 10 to 20 days in order to germinate. On the other hand, the older passion fruit seeds generally take a little longer in order to germinate.

Disadvantages of Planting Passion Fruit Seeds

Even though it is a cheaper option of growing passion fruit, there are many disadvantages associated with planting your passion fruit from the seeds. It is not an efficient way to grow your passion fruits because many of the seeds will not even germinate in the first place.

If you are planting seeds for hybrid passion fruit varieties, they not even grow to type as you would expect. In many cases, you will be planting the passion fruit seeds and you will not even be sure about the kind of outcome that you will get.

Another good reason not to grow passion fruit seeds yourself is that some of the passion fruit varieties are highly susceptible to various forms of root diseases such as the Fusarium wilt. If this is a problem in your kind of soil and you live in a cool climate, then you will be better off with the grafted passion fruit plants. If you live in the tropics, then you are likely safer as the tropical passion fruit plants are generally less susceptible to the Fusarium wilt and are also fairly well resistant to the nematodes.

How to Grow Your Passion Fruit Yourself

Want to grow your passion fruit yourself? Here are some useful tips to keep in mind:-

The Position of Your Passion Fruit Plants

Passion fruits are a subtropical plant so it is necessary that they are planted in a position where they receive full sun. The plants should also be sheltered from frost and winds. The soil where the passion fruits are planted should be light and properly drained. In case you live in area with heavy soils, consider planting your passion fruit plants in containers. We advise adding in an excellent quality potting mix that has been formulated well for the containers where you plan on planting your passion fruits.

Planting Your Passion Fruit

Plant your passion fruit when all the frost has subsided. If you are living in temperate climates, the best time to plant your passion fruit would be during spring. Before you plant the passion fruit, add a slow dripping citrus fertiliser in the bottom of the hole. Make sure you firm the soil well and also water the soils well.

Passionfruit Plantation
Passionfruit Plantation

Watering Passion Fruit Plant

Passion fruit is a vigorous tropical plant that will develop an extensive network of root system but they won’t go very deep. The roots will be fairly shallow. Make sure you carry out frequent watering but without flooding the soil. Too much water is not advised for your passion fruit. Add a little water and to help in retaining the moisture, add some mulching at the root system. The watering should be done during the flowering and fruiting phase. When watering, keep the water from getting to the foliage so as to prevent the formation of fungal problems.

Adding fertilisers

Passion fruit plants, being vigorous, are also heavy feeders. Feed them sparingly with a slow release Citrus fertiliser. During their fruiting phase, you can also feed them with a liquid fertiliser.

Training and Pruning Your Passion Fruit

The passion fruit plants should be trained early on. This will allow them to create a strong framework upon which other lateral branches will sprout and bear the fruit. After planting the passion fruit vine, it is advisable to get rid of the side shoots so that you can train the main shoot or the leader towards the trellis so as to ensure excellent support.

After the growing tip has sprouted a bit, pinch out the growing tip so as to allow the sprouting of the laterals. If you live in a temperate climate, never prune during the winter. In much of South East Asia and even Australia, the best time to prune your passion fruit plants would be around October or November.

During the early pruning, you are going to lose a few flowers and possibly fruits but the passion fruit plants have a very vigorous growth so they will more than make up for any losses.

Fruits

The passion fruit plants generally bear fruits in a very short period of time, on average 8 to 9 months. Your passion fruit plants will ripen from around mid summer. The passion fruit plants will be ripe when their skins turn to purple or yellow depending on the variety of the passion fruit plant. During the summers, consistent watering is also necessary so as to prevent the passion fruits from dropping off the plant prematurely. Less water for the plant will also lead to wrinkled fruits.

Passion fruit plants are fairly easy to grow if you follow the right procedures. Check out our Passion Fruit Farming Guide for comprehensive guidance on how to grow your passion fruit plants. You can order your copy via PayPal by paying $10 to freerangefarming.info@gmail.com.

Passion Fruit Growing Guide: Get High Yields From Your Passion Fruits

Passion fruits are no longer just a tropical fruit. The demand for these delicious and healthy fruits is increasing across many countries. Many consumers are discovering the benefits of these fruits and that means farmers now have a bigger market where they can sell their passion.

Passion fruits are a perennial vine and once you have planted and taken great care of the plant, you are going to harvest them for many years to come depending on your plant management.

The good thing is that the passion fruit plants can also be intercropped with many other plants such as strawberries, beetroots, onions and vegetables among others.

The most popular passion fruit cultivars are the yellow passion fruit cultivars and the purple passion fruit cultivars.

Purple Passion Fruit Varieties

Purple passion fruit varieties are suited for the altitudes of 1100m to 2500m above sea level. The purple passion fruit variety generally has a sweeter aroma. Some of the popular purple passion fruit variety include Black night, Frederick, Red Rover, Purple Giant, Kahuna and Paul Ecke passion fruit variety.

Panama Red Passionfruit
Panama Red Passionfruit

Yellow Passion Fruit Varieties

The yellow passion fruit varieties ate generally better suited for the lower altitudes like the coastal lowlands. This variety of passion fruit is hardier and grows more vigorously compared to purple passion fruit. It is relatively acidic and also has a larger diameter. The yellow passion fruit varieties are better suited for fruit extraction.

Yellow Passion Fruit Variety
Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

Since the yellow passion fruit varieties are generally more resistant to a variety of diseases affecting passionfruits, they are commonly used as a rootstock for purple passionfruit varieties during grafting and propagation.

Soil Preparation and Planting

For passion fruit growing, you need to prepare very fine soil texture. Because passion fruits are very susceptible to nematodes and other disease causing agents so the soil where you will grow your passion fruit plants should be properly sterilised.

There are very ways to sterilise the soil:-

  • Solarisation
  • You can sterilize the soil by using fumigation techniques

There are various other techniques that you can use to sterilize the soil. Check out our Passion Fruit Farming Guide and get comprehensive information on how to sterilize your passion fruit plants.

By solarisation, the soil is exposed to several hours of sunshine on a regular basis. This can be followed by adding beneficial micro-organisms on the soil or simply using compost on the soil surface. Adding beneficial micro-organisms is important because solarisation will kill everything in its path-both beneficial and harmful micro-organisms.

Grafting

Grafting offers you the best planting method to get good results from your passion fruit plants. As discussed, the yellow passion fruit forms the best root stalk for grafting your passion fruit plants, whether purple or yellow passion fruit.

The graft union should not be covered with soil to prevent the whole plant from rotting. The newly planted seedlings should then be watered adequately to allow them to sprout well.

For more comprehensive on successful passion fruit farming, check out our passion fruit farming guide.

The Simple Guide to Passion Fruit Farming in Uganda

Passion fruit is a fairly popular fruit grown in Uganda, especially in the districts of Kasese and Masaka. There is low barrier to entry for passion fruit farming. It is easy to grow and manage in general if you follow the right steps. Within 8 to 12 months and with the right varieties, you should be able to begin harvesting your fruits. Here is a simplified guide on passion fruit farming in Uganda:-

Passion Fruit Varieties to Grow in Uganda

There is the traditional purple skinned passion fruit variety as well as modern hybrid purple variety of passion fruit. Here is a look at the main passion fruit varieties that you can grow in Uganda:-

  • The purple Grandilla passion fruit variety:b This variety of passion fruit is known for its sweet scent and flavours. It is also known as Kasese passion fruit, Masaka passion fruit or simply the Kenyan passion fruit variety.
  • Kawanda Hybrid passion fruit variety: This is a highly resistant hybrid passion fruit variety that is a cross between the yellow passion fruit variety and the local purple passion fruit variety.
  • Yellow passion fruit variety: The yellow passion fruit variety is highly popular, especially in Kenya where it is rapidly growing in popularity. It is very aromatic but also more acidic.

 

What are the Soil Requirements for Passion Fruit Farming?

Passion fruits need to be planted in sandy loams that are fairly fertile with lots of mineral supply for you to attain the best yields from your farm. If these conditions do not exist naturally, you can create them artificially using a mixture of sand, compost and artificial fertilizers. The suitable soil PH range should be in the region of 6.0 to 6.5.

Propagation of Passion Fruits in Uganda

Passion fruits should be propagated using stem cuttings, seeds or they can simply be grafted onto prop gules.

Planting the Passion Fruit

Here are some tips to keep in mind when planting your passion fruit in Uganda:-

  • Dig a hole with a depth of at least 1 feet and a width of 2 feet.
  • Make sure the holes where you will be planting the passion fruits is well fertilized.
  • It is advisable to prepare the land and open the planting holes a few months in advance so as to kill off the pests and diseases.
  • The mix the top soil with the compost and put it back.
  • Add the relevant fertilizers such as NPK and CAN to further boost the soil fertility.
  • Trellis the plants. The poles should be placed at least 6m apart in the spaces between the passion fruit plants.
  • Do some companion planting or intercropping with some “light” vegetables such as strawberries, carrots or green pepper. Avoid heavy feeders such as maize, and bananas.

 

Harvesting Your Passion Fruits

Your passion fruits will be ready for harvesting after eight to twelve months. This is especially so for the purple variety of passion fruits. Start picking the fruits as soon as they turn from green to purple when the calyx has dried leaving a small stalk to which the fruit is attached. During this time, shaking the tree will be sufficient to get the fruits falling to the ground.

If you are harvesting for processing, it is advisable to let the passion fruits fall on a soft mulch on the ground. Don’t pluck them up as you may end up plucking unripe ones for immediate processing.

You can collect the dropped fruits at least once or twice every week. In hot weather, pick the fruits early in the morning. Make sure you shake the tendrils so as to release all the passion fruit which may have been stuck in the foliage.

In rainy weather, pick your passion fruits on a daily basis and store them in a cool and dry place.

Marketing Your Passion Fruit

Uganda already has a large local market for passion fruits. If you are looking for a larger and more lucrative market, you can take your passion fruits to Nairobi, Kenya. Look for buyers through Facebook groups and ship the passion fruits to them via transport options such as Easy Coach. Other markets include Tanzania, Rwanda and the UAE.

Passion Fruit Farming in Uganda: Quick Tips for Success

Looking for some quick tips for passion fruit farming success in Uganda? Here we go. A 2 minute read of simple tips that will make your passion fruit farming venture more profitable:-

  • Plough the proposed deeply and thoroughly. This will open up the soil and allow it to be aerated which is ideal for passion fruit planting. Opening up the soil also allows for water filtration.
  • Open the passion fruit planting holes several weeks in advance.
  • Mix the top soil of the farm with the compost or manure and then put it back into the planting hole.
  • Transplant your passion fruit seedlings as soon as the rains begin. If there are no rains, water before and after planting your passion fruit.
  • You should do the transplanting of the passion fruits during the early mornings or late evenings. This will minimise the likelihood of plant failure or withering due to excess heat.

 

Planting from Seeds

  • If you are starting with seeds, soak these seeds in warm water so as to facilitate their quick germination.
  • Leave the passion fruit seeds in the open air to dry before you plant.
  • Place the passion fruit seeds 1cm deep in polythene containers
  • Thinly cover the seeds with top soil and then pour water to facilitate germination.
  • After the seedlings have grown to a height of 20cm to 25cm, transplant them to the prepared site. Make sure you remove and dispose of the polythene containers.
  • Harvest your passion fruits when they ripen and change colour to either yellow or purple depending on the passion fruit variety.

Curbing Spread of Pathogens in Your Passion Fruit Plants

One of the best ways to curb the spread of pathogens when growing your passion fruits is by ensuring the highest level of hygiene of the vines that you are planning to plant and after the planting. For example, make sure all the diseased plant parts or plants are pruned so as to kill off the diseased parts before the disease spreads to other parts of the plant.

To avoid spreading the pathogens to other plants or parts of the plant, make sure the tools you use in pruning are disinfected. There are certain common passion fruit diseases that you need to watch out for. These include the following:-

  • A dieback in your passion fruit plant can be caused by fungal diseases such as Fusarium or Phytophtora. Use fungicides but don’t overdo it. Always try to keep the use of fungicides to a minimum. You can also use an organic homemade fungicide to stop the spread of fungal diseases. A common recipe for a homemade fungicide involves crushing coriander seeds and boiling them for 10 minutes in 10 litres of water and then adding 40 chopped onions into the hot coriander water mixed. Leave this mixture for 24 hours and then filter it off, dilute the liquid with at least 20 litres of water and spray on your passion fruit plants. Alternatively, you can simply buy a commercial fungicide. Check out our passion fruit farming handbook for information on some of the fungicides that you can use on your passion fruit plants.
  • Another common passion fruit disease that you are likely to grapple with is then Brown spot, commonly called Alternaria passioflorae and the leaf spot that is commonly known as Septoria passionflorae. These two diseases affecting passion fruit plants can generally be avoided by proper plantation management, better hygiene during planting as well as the regular use of fungicides. You can spot these diseases by the spots that they leave on the leaves and fruits. Eventually, they will make the fruits and leaves drop which will severely impact your yield.
  • Another common viral infection in passion fruit plants is woodiness. The most common pathway of transmission for this diseases is during the grafting and pruning process. It can also be transmitted via sucking insects like the aphids. This diseases is most likely to occur in the colder seasons. Woodiness will result in mottled passionfruit foliage as well as malformed fruits that have a hard and thickened rind but with no pulp inside. To control this, prune out the infected vines with a disinfected tool. They should be destroyed as soon as possible in order to prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Mealy bugs: These are tiny insects that are covered in white and waxy fluff. They attach themselves to the fruits and leaves and suck out the honeydew and in the process weakening the vines. In more serious attacks, black mould will develop on the plant which can cover the vines and leaves, eventually killing off the entire plant as they block photosynthesis.

For a more detailed look on some of the pests and diseases that you are likely to grapple with when it growing your passion fruit, check out our passion fruit farming handbook.

The Best Passion Fruit Varieties to Plant in India

Passion fruits are yellow-pulped fruits that have originated from the Amazon. These fruits have always been people’s favorite since all passion fruits varieties are rich in Vitamin A and have a sweet, juicy fragrance. Throughout the world, Brazil grows the most varieties, specifically more than half, of the worlds passion fruits (although some varieties also grow in selected parts of South America).

Large Scale Passion Fruit Farming
Large Scale Passion Fruit Farming

India produces the most number of fruits and other agricultural products like apples, oranges, bananas and a lot more. In fact, India is one of the largest producers of fruits globally. The country is usually referred to as the Fruit Basket of the World which makes India’s agriculture still a  great part of India’s economy. However, there used to be no passion fruit grown in India but the government began growing passion fruits in Indian forests many years back. Thus began the practice of passion fruit cultivation across the subcontinent.

Below is a list of the best passion fruit varieties to plant in India:

There are two major types of passion fruits grown in India, the yellow and the purple passion fruits. The yellow passion fruit comes with more vines and has bigger fruits as compared to the purple ones. The purple passion fruit, on the other hand, tends produce more juice and is less acidic than the yellow passion fruit. Both are good varieties and are suitable to India’s soil and climate.

A great variety of passion fruit grown in India is the Noel’s Special, named after the person who cultivated it, Noel Fujimoto. This variety is a yellow variety that was discovered in Hawaii in the 1950’s. This vine produces round fruits that can produce a good amount of juice. Among the many varieties of passion fruits, Noel’s Special is one of the first choices especially by fruit cultivators and sellers because of its availability and marketability especially during its season.

Kaveri is also a good variety of passion fruit grown in India. It is a hybrid of the yellow and purple varieties. This is a common choice among cultivators because of its excellent resistance to rotting and spot diseases. It is good for the subtropical climate of India.

There is also a variety called the Kapoho Selection which originated in Hawaii. It is a cross breed of Sevcik (another passion fruit variety) and some other yellow passion fruits. Its vine can produce and carry heavy and large fruits. However, it is not as juicy as the other varieties and is vulnerable to pests and diseases.

Then there’s the passion fruit variety called the Yee Selection. It comes with attractive, yellow fruits and produces juice with a very good flavor.

Lastly is the variety known as Common Purple. This variety originally grew in Hawaii. This variety is characterized by a thick skin but is easier to consume because of its small seeds.

There are many more passion fruit varieties and a few new varieties are still being cultivated. Passion fruits are healthy fruits and are good for juice recipes.

In an Indian setting, passion fruits are best planted during the monsoon season. Generally, the soil and climate in India have proven to be suitable as far as the growth of passion fruits is concerned. Apart from choosing the best varieties, it is important not to forget about the best husbandry techniques that will yield a great harvest.

How to Graft Passion Fruit For Better Productivity

Yellow passionfruit does not have to be grafted. It can grow on its own roots without significant infection by Fusarium.  It can be planted directly into the commercial fruit orchard.

If purple passionfruit is being grown for the fresh market, it needs to be grafted onto the yellow rootstock before planting out.  The two seedlings to be grafted together need to have the same thickness of stem to make the grafting easier.  This means they may not be the same age, as the yellow seedlings are usually more vigorous growers and may be bigger than the purple passionfruit seedling of the same age.  Choose the same size of seedlings, each with stems about a ‘pencil thick’ to graft together.

The pink-flowered banana passionfruit (Passiflora millissima), appears to be resistant to root rot and, when used as a rootstock, also induced a measure of resistance in the purple passionfruit to grease spot (Pseudomonas passiflorae) a serious bacterial disease.

Grafting is an important means of perpetuating hybrids and reducing nematode damage and diseases by utilizing the resistant yellow passion fruit rootstock.

For grafting, you will need the yellow passion fruit rootstock and the purple passion fruit scion. The scion refers to a part of the stem that has been snipped from the parent plant. The scion will be attached to the stem section of the second plant so as to form a grafted union.

This grafted union will callus over gradually and morph into a single plant that grows normally. The new grafted plant will have the qualities of both its parent plants.

Here is a guide to grafting your purple passion fruit:-

  • Make sure the rootstocks and the scions are well irrigated up to 2 hours before the grafting is done.
  • Soak the blade of the grafting knife in a mixture of water and bleach for up to 10 minutes and allow it to dry before you begin using it to cut or splice the scions and rootstocks.
  • Make a wide angled cut into the main stem of the yellow passion fruit rootstock using the utility knife. The cut should be 1 ½ inches long and should be made 10 to 12 inches above the soil.  After making the cut, wipe the blade of your utility knife with a cloth dipped in a disinfectant such as isopropyl alcohol.
  • Remove a three to four inches of the main stem of your purple passion fruit seedlings. Make sure every seedling or scion has at least two leaf nodes. Make a wide angled 1 ½ inch cut on the stem of the seedling using your utility knife.
  • Position the cut surface of your purple passion fruit scion against the cut surface of the yellow passion fruit rootstock to make a union. Wrap this union tightly using a grafting tape.

Cleft Grafting for Passion Fruits

  • Put an opaque plastic bag over the grafted plant. Secure this plastic bag on the rootstock just below the graft union. You can do this by tying it up with a piece of twine.
  • Put the passion fruit grafted union in a shaded area with temperatures not exceeding 65F.
  • The graft union will fully form after 10 to 14 days. Remove the twine after this graft union has occurred.  Open the bag to allow the flow of air. After the buds have started forming on the purple passion fruit scion, get rid of the plastic bag entirely.

Tools to Use

  • Utility Knife
  • Grafting Tape
  • Twine
  • An Opaque Plastic Bag
  • Household bleach such as Jik or Clorox
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Images of Passion Fruit Grafting Process

Grafting of Passion Fruit Using the Top Cleft Method
Grafting of Passion Fruit Using the Top Cleft Method

 

Grafted Passion Fruit Seedlings
Grafted Passion Fruit Seedlings
Passion Fruit Grafting for Better Productivity
Passion Fruit Grafting for Better Productivity

 

 

How to Grow Your Passion Fruit Plants From Seeds

Growing your passion fruit plant is one of the most beneficial gardening ventures that you will have undertake. Apart from giving you an abundant supply of fruits that you can eat and also sell in your local organic market, growing passion fruits in your backyard is always a therapeutic and meditative experience. There is lots of beauty and spiritual calm in tending to your passion fruit plants, watching them grow and seeing the beautiful passion fruits sprouts and add vibrancy and beauty to your landscape.

Passion Fruit Seeds
Passion Fruit Seeds

The passion fruit  is vibrant and vigorous plant which with some tender loving care, will quickly sprout and fill out your spaces. The fruit in itself is highly versatile. You can use them to make smoothies and hosts of other delicious treats.

While the most popular and effective method of growing passion fruit plants is via grafting and propagation, some people may prefer or are forced to grow their passion fruit plants from seeds.

Harvesting the Seeds

To grow passion fruit from seeds, start by purchasing healthy and delicious passion fruits from the nearest supermarkets. After purchasing your big, delicious, fruity passion fruit, you need to act as quickly as possible in harvesting the passion fruit seeds. If the seeds are fresh, they will produce the fruits a lot faster.

Extracted Passion Fruit Pulp With Seeds
Extracted Passion Fruit Pulp With Seeds

Harvest the seeds by rubbing the passion fruit flesh on a piece of fabric. Wash the seeds and leave them out to dry for between three and four days. After they have dried, wash them again and now leave them out to dry in a shade.

Planting the Passion Fruit Seeds

Start out by planting them in a container that measures around 90 square centimetres and then transfer it out to your garden. Fill the container with a garden soil and compost mixture. Ideally, the mixture should constitute equal parts top soil, compost and sand to ensure breathability which your passion fruit plants so badly needs. Have at least 10 centimeters of the mixture in your container.

Use a stick to create furrows on the soil. These rows of little furrows or trenches are where you will plant in the passion fruit seeds. Space the furrows such that they are 5 centimeters apart. The furrows will also act as shallow drains that will prevent moisture from draining and causing the rot of your seeds and young roots.

Sowing the Passion Fruit Seeds

Now it is time to sow the seeds. Position them 1cm apart in every furrow and then cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. After sowing the seeds, water them. Keep in mind that the soil should be moist but not flooded or drenched with water to ensure optimal germination and growth.

Once the seeds are in the soil, spray them with water occasionally to ensure the soil remains moist. The seeds will begin sprouting within 10 to 20 days after planting. After the passion fruit seedlings are 20cm to 25cm high, you can transplant them to the main planting area in your garden.

Here, repeat the same process for growing passion fruit by providing the right soil mixture, watering sparingly, applying fertiliser and providing the passion fruit plant with a climbing or support mechanism.  After transplanting, the passion fruit seedlings will take anywhere between 12 months and 18 months to begin fruiting.

How to Grow Passion Fruit in Containers

Passion fruit plants bloom beautifully in the tropical areas but in the colder or wintry areas, only the hardy passion fruit cultivars will survive. That is why many people in colder areas prefer to cultivate passion fruits in pots or containers so that they can move them indoors in case the conditions are not so favourable.  Cultivation in pots or containers can also be a preferred passion fruit planting growing method if you have limited space in your backyard.

Growing Passion Fruits in Containers

If you are planning to grow your passion fruits in containers or pots, you are going to need very large containers. In case you are transplanting the passion fruit plants, you will need a growing container that is at least two to three times the size of the current container where the passion fruit plant germinated. The containers where you will be planting the passion fruit should be filled up with potting material that is nutrient rich and which is also well-draining.

Passion Fruit Grown in a Container
Passion Fruit Grown in a Container

It is important to keep in mind that the passion fruit plants are generally excellent climbers and growers, especially if the conditions are right. In one year, the vines can grow to a length of between 4.5 to 6m or 15feet to feet. You must therefore make arrangements for putting in place a support structure or growing structure for your passion fruit vines.  This passion fruit support structure can be in the form of a trellis or even a chain link fence.

The container in which you are growing your passion fruit plant should be positioned at least one foot or 0.3m from the support structure of the passion fruit plant. In the colder areas, you will want to move your passion fruit plant indoors but it is still important to have a fixed structure outdoors that your passion fruit plants will climb.

What you can do during the winters is prune the vine. Cut them down to one foot or two feet which is about 0.3m to 0.6m in height so that they can be stored easily in the outdoors. Because the passion fruit plant is a fast grower, it is going to easily make up for this when it begins growing in the spring.

Caring for Passion Fruit Plants in Containers

Caring for passion fruit plants grown in containers is a fairly easy affair. Choose the right potting soil that has a lot of organic matter, keep the soil moist at all times but avoid overwatering. It is also important to ensure that the container you are using is one that can drain easily. The container should be positioned in full sun; however, if you live in an area that has intense and steady sunshine, you can position where there are less intense rays from the sun or in a partial shade. The vines should be fertilized on a regular basis, preferably with organic fertilizer.

And that’s all it takes to grow your passion fruit plants in containers. Begin growing your passion fruit plants in containers today, both indoors and outdoors.

Passion Fruit Farming Guide

Once the passion fruit has matured, it generally needs to be stored or transported to the markets. The tough outer skin makes transportation easier as it does not break easily. This also means that with the right conditions, passion fruits can be stored for a relatively longer duration of time.

For the purple passion fruits, the ideal stage for transportation to the markets is when the skins are still light purple in colour. This is the period when the passion fruit has begun to ripen but the skin is still relatively tough and unlikely to be compromised.

Know the Right Time to Harvest to Avoid Ruining the Flavour!

The respiration on the passion fruit during the ripening stage occurs when the passion fruit is still stuck on the vine. If you harvest the passion fruit earlier when the fruits are still green or just about to turn purple, it is going to have an unripe flavour and it is also not going to have the desired sweet natural aroma.

Generally, once the passion fruits have ripen, they can be harvested by lightly shaking off the vines and they will fall off easily on the ground. There are cases where farmers leave fully coloured passion fruit to abscise and fall on their own and be picked on the ground.

This is, however, not the ideal situation as it might lead to losses to the birds and some may even get spoilt if they are not picked just as they mature and are ripe. The passion fruit that is picked on the ground may have certain risks. It can have impact injury on the skin as well as scarring damage that may accelerate the rot. It will lead to rapid water loss in the passion fruit and there is a higher chance of it acquiring disease or fungal infections making it unfit for human consumption.

The Grading, Sizes and Packing of Your Passion Fruit Harvest

The ideal diameter for your purple passion fruits should 5cm to 8cm or 2 inches to 3 inches. For the yellow passion fruits, the ideal diameter should be 6cm to 8cm or 2.5 inches to 3 inches.

If the fruits are smaller in size, they should be classified under a lower grade and labelled so. Depending on the variety of the passion fruit, the ideal passion fruit skin colour should be full yellow or full purple. The skin colour for the hybrid passion fruit variety will vary.

Clean the Passion Fruit

Before storing your passion fruit, make sure that fruit is cleaned to get rid of dirt, surface stains or any adhering calyx as well as other tissue on the passion fruit skin surface.

Remove the dried calyx from the passion fruit as it is generally one of the main sources of decay of the passion fruit. For export or retail customers, the passion fruit is generally packed in 6Kg and 4.5Kg fibreboard cartons. There are cases when the passion fruit can be packed in one-layer or two-layer trays or cell packs.

In case the stem is attached to the passion fruit to the fruit, take extra care precaution so that the stem does not rub against the skin of the other passion fruits in the carton and cause bruising on the skin.

The Pre-Cooling Conditions for Passion Fruits

You can room cool or forced air cool at a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius.

Optimal Storage Conditions for Passion Fruits

Store your yellow passion fruits at a temperature of 7 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius or 45degrees Fahrenheit to 50 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 90% to 95%. In this condition, the passion fruits can have a storage life of two weeks.

The purple passion fruits on the other hand are quite tolerant to chilled conditions and can thus be stored at temperatures of 3°C to 5°C or 37°F to 45°F for a duration of three to five weeks. So the purple passion fruits can stay fresh for close to two months when stored in the right conditions.

Controlled Packing Practices

There are techniques that farmers and retailers generally use to further extend the lifespan of the passion fruits. For example, film bagging and adding various coatings will significantly reduce water loss in the purple and yellow passion fruits.

Some retailers use a paraffin-based or a carnauba-based coating or even a wax coating on purple passion fruit before they are packed for storage or shipping. Doing this not only improves the passion fruit gloss which makes it more attractive to customers but it also helps in reducing the water loss in the passion fruit and also significantly extends the post-harvest life span of the passion fruit.

You can apply wax on the skin of the passion fruit it on the skin, applying the wax with a brush or simply rubbing it gently on the skin of the purple passion fruits.

Passion Fruit Retail and Display

On the shelves of the supermarkets, the passion fruits should be displayed at the room temperature. Avoid icing or misting the passion fruit on the display.

How to Grow Passion Fruits in Pots

Passion fruit is an excellent plan to grow in your garden and it is also a great potting plant. It will do just as well when planted in containers so long as you provide the right growing conditions including good soil, watering, good exposure to sunshine and excellent support system.

Growing Passion Fruits From Seeds
Growing Passion Fruits From Seeds

Here is a simple guide on growing passion fruit plants in pots:-

What you will need to plant passion fruit plant in containers:-

  • 5 to 7 gallon containers
  • Potting soil
  • Trellis or any kind of suitable support structures
  • Sand
  • Peat
  • Seedlings

How to do it

  • Start by filling the containers with potting soil until about half way. Use high quality potting soil with pH level ranging from 6 to 6.5. Purchase high quality potting soil or simply make your own using equal parts of sand, peat and bark or compost. By using larger pots for your passion fruit vines, you will have plenty of room to erect a larger trellis and train the plant as you wish. The potting containers should have at least a single hole for drainage.
  • Remove the passion fruit seedlings from nursery container ready for replanting. You can force release of passion fruit plant from the container by squeezing it out or simply slicing the container open using a knife or pair of scissors.
  • When replanting the passion fruit seedlings, handle them by the root ball and then set the plant on the soil on top of the potting container. Make sure the top soil on the potting container is one inch below the rim of the container. Adjust the soil in the potting container as required.
  • Now fill sides of the passion fruit plant with potting soil. Firm down the soil gently and add extra soil where required.
  • What the soil in the potting soil and ensure it is evenly moist. The water should be dripping from the drainage holes in the containers. Position the passion fruit plant in an area with full sunlight.
  • If you have purchased a trellis, position it at the back of the container. A trellis that is 5 feet high is generally quite sufficient. The trellis should be inserted carefully so as to avoid damaging the roots of the passion fruit plant. There are certain potting containers that come with a trellis that forms a part of the design.
  • Set your potting containers in full sun and watch your passion fruit plants grow.

More pictures of passion fruit plants growing in containers:-

Passion Fruit Varieties in India

In India, the most commercially viable passion fruit varieties are the purple passion fruit varieties, the yellow passion fruit varieties and the Kaveri passion fruit variety which is a hybrid of the purple and yellow passion fruit varieties.

Purple Passion Fruits

A lot of buyers globally are more familiar with the passion fruit variety. This variety is generally more productive in areas with higher elevations. The fruits are of medium size with a diameter ranging from 4-5cm and the skin colour is deep purple when the fruits are ripe. Each fruit weighs 35 to 45g and the juice content for this passion fruit variety is in the range of 31% to 35%. This passion fruit variety is very popular for its sweet flavour and nutrient content. The seeds have a black colour. The drawbacks is that this passion fruit variety is more susceptible to collar rot, leaf spot as well as to attacks by nematodes and thrips.

Yellow Passion Fruits

The yellow passion fruit variety is better suited for lower elevations and warmer climates. It does badly when planted in higher elevations because it is very sensitive to lower temperatures. The yellow passion fruits are generally larger in size than those from the purple varieties with each fruit weight 60g on average. The skin is yellow in colour with mottled spots and when ripe, it will turn to golden yellow. It is juice is less acidic and has relatively less recovery than the purple passion fruit varieties. The seeds of this passion fruit variety are brown in colour and are very tolerant to the pests and diseases that affect the purple passion fruits such as wilt and leaf spots. They are more tolerant to the nematodes and thrips.

Kaveri Hybrid Passion Fruits

The Kaveri hybrid passion fruit is a hybrid of the yellow passion fruit and the purple passion fruits. It is a more high yielding variety with the largest fruits that typically weigh  in the range of 85g to 110g. Kaveri hybrid passion fruits are purple in colour and have a quality that is comparable to that of the purple of the passion fruits meaning they have great flavour and a sweet aroma. They also have excellent tolerant to nematodes, collar rot and leaf spot.

If you are based in India, you can plant any of these depending on your location and the suitability of the local climate for any of these varieties.

Passionfruit Varieties in Australia

The passionfruit is one of the most popular tropical fruit varieties with many Australians. It is strong, highly vigorous and sweet. Most importantly, it does not require any extensive management in order for you to get good yield for your passionfruit.

Panama Red Passionfruit
Panama Red Passionfruit

In order to great yield, it is important to choose the right varieties of passionfruit that grows in Australia. You must also deploy the right plant husbandry techniques that will help you get a good harvest on your passion fruit. The best place to plant your passionfruit is generally in an open area with good access to full sun and where there are no trees blocking the sun’s rays as well as any other competitive roots in the ground that will compete for the important nutrients with your plants. Due to their quick sprouting nature, passionfruits are generally very demanding on the soil where they are grown. That is why it is important to ensure that these optimal conditions are present for you to get a good harvest.

It is important that you grow your passionfruit in Australia on a structure or form of support. This will offer the requisite support for the passionfruit tendrils which tend to grow very long and will attach themselves to any form of support that they might encounter along the way.  For additional tips on the best techniques for passionfruit management in Australia, check out our Passion Fruit Farming Handbook.

What Varieties of Passionfruits are Grown in Australia?

In Australia, the most common passion fruit varieties are the grafted Panama Gold, the Panama Red as well as the Nelly Kelly Passionfruit.  The Panama Gold is known for its large fruits as well as the golden yellow skin colour. Below is a picture of the Panama Gold passionfruit variety which is grown in Australia.

There is also the Panama Red passionfruit variety in Australia. Ads the name suggests, this Australian passion fruit variety has red skin and a large fruit. The Panama  red is also grafted. Check out a picture of the Panama red passionfruit below. Both the Panama Gold and the Panama Red passionfruits will do well in tropical conditions.

For conditions such as Southern Australia, then it is prudent to go with the grafted Nelly Kelly passionfruit variety. Below is a photo of the Nellie Kelly variety of passion fruit.

When planting your passionfruites, you can use chook manure to provide the needed nourishment for your plants, especially in the first few months when they have a lot of growing to do. The best way to apply chook manure around your passionfruitv grafted plant is by scattering at about one metre around the plant. You can scatter the manure at least twice a year. Please take care not to add too much manure as this might likely hinder the formation of fruit later on.

 

The soil on which you are planting your passionfruit should be moist but well-drained. It is also advisable to put some mulch around the plant’s root system so as to preserve the moisture and also protect it from the harsh sunshine.

 

In the first year, expect the tendrils of the passionfruit vines to extend over the support system that you have provided, be it the fencing, walls, or trees. If they are growing too tall, you can nip the top buds of the passionfruit plants and they will begin growing laterally. Instead of vertical growth, they will be plenty of horizontal shoots. The plant will begin producing shoots 18 months after planting.

Different Stages in the Growth of Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is ideally grown in subtropical and tropical regions and need plenty of sunlight for a healthy growth. However, it can be grown in many other parts too with controlled soil and climatic conditions.

Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest
Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest

Passion fruit can be cultivated by two methods – first being through germination of seeds and the other being grafting of plant.

Preparation for planting

Any plant that you wish to grow needs planting in pot or ground. In the case of passion fruit, the seeds from a ripe, harvested fruit can be used after removing them from the pulp, washing and drying them for 3-4 days.

The freshly picked seeds germinate faster and better than the dried stored ones. A pot with mixture of coarse sand, manure and topsoil should be made ready for the seeds to be planted. The pot should be approximately half filled with the soil.

Digging furrows in the soil for plantation also ensure that the seeds are not drenched in water and there is sufficient scope for seepage. Sow the seeds at higher level in soil at least 1 cm apart from each other and then cover them gently with a thin layer of soil. This is necessary so that the seeds get good supply of warmth of sunlight for germination. Water the seeds immediately, taking care to see that the seeds are just moistened and not totally soaked in water. Keep an eye on the pot in next few days and as you see top layer dried, sprinkle some water to wet it.

This will enable the seeds to germinate quickly within 10-20 days. Since they are planted at higher level, there is scope for the roots to grow firmly in the soil. When you see that the seedlings have grown 8 to 10 inches tall, you can safely transplant them in the ground where you wish to cultivate them.

As far as planting through grafting is concerned, prepare a pot with three parts fertile soil with a part of topsoil. After mixing them thoroughly, plant the cutting in it. The cutting does not have roots and thus absorbs moisture from atmosphere for its growth. Hence, there is no need to water the cutting excessively nor does the soil have to retain the moisture.

For a good crop, it is essential that the cutting is from a healthy plant. Select the new, young portion of a mature vine and snip it with at least three buds intact. The cut should be directly below the lowest bud, as this is from where the roots will grow in the soil. Plant the cutting in the prepared sand bed immediately after cutting to prevent drying up.

After this stage, it is of prime importance to keep the cutting under humid condition by covering the pot with a plastic sheet and keeping it in sunlight. The roots are formed within 1-2 weeks and then it is ready for transplanting in solid ground.

Choose the right place

For a healthy plant growth, the space utilized for planting should be ideal to suit the particular plant growth. In case of Passion fruit, the plant in consideration is a vine and thus needs sufficient place to spread. The spot chosen for planting should be away from heavy root trees and weeds. It is necessary to clear the weeds from the portion before planting. There should be full sunlight (6 hours a day) and a support nearby for the vine to climb on. You can have it close to fencing or erect a trellis for the purpose.

Care and harvesting

It is essential to put fertilizers from time to time, remove the weeds and water the plants daily for a good crop. Spray the leaves with pesticides to protect from diseases. Soil check for pH balance of 6.5-7.5 is necessary too. Roots need to breathe easily for a healthy growth, so loosen the soil periodically and add coarse sand for aeration.

The vine starts bearing fruits in a year or one and half year, depending upon the quality. Both the varieties, purple and yellow, are green in color in initial stages and as they ripen they change the color. Once you see some wrinkles on the fruit it is ready for harvesting and consumption.

How to Tell If Your Passion Fruit is Ripe

Ordinarily, the passion fruit should be considered ripe once it has changed its colour from green to yellow or purple depending on the variety of the passion fruit. However, the colour change can be quite deceptive. Seemingly ripe passion fruit may not be as ripe inside. Here are some ways in which you can determine if your passion fruit is fully ripen:-

Recognise Ripe Passion Fruit by the Change in Colour

This is the primary mode of determining if your passion fruit is ripe. If it is the purple passion fruit, it will change colour from green to purple with some white specs on the skin of the passion fruit. Generally, the greener the passion fruit, the less ripe it is and this applies for all varieties of passion fruit. If it is the yellow variety, it will change its colour from green to a rich yellow skin colour.

Passionfruit
Passionfruit

In some rare cases, there are passion fruits that will ripen without necessarily changing their colours. In that case, they are likely to drop off from the vines holding them.

Look at the texture of the passion fruit skin

Passion fruits that are not yet ripened generally have a very smooth skin. On the other hand, passion fruit that has ripened will have “dimples” or wrinkled skin. However, it is advisable to go for skin that is moderately wrinkled as opposed to one that is excessively wrinkled as these are likely to be unfit for consumption. Excessively wrinkled skin generally shows the passion fruit has passed its freshness date.

Look at the fruit for any signs of damage

If the fruit has fallen on the ground, inspect of any signs of bruising. Bruises are likely to lead to the growth of mould on the surface of the skin. If the skin looks normal, then the passion fruit could still be edible.

Let the passion fruit fall on its own

Generally, passion fruit that has fallen on its own is generally ripe. Ripe passion fruit will generally fall on its own due to its own weight. However, some un-ripened may still fall down due to weather or if the tree is weak due to dehydration.

The weight of the fruit

Unripe fruit is generally light in weight. Ripened fruit are generally heavier than you would expect for a particular size.

How to Grow Passion Fruit

There are many crops that yield good income to the farmer and Passion Fruit is definitely one of them. This vine bears delicious fruits that are either yellow or purple in color. Since it is a lucrative business to grow passion fruits for domestic as well as export market, let us understand some basics about growing this fruit.

Know about Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is a roundish fruit that grows on vines and is available in yellow and purple variety. Both the varieties are acidic in nature and excellent source of vitamins A and C as well as carotene. The fruit is best eaten in fresh form or after extracting the pulp and making delicious juice. There are many uses of the pulp and juice alike, in cosmetic and food industry. The addition of the fruit gives unique taste to dishes and many food flavors are obtained from this wonderful fruit.

Yellow Passion Fruit Variety
Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

Its utility in food and cosmetic commercial industry has prompted many farmers to take up passion fruit farming and there is a growing demand in domestic and export market for this versatile crop.

Panama Red Passionfruit
Panama Red Passionfruit

The purple variety grows better at higher altitude. They are acidic with variable taste and juice capacity. Initially green in color, they are round and once ripe have an intense aroma. On the other hand, the yellow variety is bigger, rounder, more acidic and less aromatic. Both the varieties are pretty similar in taste. The yellow type gives higher yield and is more capable of fighting plant diseases.

Ideal conditions for growing Passion fruit

Passion fruit grows well in wide range of altitudes ranging from 1200 to 2000 meters above sea level, depending upon the geographical location. The ideal temperature range for purple passion fruits is 18⁰C to 25⁰C and for yellow fruits it is 25⁰C to 30⁰C.

Large Scale Passion Fruit Farming
Large Scale Passion Fruit Farming

The fruit requires evenly distributed rainfall of 900 mm to 2000 mm through the year. Excess rainfall damages the crop. Thus, in regions with heavy rainfall, care should be taken to see that the soil is well drained and there is no water logging. Heavy rains can decay the leaves and fruits and reduce the yield.

For a good crop, there needs to be balanced soil with adequate nutrients and fertility with a pH count of 6.0 to 6.5. Lesser pH means acidic soil and that indicates easy wilting of the vine and destruction of the crop. In order to protect this, it is essential to put manure and lime at the plant roots as well as the entire field, so that the soil acidity is reduced considerably.

Planting and caring

Passion fruit can either be cultivated from seeds or by grafting method. However, grafting method cultivation has better results. After being removed from pulp and dried, the seeds take about 4 weeks to germinate and they are initially planted in plastic bags with approximately three seeds per bag. After germination, they are thinned out to only one plant. The young plant needs four months to reach the transplanting stage.  From seven weeks after the transplanting is completed, the plant should have around four healthy side stems.

Planting Passion Fruit Seedlings
Planting Passion Fruit Seedlings

The most suitable time for transplanting is just at the onset of rainy season. The plants should be planted in well tilled soil, since the roots of passion fruit go very deep down. The field should have posts with wire trellises ready to support the growing vines with fruits. The vines should have sufficient place to grow in both directions.

Since passion fruit grows on vines, it needs ample space to spread out for a healthy growth. For this reason, the plants are spaced out at 3 meters from each other and there is a distance of 2 meters between each row. Horizontal and vertical trellises help in supporting the growing vines and thus should be of proper thickness like 9 to 10 gauge of galvanized steel. The posts on which the trellis is raised should be stout and deep rooted in soil so that they can easily withstand strong winds and the weight of vines and fruits. Ideally, the posts are 45 to 75 cm deep in ground and raise the trellis up to a height of minimum 1.5 meters.

A north-south orientation of trellis ensures that the plants get sufficient sunlight and proximity to other vines encourages cross-pollination.

Precautions for getting a better yield

Mixing about 20 kg of manure with 175 grams of TSP (Triple Super Phosphate) and spreading it around the field at the time of plantation assures a healthy crop. Two applications of 150 grams each per year (Total 300 gm) of CAN (Calcium Ammonium Nitrate) during rainy season protect the plants from decay and disease.  Spraying of pesticides on leaves is also recommended for added protection.

Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest
Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest

When the plants are first transplanted, it is necessary to weed the ground. Since the crop does not last for more than three years, it is advisable to plant other plants in rotation so that the soil remains enriched and disease free.

Be vigilant and prune any decaying part to maintain the plant healthy and high yielding. Timely spraying and application of insecticides ensure that there is no infection and the crop is well maintained.

For local market use, the fruit s harvested when it changes color. From raw green it turns to either yellow or deep purple. The pulp is bright yellow and has small black seeds. As far as fruit harvesting for processing is concerned, it is allowed to fall to the ground and then collected very alternate day after it shrivels up a bit. This does not hinder its efficiency for processing.

Passion fruit vines give a good, healthy yield for almost three years, after which the strength of the plant diminishes and so does the harvest.  These vines have a capacity of giving yield of 15 to 20 tonnes per hectare and thus generate good income for the farmer.

As we can see, passion fruit farming is a very good income source for the farmer and with simple precautions and proper planning he can get excellent crop for domestic and export markets.

Management of Passion Fruits

Passion fruit farming is a very lucrative business that can earn very handsome income to the farmer. Nonetheless, it is possible only if good care is taken of the plant to enable healthy crop.

Passionfruit Plantation
Passionfruit Plantation

Weeding

Passion fruit farming can give good yield if the vines are well cared for. The plant thrives well if there are no weeds around it. Thus, weeding from time to time is essential so that the soil moisture is reserved for the vine and not used up by the weeds.

While weeding or loosening the soil for aeration, care should be taken to keep the roots and basal stem intact and not damage them by hoe; else, the vine gets weak and rots, destroying the crop.

Pruning

Good crop is obtained by periodically pruning the plant. Dead leaves or rotten vine parts can destroy the health of the plant. It is also essential to prune some live parts in order to cut down the overall growth and get good nourishment for the plant. This ensures that the vine bears good yield and lasts longer.

Pruning has another advantage too. It exposes the leaves and fruits to bright sunshine that helps in controlling plant diseases and gives rich color to fruit and sufficient scope for photosynthesis for healthy foliage.

Pruning is necessary to free the vines from entangling and the tendrils twining into other plant thus retarding the growth of both the vines. The pruning process helps to expose the fruit for harvesting.

Since the vine is trimmed to give space for new growth, the flowers and fruits are of good quality.

Fertilizers

For a healthy growth of plant there needs to be proper nourishment. This is only possible if the soil is fertile and rich in minerals. However, if there is lack of natural nutrients in the soil, it is advisable to supplement the nourishment by adding good quality chemical fertilizers. Some natural manure like farm rot manure or poultry manure can be equally effective.

The addition of fertilizer to soil is needed at planting stage if the soil is not of good quality. However, in case of fertile land, the process can be undertaken after a year or so, but later needs to be a continued process after the soil loses its bulk of natural nutrients.

A recommended dose of ½ lb of single super-phosphate applied per plant is good at planting stage.

Inter-planting

Passion fruit is a vine and thus planted in rows with trellis support or that of fencing.  Thus there is enough open space to plant other varieties of plants and vegetables to get a continuous yield. Actually, this inter-planting process should be carried out in the first year, when the passion fruit vine is just settling in the soil. Some plants that can be considered are annual crops like egg plants, carrots, onions or even a few short term growing vegetables that do not interfere with overall growth of the passion fruit vine.

Inter-planting help the farmer earn additional income, prevents wastage of space and after the crop is harvested, the remains of the plant and roots add as manure after decaying. The only care needed is not planting crops that have a tendency of sucking the nutrients from the soil.

Pest control

Insects are beneficial for pollination. However, all insects are not good for the crop and some can pose danger in the healthy growth of passion fruit plant. Some of them are Mealy Bugs, Aphids, Fruit Flies and Passion Fruit Mite. These can cause severe damage to the vine or the fruit and should be treated in timely manner.

Passion fruit vine can suffer from diseases like Brown Spots, Fusariam Wilt and Woodiness Disease. Brown spots cause the vine to dry and rot. The tissues that carry the food get damaged and thus the plant does not get proper nutrition. Pruning and spraying with mixture of 30 gm Dithane M45 in 10 liters water helps to control the disease.

Woodiness disease destroys the quality of fruit and the best remedy is to uproot the vine and burn it.

Fusariam Wilt is soil-borne disease and affects the plant root upwards and gradually since the roots are affected and the plant is devoid of nutrition, it withers and dies. This disease affects purple variety of passion fruit and the yellow barely gets affected.

Harvesting, packing & marketing

Passion fruit matures within 70 days after setting. The mature fruit falls off to the ground and can be collected. It is essential to shake the vine while plucking the fruit to free the entangled fruit from foliage. The best time to harvest is morning when the scorching sun heat is not out. A good yield of passion fruit is considered as 15000 to 18000 kg per hectare.

The packing should be ideally done after drying the wet fruit after picking. The crop has good potential in local as well as export market.

Why are my passion fruit plants not producing any fruits?

If you are a passion fruit farmer, one of the most dread outcomes that you might face is doing the planting and waiting long enough yet the plants fail to produce any fruit  in spite of being apparently healthy plants.

Passion Fruit Maturity Period

Generally, passion fruits will begin producing fruits some 18 months after planting. In case you have waited for 18 months or more and there are still no fruits from your passion fruit plants, it could be due to any of the following reasons:-

 

  • Lack of sufficient water: Passion fruit plants are heavy feeders that need plenty of water. It is always important to ensure the soil where you are growing your passion is moist as dry passion fruit plants do not produce fruit.
  • Heavy rainfall at the flowering phase: This has the effect of ruining the viability of the pollen during the flowering phase and as a result, the plant will not attract the bees that aid in pollination. One measure that you can take is pollinating the plant DIY style with the help of a small paintbrush that will transfer the pollen from one plant to another.
  • Avoid overfertilising: Overfertilising the passion fruit plants has the effect of the plant producing too many flowers but no fruit. Passion fruit plants will need fertilizing only two times in a year: after you have pruned them and after they have begun fruiting.
  • Avoid using fertilizers with high nitrogen content: When there is too much nitrogen in the fertilizers, the plant will experience a lot of leaf growth but this will be at the expense of the development of flowers and fruits. Go for the rotted fertilizers or compost such as well rotted cow manure or rotted chicken manure. Other fertilization measures include the use of citrus foods as fertilizer, putting used tea bags at the base of the plants and then leaving them to slowly seep into the roots of the plants.
  • Lack of good sunshine: Your passion fruit plants require at least 5 hours of direct sunshine every day. Make sure you plant your passion fruit plants in a sunny spot where there are no trees and other competitive roots.
  • Prune the vines the right way.

If you are passion fruit plants are not producing any fruit, try out any of these measures and you should be on safe ground. For addition passion fruit farming tips and guidelines, check out our passion fruit farming handbook.

How to Graft Passion Fruit For Better Productivity

Yellow passionfruit does not have to be grafted. It can grow on its own roots without significant infection by Fusarium.  It can be planted directly into the commercial fruit orchard.

If purple passionfruit is being grown for the fresh market, it needs to be grafted onto the yellow rootstock before planting out.  The two seedlings to be grafted together need to have the same thickness of stem to make the grafting easier.  This means they may not be the same age, as the yellow seedlings are usually more vigorous growers and may be bigger than the purple passionfruit seedling of the same age.  Choose the same size of seedlings, each with stems about a ‘pencil thick’ to graft together.

The pink-flowered banana passionfruit (Passiflora millissima), appears to be resistant to root rot and, when used as a rootstock, also induced a measure of resistance in the purple passionfruit to grease spot (Pseudomonas passiflorae) a serious bacterial disease.

Grafting is an important means of perpetuating hybrids and reducing nematode damage and diseases by utilizing the resistant yellow passion fruit rootstock.

For grafting, you will need the yellow passion fruit rootstock and the purple passion fruit scion. The scion refers to a part of the stem that has been snipped from the parent plant. The scion will be attached to the stem section of the second plant so as to form a grafted union.

This grafted union will callus over gradually and morph into a single plant that grows normally. The new grafted plant will have the qualities of both its parent plants.

Here is a guide to grafting your purple passion fruit:-

  • Make sure the rootstocks and the scions are well irrigated up to 2 hours before the grafting is done.
  • Soak the blade of the grafting knife in a mixture of water and bleach for up to 10 minutes and allow it to dry before you begin using it to cut or splice the scions and rootstocks.
  • Make a wide angled cut into the main stem of the yellow passion fruit rootstock using the utility knife. The cut should be 1 ½ inches long and should be made 10 to 12 inches above the soil.  After making the cut, wipe the blade of your utility knife with a cloth dipped in a disinfectant such as isopropyl alcohol.
  • Remove a three to four inches of the main stem of your purple passion fruit seedlings. Make sure every seedling or scion has at least two leaf nodes. Make a wide angled 1 ½ inch cut on the stem of the seedling using your utility knife.
  • Position the cut surface of your purple passion fruit scion against the cut surface of the yellow passion fruit rootstock to make a union. Wrap this union tightly using a grafting tape.
  • Put an opaque plastic bag over the grafted plant. Secure this plastic bag on the rootstock just below the graft union. You can do this by tying it up with a piece of twine.
  • Put the passion fruit grafted union in a shaded area with temperatures not exceeding 65F.
  • The graft union will fully form after 10 to 14 days. Remove the twine after this graft union has occurred.  Open the bag to allow the flow of air. After the buds have started forming on the purple passion fruit scion, get rid of the plastic bag entirely.

Tools to Use

  • Utility Knife
  • Grafting Tape
  • Twine
  • An Opaque Plastic Bag
  • Household bleach such as Jik or Clorox
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Passion Fruit Growing: Important Facts That You Need to Know

Each year, passion fruits attract very high prices in the market, particularly towards the end of the year in the months of October-November. The global market for passion fruits has also expanded in the recent years. These factors have attracted lots of growers into passion fruit farming.

While investing in passion fruit farming is a smart decision for those venturing into agribusiness, do not be blinded by the high prices and forget to factor in what it takes to get a good harvest for your passion fruits.

There are many challenges and pitfalls associated with passion fruit farming. A lot of farmers often face ups and downs especially if they plunge deep into the venture without doing their homework and learning what it takes to get a bountiful harvest of passion fruits. These include factors such as the seed selection, proper preparation of land, watering, fertilising, managing the plant and many other critical factors.

Some of the challenges farmers may face include drop in prices due to a supply glut, pests and diseases and lack of knowledge in managing the passion fruit plant for optimal yields.

Here is a look at some of the important factors that you need to consider in order to ensure your passion fruit farming agribusiness venture is a success:-

  • Make sure the land is frost-free and faces a north-east direction. The land on which you are planning to plant your passion fruits should also be well sheltered from strong winds.
  • Have a constant water supply or an irrigation system. You will need to irrigate the plant for the first five to six months unless your region has good rainfall.
  • Before venturing into passion fruit farming, make sure you fully understand the pests and diseases that you will grapple with as well as the control measures that you will need to put in place to control them.
  • Buy the right equipment that you will use to spray your passion fruit plants. For young vines, you can use a boom spray or a power spray to accomplish the job. Due to their vigorous growth, the passion fruit vines will inevitably thicken up. When that happens, you will need a more powerful sprayer such as the airblast sprayer.
  • You need the commitment to maintain the vines until maturity. Passion fruit plants need some tender loving care and if you don’t have the time and commitment for proper plant husbandry, you are likely to fail. Some of the tasks that you need to carry out on a regular basis include regular watering, spraying, fertilising, pruning etc.  Without these, the production as well as the quality of your passion fruit will be reduced significantly.
  • If you will be doing large scale passion fruit farming, you will need regular labour supply for managing the vines, harvesting, picking and packing up the vines.

The Location

As repeatedly emphasised on this website, the location will be an important success factor when it comes to passion fruit farming. In subtropical conditions, the hybrid varieties of passion fruits which are a cross between the common fruit and the tropical passion fruit will generally do well. The hybrid varieties are, however, very sensitive to cold and frost.

The passion fruit should be planted in a sheltered area that is also frost free. Tropical weather is generally the most ideal for growing passion fruit. If you grow the passion fruit in a less than ideal weather condition, you are likely going to experience lower productivity and lower performance.

The Labour Requirements

Large scale production of passion fruit can be quite labour intensive so in areas with cheap labour such as much of Africa and South East Asia, you can look forward to better margins for your passion fruit plantations.

When it comes to growing passion fruit, you are going to need intensive labour supply throughout the year. You need labour for all aspects of your passion fruit growing including controlling the pests and diseases, fertilising the plant, managing the plant, harvesting, collecting and packing the passion fruits in cartons ready for transportation.

The passion fruit vines will bear fruits for an extended period of time. They will carry crops for summer, autumn and winter. In the summers or in places with hot sun and higher temperatures, the fruits should be picked early in the morning so as to minimise the instance of sunburn in the course of the day.

There have been developments in passion fruit harvesting and there are machines that you can now use to mechanically harvest your passion fruit while on the ground. If you are doing large scale passion fruit cultivation, it is advisable to design your farm such that it is friendly for mechanical passion fruit harvesting. This can be done by ensuring proper row spacing as well as a degree of slope for turning.

Cost of Planting Passion Fruits

Excluding the cost of land and other infrastructure such as a dam, pump, trellis and fencing, the labour costs will vary from country to country. In countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Kenya, Tanzania or India, the labour costs is generally very low so you can expect great margins. However, labour costs in countries such as Australia and New Zealand tend to be quite high.  The biggest costs are going to be in trellising the passion fruit, irrigating, planting and training the passion fruits.

Passion Fruits Diseases and Pests

Don’t venture into passion fruit farming if you are unsure what you will be up against. Take your time to read about the various passion fruits pests and diseases and the management practices that you will incorporate to control them. Because the pests and diseases can have a devastating effect on your crop, you will have to use the fungicides and insecticides extensively.

Managing a Passion Fruit Plantation: Tips to Ensure the Best Yields

Weeding Your Passion Fruit: Because the passion fruit plants are shallow rooted plants, they will be seriously affected by a sudden reduction in soil moisture. Unless you are weeding your plants during the wet season, it is advisable to control the weeds carefully so as to prevent the passion fruit plant from shedding leaves due to competition for water from the weeds.

Passionfruit Plantation
Passionfruit Plantation

Also when cultivating the passion fruit or hoeing around the roots of the plant, avoid doing it too close to the roots so as not to damage the stems of the roots of the passion fruit plant. Root damages will often result in root rot and will ultimately lead to the withering of the plant. To be on the safe side, it is advisable to remove the weeds close to the root of the plant by hand.  There are various chemical desiccants that you can also use for weed control.

Pruning: Prune the plant by removing some tendrils and dead branches so as to boost the fruit production in the plant. In large commercial fruit vineyards, you need to carry out regular pruning so as to keep the plants in the best shape. Pruning the passion fruit plant will help boost the health of the plant in various ways:-

  • By removing the dead wood from the passion fruit plant, you will help ensure proper disease control in the plant. Pruning the passion fruit plant also helps in stimulating the growth of the new laterals that will bear the fruit.  Train the main leader of the passion fruit vine on the trellis and wire while training the laterals to make sure they will hand freely from the trellis or the wire. If a lateral reaches the ground level, prune it off at the ground level. Move the tends regularly to prevent entangling and ensure the laterals are hanging freely.

Interplanting

To avoid wasting the large spaces between the passion fruit plants, it is advisable to do some interplanting with plants such as onions, egg plants, carrots as well as various short term vegetables. You can do the interplanting during the first year when the plant is just getting established.  Avoid interplanting with crops that will drain off the soil nutrients such as bananas, maize and sugarcane.

Large Scale Passion Fruit Farming
Large Scale Passion Fruit Farming

Managing Pests and Diseases

Make sure you fully understand the various passion fruits pests and diseases that you will grapple with before you venture into passion fruit farming. There are beneficial and harmful insects that you need to acquaint yourself with. Some of the harmful insects include the mealy bugs, passion fruit mite, aphids and fruit flies. Check out our Passion Fruit Farming Guide for the full range of pests and diseases that you will grapple with.

Harvesting Passion Fruit

The passion fruits will mature 10 weeks or 70 days after the fruits have set. They will begin showing a prominent purple or golden colour depending on the variety of the passion fruit you are planting. Mature fruits should easily fall on the ground when the fruit is shaken although there are now mechanical devices that you can use to manually pick the passion fruits without using a ladder.

Harvest the passion fruits during the early morning and make sure you keep them in cool conditions as much as possible when handling them. In a much hotter environment, harvest the passion fruits at least twice or thrice in order to protect the passion fruits from the scorching effects of the sun.  Take extra care to avoid bruising the passion fruits as this is likely to reduce their market value. For example, place them passion fruits gently into the containers instead of simply dropping them which causes some bruising.

Packing and Marketing Your Passion Fruits

Because the passion fruits will be wet when you harvest during the mornings, wipe them gently to dry them out or simply leave them to dry before packing them in cartons. Discard all the fruits that are either damaged or which have shrivelled. Lastly, grade the fruits according to size by using labels such as “small”, “medium” and “large”. In some areas, there may still be a market for the shriveled passion fruits.

Marketing Your Passion Fruits

There are excellent opportunities for marketing your passion fruits locally but in the recent years, new market opportunities have risen in places such as continental Europe, Japan and China. Make sure you pack the passion fruits according to the specifications of the importers and market the count and approximate weights of the passion fruits.

Panama Red Passionfruit Variety

Just like the Panama Gold, the Panama Red passionfruit is also a very vigorous vine known for its attractive red skin and succulent yellow flesh. This kind of passionfruit is self-pollinating so you will not have to worry too much about manual pollination using a brush in case the fruits fail to develop in time.

Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest
Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest

The Panama Red passionfruit is generally a very hardy variety and will do well in warmer conditions as well as a host of other conditions. It is best to plant these in a west-facing wall which has rich soils along with a well aerated trellis. You will need to add plenty of water during the growing months along with mulch around the roots in order to keep the soils moist.

For fertilizers, you can use chook manure or well balanced slow-release fertilizer at least twice a year. The Panama Red passionfruit vines will begin producing the fruits by the second year and a single vine can produce up to 300 fruits at optimal production. They vines will bear large beautiful red flowers at the ends of their stalk. Once they begin producing the fruits, the passionfruites can ripen  throughout the year, giving you an all-year supply of fresh passionfruit. In colder areas, the Panama Red passionfruit will generally defoliate or die. However, it will thrive in the warmer areas that meet the minimum planting requirements.

Panama Red Passionfruit
Panama Red Passionfruit

Like the Panama Gold passionfruit, the Panama Red passionfruit is highly decorative and is best planted in a place where you can flaunt it or where you would wish to highlight a certain area in your landscape. The fruits from the Panama Red passionfruit are larger, sweet and aromatic.

The Panama Red passionfruit is known for its lush green foliage, just like its Panama Gold counterpart but the difference is that it does better in the warmer climates. Once it matures, it will give an abundance of red skinned passion fruit. These fruits are larger and juicer and, as you will notice, they are also generally quite sweet! They are sweeter than many of the other traditional passionfruit varieties. They also emit a very sweet fragrance!

The fruit for the Panama Red passionfruit will be ready 6 months after planting and you will continue harvesting the fruits throughout the year. The best condition for growing the Panama Red is warmer climate and make sure that you have planted them in a sunny position. They should be planted next to an upright structure such as a fence or trellis.

Growing Panama Red Passionfruit

As already stated, the Panama Red passionfruit will do best in warm weather and in a sunny position as well as a protected position. Like the Panama Gold passionfruit, it will also need at least 7 hours of sunshine.  The plant will need good watering. The soil should be moist but not flooded or wet.

Finally, just like in all passionfruit plants, make sure that you have provided good structure or support for the passionfruit plant.

The Types of Passion Fruit Varieties to Plant in Kenya

When it comes to passion fruit farming in Kenya, you probably have one of the widest array of passion fruit varieties that you can choose from. The Kenyan passion fruit farming market is highly developed s farmers have much choice. The main varieties of passion fruits that you can grow in Kenya include the purple passion fruit, the yellow passion fruit, sweet passion fruit, giant passion fruit and banana passion fruit.

Here is a description of the main passion fruit varieties that you would find in Kenya:-

The Purple Passion Fruit Variety

This is the most common passion fruit variety in Kenya. It is mainly used in the local fruit industry in Kenya and a large part of it is also exported to various foreign markets, particularly in the Middle East.

Purple Passion Fruit Variety
Purple Passion Fruit Variety

The purple passion fruit variety will do well in cooler climates with an elevation of between 1200m to 1800m towards the east of the Rift Valley and an elevation of 2000m to the west of the Great Rift Valley. The shape of the purple passion fruit can either be round or oval and when ripe, it will change its colour from light green to purple. Once the fruits are ripe, they will drop off from the passion fruit vines. For processing, it can be canned, frozen or processed into passion fruit juice.

Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

The yellow passion fruit variety is the latest craze in Kenya among passionate passion fruit farmers. It is a more vigorous passion fruit variety and is widely planted in the tropical lowlands where it does quite well compared to the purple passion fruit varieties. It has a very aromatic pulp although it tends to be more acidic than the purple passion fruit pulp.

Yellow Passion Fruit Variety
Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

The average fruit from the yellow passion fruit variety is also larger than the purple passion fruit varieties and will turn from green colour to yellow when it is ripe. Once ripen, the fruits will drop from the vines. The yellow passion fruit variety is generally used mainly as a rootstock onto which the purple passion fruit variety will be grafted. This is because the yellow passion fruit variety has better resistance against the many soil-borne pathogens.

Sweet Passion Fruit or Sweet Granadilla Variety in Kenya

The sweet passion is ideal for cooler climates with elevations of over 1500m. These are the optimal conditions under which you would get great yield from your passion fruit plants. It has great flavour and when ripen, it will change colour from blue to orange-brown. The aromatic pulp has a whitish colour and is enclosed by a hard shell so you can transport it easily without damage.

Giant Passion Fruit Variety in Kenya

The banana passion fruit variety is better suited for elevations of above 1700m and in a tropical environment. It is a vigorous vine and will grow to lengths of up to 30m and when ripen, the fruits will change colour from green to yellow. The fruits should be eaten fresh. It is not a commercial variety.

The Banana Fashion Fruit Variety

The banana variety is better suited for cooler conditions and higher elevations of over 1500m above sea level. It is not a commercial variety.

Banana Passion Fruit Variety
Banana Passion Fruit Variety

How to Preserve Passion Fruit Pulp

Passion fruits should be harvested just when they are changing colour to either purple or yellow depending on the variety of the passion fruit. However, unless you have a ready market that will absorb your passion fruit, one of the main questions that you will grapple with is how to preserve your bounty harvest of passion fruits long enough to use them without getting spoilt.

Passion Fruit Pulp
Passion Fruit Pulp

The best time to harvest the passion fruits is when the stems have wrinkled and the fruits are falling to the ground on their own. That is, however, not always the case. Oftentimes, the passion fruits are harvested before they are fully ripe.

Extracted Passion Fruit Pulp With Seeds
Extracted Passion Fruit Pulp With Seeds

The passion fruits will be glossy and with smooth skin. They are good to look at and might seem like delicious fruits but they are most likely not fully ripe. To ensure they are ripe and are at their sweetest, keep the passion fruits at room temperature until they begin to wrinkle a bit. That is when at they are at their sweetest.

  • Once the passion fruits are ripe, refrigerate them.
  • Wash the passion fruits before you put them in the fridge.
  • Use a spoon to scoop out the passion fruit flesh and then store the flesh in ice cube trays. To every cup of passion fruit pulp, add three tablespoons of sugar.
  • You can also mix a cup of the passion fruit pulp with a cup of sugar and stir the mixture over low heat until all the sugar has dissolved in the passion fruit pulp.
  • Pour the mixture into a sterilised jar, seal and put in the deep freezer.
  • In this condition, the passion fruit pulp can last for up to a duration of six to eight months so you will always have your fresh supply of passion fruit pulp almost throughout the year.
  • While the six month time-frame is for the best quality, any food put in the freezer will stay fresh indefinitely so if you have lots of passion fruit that you plan on consuming over the next one year, you can store the pulp in this way without worrying about the passion fruit getting spoilt.
Packaged Passion Fruit Pulp for Sale
Packaged Passion Fruit Pulp for Sale

Simple Tips on Growing Your Own Passion Fruit in Your Backyard

Passion fruits have lots of medicinal qualities not to forget their deliciousness. There is an increasing number of homesteaders who are willing to try out their green itchy fingers on passion fruit farming.

Growing passion fruits is always a labour of love but one that is very rewarding. The plants generally sprout fairly quickly and can even serve a decorative purpose on your premises. They are fast and evergreen climbers that will quickly transform your premises into marvellous greenery. The plants have long stems/tendrils that quickly wrap themselves around everything they come into contact with such as trees, verandah, pergolas or screens although, it is generally advisable to construct a support system such as a trellis that will provide optimal support for the plants.

The best position for planting your passion fruit plants is generally in the north-facing direction. This is the position that they prefer. They may still grow in an easterly or westerly position but generally, they will be north-seeking. Why not make things easier for them by planting them in a northerly direction?

Typical passion fruit plants that are well nourished and with access to adequate sunshine, support and watering will generally grow a distance ranging from 5m to 7m every year. That is a lot of growth and it is the reason they need excellent support system. A well tendered passion fruit plant will grow for a duration of up to years before they hit their limits of vigorous growth and need replanting. The best climes for growing your passion fruit plants is generally in the tropical areas but they can also do well in cooler climes if you choose the right variety of passion fruits. Passion fruit plants can also do well indoors. A lot of urban farmers will grow their passion fruits indoors.

Achieving Decent Growth and Fruiting For Your Passion Fruit Plants

For the best growth and fruiting, plant the passion fruit plants in a sunny and frost free area and then give them some tender loving care including regular pruning, watering, support, adding manure or compost and spraying fungicides every few months to keep them in the healthiest of conditions.

The passion fruit plants will develop an extensive root system to support the vigorous growth of the plants so it is important to make sure that you have provided adequate room for root development. The roots, however, may not go deep enough so you will need to cover the root area with compost and other organic matter to protect and nourish them. The surrounding area where you are growing your passion fruit plants should also be kept free of weeds such as grass and blackjack among others.

Growing Your Passion Fruit

Here are some of the requirements that you will need when growing your passion fruit:-

  • Prepare plenty of room to grow your passionfruit
  • Keep the soil free of any competing plants and weeds
  • Give the passionfruit plants the space to climb
  • Ensure the spot is sunny and space-free
  • Keep the soil moist but well-drained
  • Prune the passionfruit plant back in the early spring
  • Water the passionfruit plants at least once a week during the spring and summers

Your passionfruit plants should have adequate space to climb. The best place to grow your passionfruit plants is along the wire fence of your compound or even across the balcony. You can also grow your passionfruit plants over the pergola where they can also provide shade in addition to the delicious fruits that they produce.

In case you are planning to grow your passionfruit plants along a sunny fence or wall, you can build a trellis that will serve as support for the long tendrils that will soon sprout.

Do not use too much water!

Remember, the emphasis is on moist but not wet or flooded soil. In fact, passionfruit plants do very badly in water-clogged soils. They don’t like “wet feet”. Too much water will lead to the rot of the passion  fruit roots followed by quick wilting. Add a little water in a well drained and sloping soil and keep the soil moist by adding organic matter or compost at the roots of the passionfruit plants. The organic matter should be added before planting and then you can also use them to cover the roots afterwards. You can also add a little lime on the soil.

Proper husbandry for your passionfruit plant

The fruits will begin sprouting in the current season so it is advisable that you prune back in early spring or after the last frost. Prune the passionfruit back by about 30%. All the dieback and weak growth on the plant should be removed so as to boost its ventilations. Every few years, the plant should be thinned out so as to boost ventilation and healthy growth of your passion. Passionfruit plants are generally quite hungry because they produce a lot of flowers and fruit.

Flowering of your passionfruit plant

Apply the fruit tree fertiliser as well as some potash on your passionfruit. You can also do some side dressing which will be beneficial for the nourishment of the plant. Keep in mind that fertilisers that are very rich in nitrogen will promote the growth of leaves at the expense of flowers and fruit and that can be counterproductive for your yields: you will have very healthy plants producing very few fruits or no fruits at all.

As already stated, water your passionfruit plants sparingly. You can water them deeply at least once a week during the summer months and in the spring. The mulch and fertiliser should be spread out throughout the passionfruit plant’s entire root system. Don’t just apply the fertiliser at the base of the passionfruit plant’s stem.

The best fertilisers for your passionfruit plants are once that will encourage the flowering and fruiting of the plant. You can apply fertiliser to the soil during the spring and then after every month during the summers.

Whenever you apply fertiliser to your passion fruit plant, make sure the soil is well watered. Depending on the passionfruit variety and growing conditions, it will take anywhere from 12 months to 18 months for your newly planted passionfruit plant to begin producing fruits. In the tropical areas, however, it is possible for you to get continuous cropping and multiple harvests for your passionfruit while in the cooler climes, you are likely to get a single crop in the summer and in the autumn. When the skin are wrinkled or begin changing colour to yellow, purple or purple brown depending on the fruit variety, the fruits will be ripe for picking. Do not wait until they drop for you to begin picking the passion fruits.

Establishing and Grafting Your Passion Fruit Seedlings

Passion fruit plants are affected by a variety of insects and diseases that can have an adverse impact on the yield and profitability of your farm. Before venturing into passion fruit production, it is therefore important for you to have the proper knowledge and expertise on the management of your passion fruit vines so as to maximize on the production. Optimal yields are achieved through proper management and plant husbandry.

Passion Fruit Grafting
Passion Fruit Grafting

Before you venture into passion fruit farming, it is necessary to know some basics about the passion fruit crop you are going to plant.

Passion fruit seed extraction, planting and grafting

The seed extraction

The first step to establishing your passion fruit crop is seed extraction. In this process, the healthy and mature fruits of the passion fruits that have a history of excellent performance are extracted from the parent plant.

The extracted seeds are then put in water for at least three days which will allow them to ferment and make it easier to separate the passion fruit seeds from the pulp.

After extraction, the passion fruit seeds are then dried under shade. If you don’t store the passion fruit seeds in a cool, dark and dry place, they are going to lose the viability and that means the rate at which they will germinate and thrive will be quite low.

Planting your passion fruit seeds

The passion fruit seeds should be planted into a pre-prepared seed bed. Alternatively, you can also use polythene bags in planting the seedlings which will make the transplantation a lot easier. Typically, the polythene bags should be at least 6cm wide and 22.5cm high.

When planting the seeds, use soil that is sterilized so as to get rid of the nematodes that are like to afflict the passion fruit roots and kill the plants or lower their yields. Sterilised soils also eliminate the various soil borne diseases and various other harmful micro-organisms.

There are various ways in which you can carry out soil sterilisation. For example, you can use hot steam or simply expose the soil to sun for several days before planting the seeds. The germination of the passion fruit seeds will begin at least 17 days after the planting has been done.

Grafting Your Passion Fruit

The rootstock of the yellow passion fruit variety is generally used because it has excellent resistance to the nematodes and various other passion fruit diseases. The purple passion fruit varieties are generally more vulnerable to these pests and diseases. Using the yellow passion fruit rootstocks will increase the survivability of the plant.  The rootstocks should be at least 50cm high and 3 or mm thick.

After the germination, choose healthy seedlings with dark green leaves for grafting. The scions of healthy looking high yielding purple passion fruits will be used for the grafting. These should be collected when the plant has flowered. The mother plants from which you will collect the scions should be raised in an area where there is sufficient protection from insects so as to reduce the occurrences of diseases.

Make sure that the grafting equipment is sterilised so as to prevent the spread of diseases. A simple home based solution that you can use to sterilise your passion fruit grafting equipment is Clorox.

You can graft the passion fruit using the cleft technique or by splicing.

Post Grafting

After the grafting, make sure that the seedlings are watered and a hardened by exposing them to sunshine gradually.

One month after grafting, you can remove the grafting tape from the union and then transplant your seedlings in the field.

How to Grow Your Passion Fruit Plants From Seeds

Growing your passion fruit plant is one of the most beneficial gardening ventures that you will have undertake. Apart from giving you an abundant supply of fruits that you can eat and also sell in your local organic market, growing passion fruits in your backyard is always a therapeutic and meditative experience. There is lots of beauty and spiritual calm in tending to your passion fruit plants, watching them grow and seeing the beautiful passion fruits sprouts and add vibrancy and beauty to your landscape.

Growing Passion Fruits From Seeds
Growing Passion Fruits From Seeds

The passion fruit  is vibrant and vigorous plant which with some tender loving care, will quickly sprout and fill out your spaces. The fruit in itself is highly versatile. You can use them to make smoothies and hosts of other delicious treats.

While the most popular and effective method of growing passion fruit plants is via grafting and propagation, some people may prefer or are forced to grow their passion fruit plants from seeds.

Harvesting the Seeds

To grow passion fruit from seeds, start by purchasing healthy and delicious passion fruits from the nearest supermarkets. After purchasing your big, delicious, fruity passion fruit, you need to act as quickly as possible in harvesting the passion fruit seeds. If the seeds are fresh, they will produce the fruits a lot faster.

Passionfruit Seedlings
Passionfruit Seedlings

Harvest the seeds by rubbing the passion fruit flesh on a piece of fabric. Wash the seeds and leave them out to dry for between three and four days. After they have dried, wash them again and now leave them out to dry in a shade.

Planting the Passion Fruit Seeds

Start out by planting them in a container that measures around 90 square centimetres and then transfer it out to your garden. Fill the container with a garden soil and compost mixture. Ideally, the mixture should constitute equal parts top soil, compost and sand to ensure breathability which your passion fruit plants so badly needs. Have at least 10 centimeters of the mixture in your container.

Planting Passion Fruit Seedlings
Planting Passion Fruit Seedlings

Use a stick to create furrows on the soil. These rows of little furrows or trenches are where you will plant in the passion fruit seeds. Space the furrows such that they are 5 centimeters apart. The furrows will also act as shallow drains that will prevent moisture from draining and causing the rot of your seeds and young roots.

Sowing the Passion Fruit Seeds

Now it is time to sow the seeds. Position them 1cm apart in every furrow and then cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. After sowing the seeds, water them. Keep in mind that the soil should be moist but not flooded or drenched with water to ensure optimal germination and growth.

Once the seeds are in the soil, spray them with water occasionally to ensure the soil remains moist. The seeds will begin sprouting within 10 to 20 days after planting. After the passion fruit seedlings are 20cm to 25cm high, you can transplant them to the main planting area in your garden.

Passion Fruit Seedlings Ready for Transplantation

Here, repeat the same process for growing passion fruit by providing the right soil mixture, watering sparingly, applying fertiliser and providing the passion fruit plant with a climbing or support mechanism.  After transplanting, the passion fruit seedlings will take anywhere between 12 months and 18 months to begin fruiting.

Passion Fruit Glut? Here are Some Good Preservation Tips

Experiencing a passion fruit bumper harvest? One of the things that will be on your minds is how to preserve your passion fruit for a longer duration of time so that you can always use it on your desserts, icing, ice creams or passion fruit juices.

Passion Fruit Harvest
Passion Fruit Harvest

Here is the good thing: with the right preservation strategy, you can keep your passion fruit fresh for up to 12 months! You have to decide what kind of preservation you want. You could go with two main options:

  • Preserving the passion fruit pulp: This is the best and most convenient way to preserve your passion fruit and will keep it fresh for months or even a year! This simply involves scooping the passion fruit pulp, mixing it with sugar and deep freezing the passion fruit.
  • Preserving the whole passion fruit: Allows to keep you the passion fruit fresh for up to 5 to 6 weeks. Techniques include storing the passion fruits in a cool and dry place, ensuring the skin surface is not injured etc

When preserving the passion fruit pulp, consider the following simple procedure:-

  • Scoop passion fruit pulp
  • Mix with sugar and stir
  • Boil the mixture a little
  • Pour the mixture into a sterilised jar and seal
  • Deep freeze the mixture

Remember, don’t boil, just bring it closer to the boil. Boiling too much will thicken the mixture making it difficult to pour into the sterilised jars.

Passion Fruit Propagation

 Passion fruits can be propagated by planting the passion fruit seeds, through grafting on a resistant root stock and via cuttings. The most vigorous propagation techniques are via seeds and grafting. Here is a look at the various propagation techniques:-

Passion Fruit Seed Propagation

The passion fruit seeds should be collected from superior vines based on the quality and the yield. Extract the pulp and allow it to ferment for 72 hours and then extract the passion fruit seeds. Sow the seeds in seed beds that have been well prepared in advance.

Passion Fruit Seed Propagation
Passion Fruit Seed Propagation

Once the seeds have sprouted and attained four to six leaves, you can transplant them from the seed beds to smaller polybags that that contain a mixture of soil, sand and compost. Leave them here for a duration of three months after which they will be ready for transplanting in the main field or garden area.

Passion Fruit Vegetative Propagation

The best cuttings are the semi-hardwood type with a size of 30 to 35cm and with three to four nodes. These make for ideal cuttings.  Put these cuttings in the pots or sand beds for root initiation and then transfer them to the polybags where they can undergo proper root development. After a duration of three months, these rooted cuttings can then be replanted.  The main issue with the vegetative propagation is that it is quite time consuming and not very popular with many farmers.

Spacing and Planting Your Passion Fruits

The kind of spacing to leave will depend on the type of training system that you are planning to adopt as well as the variety of passion fruit that you are planting. If you are planting your passion fruits in a bower system, you can have a 3m by 3m spacing that will accommodate up to 1110 plants per hectare. On the other hand, for a Kniffin training system, a spacing of 2m by 3m would be ideal. This will accommodate up to 1666 plants per hectare.

Passion Fruit Plants
Passion Fruit Plants

Land Preparation

Avoid planting the passion fruits in areas that experience stronger winds. A sheltered site is generally more ideal. Strong wind will damage the passion fruit vines and have a negative impact on your yield but they may also make training your passion fruit a bit difficult. Prepare planting pits that you have filled with a top soil and compost. Do your passion fruit planting on cloudy days at the onset of rains. In India, the best planting time is in the months of May to June at the onset of monsoon rains. In the first five to six months, you can intercrop the passion fruits with seasonal vegetables such as ginger and turmeric.

Passion Fruit Seedlings Grown in Pots
Passion Fruit Seedlings Grown in Pots

Get Your Copy Of Passion Fruit Farming Handbook

Passion Fruit Farming Handbook
Passion Fruit Farming Handbook

Planning to venture into passion fruit farming? Success in passion fruit growing always requires dedication and the right knowledge on how to make your farming venture a success. Are you looking for in formation on the following?

  • A passion fruit farming business plan
  • The right conditions to grow your passion fruit
  • How to prepare the soils for passion fruit growing
  • The right passion fruit varieties to grow in your region
  • How to grow passion fruit seeds and get optimal germination
  • How to carry out passion fruit grafting and propagation
  • How to irrigate your passion fruit
  • How your passion fruits will come into production
  • How to pollinate your passion fruits
  • How to boost the yield your passion fruit
  • Which fertilisers to apply on your passion fruits
  • How much fertiliser to apply on your passion fruit plants
  • Passion fruit plant husbandry for optimal production
  • Passion fruit pests and diseases and how to control them for the best productivity
  • How to harvest your passion fruit
  • How to store and transport your passion fruits
  • How to market your passion fruit
  • What is required to export your passion fruit
  • Any other information on passion fruit farming?

Get a copy of our passion fruit farming handbook and do your farming from a knowledgeable standpoint. Use the coupon code SWEETPASSION to get a discount on your purchase. To buy the ebook, click on the image below:-

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This passion fruit farming handbook is just what you need. Get more than 200 pages of well presented information on how to become a superstar passion fruit farmer.