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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:-
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:-
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:-