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.