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.