Category Archives: How to start a Passion Fruit Farm

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 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.

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.

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.