Category Archives: Passion Fruit Farming Business

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 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.
Looking for more passion fruit farming tips? Check out our passion fruit farming eBook.
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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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