One of the best ways to curb the spread of pathogens when growing your passion fruits is by ensuring the highest level of hygiene of the vines that you are planning to plant and after the planting. For example, make sure all the diseased plant parts or plants are pruned so as to kill off the diseased parts before the disease spreads to other parts of the plant.
To avoid spreading the pathogens to other plants or parts of the plant, make sure the tools you use in pruning are disinfected. There are certain common passion fruit diseases that you need to watch out for. These include the following:-
- A dieback in your passion fruit plant can be caused by fungal diseases such as Fusarium or Phytophtora. Use fungicides but don’t overdo it. Always try to keep the use of fungicides to a minimum. You can also use an organic homemade fungicide to stop the spread of fungal diseases. A common recipe for a homemade fungicide involves crushing coriander seeds and boiling them for 10 minutes in 10 litres of water and then adding 40 chopped onions into the hot coriander water mixed. Leave this mixture for 24 hours and then filter it off, dilute the liquid with at least 20 litres of water and spray on your passion fruit plants. Alternatively, you can simply buy a commercial fungicide. Check out our passion fruit farming handbook for information on some of the fungicides that you can use on your passion fruit plants.
- Another common passion fruit disease that you are likely to grapple with is then Brown spot, commonly called Alternaria passioflorae and the leaf spot that is commonly known as Septoria passionflorae. These two diseases affecting passion fruit plants can generally be avoided by proper plantation management, better hygiene during planting as well as the regular use of fungicides. You can spot these diseases by the spots that they leave on the leaves and fruits. Eventually, they will make the fruits and leaves drop which will severely impact your yield.
- Another common viral infection in passion fruit plants is woodiness. The most common pathway of transmission for this diseases is during the grafting and pruning process. It can also be transmitted via sucking insects like the aphids. This diseases is most likely to occur in the colder seasons. Woodiness will result in mottled passionfruit foliage as well as malformed fruits that have a hard and thickened rind but with no pulp inside. To control this, prune out the infected vines with a disinfected tool. They should be destroyed as soon as possible in order to prevent the spread of diseases.
- Mealy bugs: These are tiny insects that are covered in white and waxy fluff. They attach themselves to the fruits and leaves and suck out the honeydew and in the process weakening the vines. In more serious attacks, black mould will develop on the plant which can cover the vines and leaves, eventually killing off the entire plant as they block photosynthesis.
For a more detailed look on some of the pests and diseases that you are likely to grapple with when it growing your passion fruit, check out our passion fruit farming handbook.