Category Archives: Passion Fruit Vine Propagation

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.

How to Tell If Your Passion Fruit is Ripe

Ordinarily, the passion fruit should be considered ripe once it has changed its colour from green to yellow or purple depending on the variety of the passion fruit. However, the colour change can be quite deceptive. Seemingly ripe passion fruit may not be as ripe inside. Here are some ways in which you can determine if your passion fruit is fully ripen:-

Recognise Ripe Passion Fruit by the Change in Colour

This is the primary mode of determining if your passion fruit is ripe. If it is the purple passion fruit, it will change colour from green to purple with some white specs on the skin of the passion fruit. Generally, the greener the passion fruit, the less ripe it is and this applies for all varieties of passion fruit. If it is the yellow variety, it will change its colour from green to a rich yellow skin colour.

Passionfruit
Passionfruit

In some rare cases, there are passion fruits that will ripen without necessarily changing their colours. In that case, they are likely to drop off from the vines holding them.

Look at the texture of the passion fruit skin

Passion fruits that are not yet ripened generally have a very smooth skin. On the other hand, passion fruit that has ripened will have “dimples” or wrinkled skin. However, it is advisable to go for skin that is moderately wrinkled as opposed to one that is excessively wrinkled as these are likely to be unfit for consumption. Excessively wrinkled skin generally shows the passion fruit has passed its freshness date.

Look at the fruit for any signs of damage

If the fruit has fallen on the ground, inspect of any signs of bruising. Bruises are likely to lead to the growth of mould on the surface of the skin. If the skin looks normal, then the passion fruit could still be edible.

Let the passion fruit fall on its own

Generally, passion fruit that has fallen on its own is generally ripe. Ripe passion fruit will generally fall on its own due to its own weight. However, some un-ripened may still fall down due to weather or if the tree is weak due to dehydration.

The weight of the fruit

Unripe fruit is generally light in weight. Ripened fruit are generally heavier than you would expect for a particular size.

How to Graft Passion Fruit For Better Productivity

Yellow passionfruit does not have to be grafted. It can grow on its own roots without significant infection by Fusarium.  It can be planted directly into the commercial fruit orchard.

If purple passionfruit is being grown for the fresh market, it needs to be grafted onto the yellow rootstock before planting out.  The two seedlings to be grafted together need to have the same thickness of stem to make the grafting easier.  This means they may not be the same age, as the yellow seedlings are usually more vigorous growers and may be bigger than the purple passionfruit seedling of the same age.  Choose the same size of seedlings, each with stems about a ‘pencil thick’ to graft together.

The pink-flowered banana passionfruit (Passiflora millissima), appears to be resistant to root rot and, when used as a rootstock, also induced a measure of resistance in the purple passionfruit to grease spot (Pseudomonas passiflorae) a serious bacterial disease.

Grafting is an important means of perpetuating hybrids and reducing nematode damage and diseases by utilizing the resistant yellow passion fruit rootstock.

For grafting, you will need the yellow passion fruit rootstock and the purple passion fruit scion. The scion refers to a part of the stem that has been snipped from the parent plant. The scion will be attached to the stem section of the second plant so as to form a grafted union.

This grafted union will callus over gradually and morph into a single plant that grows normally. The new grafted plant will have the qualities of both its parent plants.

Here is a guide to grafting your purple passion fruit:-

  • Make sure the rootstocks and the scions are well irrigated up to 2 hours before the grafting is done.
  • Soak the blade of the grafting knife in a mixture of water and bleach for up to 10 minutes and allow it to dry before you begin using it to cut or splice the scions and rootstocks.
  • Make a wide angled cut into the main stem of the yellow passion fruit rootstock using the utility knife. The cut should be 1 ½ inches long and should be made 10 to 12 inches above the soil.  After making the cut, wipe the blade of your utility knife with a cloth dipped in a disinfectant such as isopropyl alcohol.
  • Remove a three to four inches of the main stem of your purple passion fruit seedlings. Make sure every seedling or scion has at least two leaf nodes. Make a wide angled 1 ½ inch cut on the stem of the seedling using your utility knife.
  • Position the cut surface of your purple passion fruit scion against the cut surface of the yellow passion fruit rootstock to make a union. Wrap this union tightly using a grafting tape.
  • Put an opaque plastic bag over the grafted plant. Secure this plastic bag on the rootstock just below the graft union. You can do this by tying it up with a piece of twine.
  • Put the passion fruit grafted union in a shaded area with temperatures not exceeding 65F.
  • The graft union will fully form after 10 to 14 days. Remove the twine after this graft union has occurred.  Open the bag to allow the flow of air. After the buds have started forming on the purple passion fruit scion, get rid of the plastic bag entirely.

Tools to Use

  • Utility Knife
  • Grafting Tape
  • Twine
  • An Opaque Plastic Bag
  • Household bleach such as Jik or Clorox
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Passion Fruit Propagation

 Passion fruits can be propagated by planting the passion fruit seeds, through grafting on a resistant root stock and via cuttings. The most vigorous propagation techniques are via seeds and grafting. Here is a look at the various propagation techniques:-

Passion Fruit Seed Propagation

The passion fruit seeds should be collected from superior vines based on the quality and the yield. Extract the pulp and allow it to ferment for 72 hours and then extract the passion fruit seeds. Sow the seeds in seed beds that have been well prepared in advance.

Passion Fruit Seed Propagation
Passion Fruit Seed Propagation

Once the seeds have sprouted and attained four to six leaves, you can transplant them from the seed beds to smaller polybags that that contain a mixture of soil, sand and compost. Leave them here for a duration of three months after which they will be ready for transplanting in the main field or garden area.

Passion Fruit Vegetative Propagation

The best cuttings are the semi-hardwood type with a size of 30 to 35cm and with three to four nodes. These make for ideal cuttings.  Put these cuttings in the pots or sand beds for root initiation and then transfer them to the polybags where they can undergo proper root development. After a duration of three months, these rooted cuttings can then be replanted.  The main issue with the vegetative propagation is that it is quite time consuming and not very popular with many farmers.

Spacing and Planting Your Passion Fruits

The kind of spacing to leave will depend on the type of training system that you are planning to adopt as well as the variety of passion fruit that you are planting. If you are planting your passion fruits in a bower system, you can have a 3m by 3m spacing that will accommodate up to 1110 plants per hectare. On the other hand, for a Kniffin training system, a spacing of 2m by 3m would be ideal. This will accommodate up to 1666 plants per hectare.

Passion Fruit Plants
Passion Fruit Plants

Land Preparation

Avoid planting the passion fruits in areas that experience stronger winds. A sheltered site is generally more ideal. Strong wind will damage the passion fruit vines and have a negative impact on your yield but they may also make training your passion fruit a bit difficult. Prepare planting pits that you have filled with a top soil and compost. Do your passion fruit planting on cloudy days at the onset of rains. In India, the best planting time is in the months of May to June at the onset of monsoon rains. In the first five to six months, you can intercrop the passion fruits with seasonal vegetables such as ginger and turmeric.

Passion Fruit Seedlings Grown in Pots
Passion Fruit Seedlings Grown in Pots