Category Archives: Propagating Passion Fruit

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