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.
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.
The value of passion fruits will vary broadly depending on a number of factors such as the country, the locality and season. The grade of the passion fruit will also have a bearing on the price. If your fruits are bruised or wrinkled, they will fetch a lower price in the marketplace. A 7 kg carton of passion fruits will fetch anywhere from $14 to $70.
Prices for passion fruits will be highest when very little fruits have been harvested and will be lowest during the peak harvesting seasons when many farmers are harvesting their fruits and pushing them to the market.
The prices for passion fruits will fall rapidly as the volumes of the fruits increase.
If you are a new grower, don’t be too bullish about the passion fruit prices. It is generally hard to realize an out-of-season production (that guarantees higher prices) even for experienced passion fruit growers. It is therefore important to temper your expectations if you are venturing into passion fruit farming for the first time.
If your passion fruit produce is of high quality, you are likely going to receive higher prices even in peak seasons. However, getting a consistently high quality of produce in your passion fruits requires a little experience.
Usually, when the prices of passion fruits are high, expect the yields to be lower. Even if you are going to fetch a good price for your passion fruits, you will be weighed down by the high cost of harvesting and low volumes of harvested passion fruits so you will have a lower income.
Profit Margins in Passion Fruit Production
The profitability of your passion fruits will be dependent on a number of factors. There are some factors that are within your control while some of the factors cannot be controlled. The profitability of passion fruit production will depend on the following:-
The amount of passion fruits that you have sold
The price of the passion fruit sold
The cost of production for your passion fruits
These factors are also affected by other production variables such as the weather conditions, the efficiency with which you do the growing work, the time of harvest, the passion fruit supply as well as the market demand for your passion fruits.
Passion Fruit Yields Per Hectare
The total passion fruit yields per hectare can range from 10 tonnes to 25 tonnes per year. The average yield per hectare is usually 15 tonnes per year.
At least 70% of the passion fruit produced will be suitable for the fresh fruit market. That represents roughly 10.5 tonnes per hectare that will be suitable for the fresh fruit market.
The remaining 4.5 hectares will be second-grade passion fruit and this will not be suited for the fresh market. These are usually sold to fruit processors. If you cannot find a suitable processor, the fruit will have very little value.
What Can a Passion Fruit Farmer Earn Per Hectare Annually?
This will vary from country depending on a number of factors such as cost of labour and the overall cost of production. According to data collected from Australian passion fruit farmers, the cost of production per hectare was $32,850 per year without factoring in the cost of establishing the plantation, the fixed costs and the capital expenditure involved in establishing the passion fruit plantation.
Based on this data, you need a price of $21.90 per carton to break even with the production costs for an average industry yield of 10.5 tonnes per hectare. This is roughly equivalent to 1500 seven kilogram cartons of passion fruit.
The passion fruits sold for processing will boost your overall margins as these will represent profits over the cost of production. However, the processing market for passion fruits is often small or limited in scope and is not accessible to all passion fruit growers. So the most logical path to profitability in a passion fruit farming operation is producing high-grade passion fruits for the fresh market.
What Prices do Processors Pay for Your Passion Fruit?
Processors will usually pay a quarter of the price that you would fetch in the fresh fruit market. So growing your passion fruits strictly for the process market is not profitable. But the sale of these second-grade fruits still generates some value, albeit a limited one for growers.
The profits from your passion fruit farming enterprise will be left after deducting the cost of production and the cost of establishing the plantation from the sales proceeds. There are also fixed costs that you may have to grapple with such as the fixed costs like buildings, electricity costs, cost of building repairs, insurance costs etc; capital costs for the farm such as the cost of machinery used in the farm, buildings as well as the cost of equipment used in passion fruit farming, harvesting and storage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Passionfruit is one of the most popular horticultural crops. It is fairly easy to grow and manage and gives good yields within a period of 8 to 12 months. There are different yellow and purple passion fruit varieties that you can also grow depending on your elevation and local climate.
To get the best passion fruit yields, it is advisable to follow certain best practices in passion fruit planting. The propagation can be achieved through prop grafted prop gules, cloning or even seeds. Grafting is generally the most preferred option for growing your passion fruits.
By following the best practices in passionfruit farming, it is possible to harvest as much as 10 tons of passion fruits in a single season and this can fetch lots of money in the market.
Here are some of the best practices that you should keep in mind if you are looking for optimal passionfruit yield:-
To extract the seeds, collect healthy and mature fruits from the parent passionfruit plant and scoop the seeds from the ripe fruits. Put the extracted seeds in water for about 3 days so as to separate the seeds from the pulp. Dry the seeds under a shade and store them in a cool and dry dark place. This will ensure there is no loss in the viability of the seeds.
The passionfruit seeds can either be planted in a prepared seed bed or wide bags measuring 6cm that are filled with sterilized soil. The soil sterilization can be achieved by passing steam through the soil. This will kill off the parasitic nematodes and other soil-borne pathogens that cause diseases.
You can prepare the land by slashing way the shrubs and tall grasses. Alternatively, you can use herbicides in order to get rid of the weeds. Then dig 30cm by 30cm holes on the garden. The soil that is scooped from the hole should be mixed with some manure and then poured back into the hole.
The spacing for the holes should be 3cm by 3cm apart. With this, an acre of land will accommodate anywhere from 550 to 600 passionfruit plants.
When you are planting the passionfruit seedlings, open a small hole in each of the holes and add 5 grams of fertilizer such as a diammonium phosphate fertilizer and cover this slightly. Then plant your passionfruit seedlings on the hole.
The passion fruit seedlings should be planted at the onset of rains and the planting should be done early in the morning or late in the evening. This will help reduce the heat stress on the plants. Plant the passion fruit seedlings in an area that receives sufficient sunlight.
Fertilizing the Gardens
A month after planting, you can apply a nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium fertilizer. This should be applied in a ring that is dug around the plant. The application should be done every two months until the passion fruits reach the flowering point.
After the passion fruit plants have started flowering, apply only the potassium fertilizers as these will help in the flower formation.
Best Farm Practices When Growing Passion Fruits
There are certain farm practices that you will need to incorporate for the optimal growth of your passionfruit plants. These include trellising the plants and running plastic ropes around the poles and sideway trellising systems. The ropes should be running horizontally while the passion fruit plants should spread sideways.
There is advantage with using sideways trellising. It will allow the passionfruit plants to spread optimally and this will allow room for the plants to be exposed to sufficient sunlight. While trellising is a must, don’t make it too elaborate as this will lead to an accumulation of shed which may end up inhibiting exposure to sunshine thus affecting the plant growth.
You should also spray the passion fruit plants with pesticides so as to stop a pest infestation.
Overall, passion fruit plants generally require dedication, care supervision. You have to be on the lookout for any anomalies and correct them to ensure the optimal growth of your passion fruit plants right from the nursery stage to the harvesting stage.
Success in passionfruit cultivation rests in choosing the right varieties to cultivate. While there are numerous individual varieties of passionfruits that are grown in various locations, they can be split in two main strains of passionfruits. These are the yellow passionfruits and the fleshed passionfruits.
The Yellow Passionfruit Varieties
The yellow passion fruit varieties are generally more vigorous and produce larger fruits than the purple passionfruit varieties. However, they have a more acidic pulp. The purple passionfruit varieties have a less acidic pulp. The yellow passionfruit varieties also have a rich aroma and flavor the proportion of juice in the fruits is higher at 35% to 38%.
The yellow passionfruit varieties are generally better suited for lower altitudes such as the coastal lowlands. The yellow passionfruit varieties are also hardier and more vigorous compared to the purple passionfruit varieties. They produce bigger fruits with diameters typically in the range of 5cm to 7cm. They are relatively more acidic and are used for juice extraction. They are a great passionfruit choice if you are planning to plant your passionfruit for commercial juice extraction.
Other characteristics of the yellow passionfruit varieties include the following:-
They will give higher fruit yields in low elevations that have relatively warmer temperatures.
The yellow passionfruit varieties are bigger in size than the purple passionfruit varieties. Typically, they weigh 60 to 65 grams per fruit. These fruits are generally round-shaped and have yellow spots. When ripen, they will change colour from green to golden yellow.
The yellow passionfruit variey is less susceptible to diseases and pests. It has a high level of tolerance for diseases and that is why it is often used as a rootstock for various other passionfruit varieties.
Within the yellow passionfruit variety, there are various other varieties that are grown globally such as the Panama Gold passionfruit variety.
Below is a list of some of the common yellow passionfruit varieties:-
Yee Selection: This is a round yellow passionfruit variety that also has very good disease resistance. Has a thick rind and gives low yield of juice.
University Round Selection: This is a Hawaiian cross of the Yee fruit and the Waimanalo variety which gives 10% more juice. Also has a very good flavor.
The Purple Passion Fruit Varieties
There are also numerous types of the purple passionfruit varieties. The main characteristics of the purple passionfruit varieties include the following:-
The purple passiofruit varieties give better yields in higher altitudes or in cooler temperatures. The purple passionfruit variety is best suited for areas that have altitudes of 1100 to 2500m above the sea level. The purple passionfruit variety also has a sweet aromatic flavor. They are smaller in size with diameters of 4cm to 5cm.
The purple passionfruit varieties weigh anywhere between 35grams to 50 grams and have a round shape.
When ripe, they will change colour from green to deep purple.
They have an average juice content of between 30% to 35%.
The purple passionfruit varieties also has a strong aromatic scent. The taste and juice content varies.
It is the best known passionfruit variety, loved for its nutrients and flavor.
Some of the Purple Passionfruit Variants Include the Following:-
Mysty Gems: The Mysty Gems are the sweetest of passionfruit varieties. The passionfruit pulp can vary in colour ranging from bright yellow to a pumpkin colour. This passionfruit variety also has numerous small, hard and b;ack seeds. The inside of its walls in white in colour. It has a very refreshingly sweet taste that is tangy and guava-like.
Sweethearts: The sweethearts passionfruits are blackish in colour and also have a very sweet taste.
Panamas: The Panamas are a hybrid passionfruit variety that are also quite vigorous. They are a more tropical passionfruit variety.
Australian Purple: Also called the Nelly Kelly passionfruit, this is a purple passionfruit variety that has a very sweet flavor. It is grown in both Hawaii and Australia.
Common Purple: This is a thick-skinned Hawaiian passionfruit with a smaller seed cavity. However, it has a great flavor and is low in acidity.
Waimanalo Selection: There are four strains of this Hawaiian passionfruit variety. These include the C-54, the C-77, the C-80 and the C-39 which is the pollinator. It is a very nice colour, flavor and has a low acid content.
Pratt Hybrid: The Pratt hybrid variety of passionfruit is a cross between the yellow strain and the Common Purple passionfruit variety.
Banana Passionfruit Variety
As the name suggests, the banana passionfruit varieties look straight, just like bananas but they have rounded ends. They perform best in higher altitudes of above 1500m. The banana passionfruit variety is most commonly used as a rootstock the grafting of other passionfruit varieties, especially in cooler climates. While their pulp is edible, they are used in grafting some of the more popular and delicious varieties of passionfruits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.