Passion fruit is an edible fruit that grows from the Passiflora Edulis, a vine Native to South America. Despite their exotic origins, these vines do well in the warmer regions of the country and are among the easiest exotic crops to grow.
Most people grow the Passiflora Edulis for its delicious, hard-bodied, and succulent fruits. Others grow it for ornamental reasons, with their large colorful flowers easily stealing the show. In either case, having a firm understanding of the different passionfruit growing stages will go a long way toward bringing your passion fruit tree to fruition.
Herein is an intricate guide on the growing stages of the Passiflora Edulis and what you require for each stage. Read on.
- 1 What Is Passion Fruit?
- 2 Stages of Passion Fruit Growth
- 3 How Long Does Passion Fruit Take to Grow?
- 4 Passion Fruit Plant Care Tips
- 5 Should You Plant Passion Fruit?
What Is Passion Fruit?
As mentioned earlier, passion fruit comes from the Passiflora Edulis plant of the Passifloraceae family. The plant thrives in warm, sheltered regions with adequate rainfall and fast-draining soils.
There are two types of passion fruit, yellow and purple passion fruits. Purple passion fruit is the most popular and has several hybrids with slight variations. It’s also sweeter than its yellow counterpart, that’s slightly acidic.
Nothing much splits the two types of passion fruits aside from their color and taste. Both grow to the same size; both contain hard black seeds with a pulpy inside and have the same passionfruit growing stages. The pulp is delicious and contains phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins A and C.
And both do well in warm regions, with temperate or subtropical climates. You can grow passion fruit in your garden using fresh seedlings or grafting. However, you first have to prepare trellises to support the vine.
Stages of Passion Fruit Growth
All the passion fruit species grow the same way. This means you can plant, grow, fertilize, prune, and harvest them similarly. They also share the same growing stages, which are:
Stage 1: Choosing the Planting Site
Passion fruit requires at least 8 hours of daily sunshine for optimal growth. Find an area with consistent sunshine and loose, well-drained, fertile soil. The soil should be rich in organic matter to nourish the plant but loose enough for proper root development.
Passion fruit also grows well in shaded areas. A dappled shade or southern exposure works great, but they’re not mandatory. These vines still thrive in full sunshine with adequate wind protection. Avoid growing your plants in scorching areas, as this can reduce fruit production.
You can also grow your passion fruit in a growing container. Fill a 3-5-gallon container with fertile, well-drained soil to grow your passion fruit.
Loosen the soil to make it easier for the tender seedling roots to grow through it. Ensure the container receives 8 hours of natural or artificial lighting, and you’re set for the next stage.
Stage 2: Soil Preparation
A proper growing medium is imperative to the successful growth of passion fruit. The plant heavily relies on organic matter to produce its sweet pulpy fruits.
Prepare the soil by amending it with compost or aged manure. You can use bone and blood meal, banana peels, tea leaves, and greensand if you choose to go fully organic. If not, urea, potassium sulfate, and diammonium phosphate also work. Do this several months before planting to give the soil adequate time to take in the fertilizer.
Use an auger or soil probe to determine the moisture in the soil. The soil should have just enough water to keep it moist yet well-drained.
A professional gardener should help you determine the soil’s moisture content if you don’t know how to use a probe. They’ll also recommend the best planting sites and what fertilizer to use. Lastly, clear the site of any rocks to avoid injuring the roots as the passion fruit plant grows.
Stage 3: Planting the Seedlings
Dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball but just as deep. Use pea straw, sugarcane, or bark chips to mulch the base.
Carefully transplant the passion fruit seedling into their growing site, taking care not to damage the tender roots to avoid transplant shock.
Do the same if you use growing containers, but avoid filling them to the brim for large growing containers. The root balls of passion fruit prefer to be smaller than the plant, hence don’t require too much soil.
The best time to plant the seedlings is during spring, specifically mid-spring to mid-summer. The leaves will sprout between November and April after receiving about 1500mm of rainfall. However, you can manually water your passion fruit plants or irrigate them to make the leaves sprout.
If you irrigate your passion fruit, regulate the irrigation frequency to compensate for transpiration. Adjust the frequency or irrigation volume by 12 to 15 % of the transpiration rate. A licensed botanist will help you learn more about the same.
Stage 4: Regular Fertilizing
Passion fruit requires a lot of fertilizer to thrive. However, this doesn’t mean you should use too much fertilizer. Doing so puts the vines at risk of fertilizer burn that could stunt their growth. The best approach is to use small fertilizer doses frequently instead of drowning the passion fruit in fertilizer.
All-purpose fertilizers with fast-release formulas are beneficial for passion fruit growth. Apply fertilizer to your vines every three weeks, being careful not to use too much.
Read the fertilizer package, and follow the instructions. Failing to do so exposes your vines to the risk of fertilizer burn and even death.
Maintaining optimal soil PH is just as important as fertilizing your passionfruit. Keep PH levels between 5.5 to 6.8 to promote passion fruit growth. Test PH levels in the soil using PH strips or a home PH test, both readily available in gardening stores countrywide.
Use sulfuric acid to lower the PH if it’s too high. However, tread softly with sulfuric acid. Despite being fast-acting, too much of it can hurt the plant. Aluminum sulfate and elemental sulfur are safer and cheaper options than sulfuric acid. Combine ¼ cup of these elements with 10 gallons of soil to lower the PH.
Doing so helps counter the acidity of the processed fertilizer you applied to your passion fruit. Use a garden cultivator to mix these elements with the soil and test the PH again to be certain.
Stage 5: Pruning
Pruning is among the most important passionfruit growing stages. The vines should be ready for pruning 8 months after planting the seedlings. Pruning should be a breeze assuming you trained your vines properly on the fence or trellises. Doing so prevents overcrowding and promotes proper vine growth.
Use a pair of clean hand shears to remove any crossing branches that cut off air circulation in the vines. Next, move downwards and cut off any wilted and dried branches on the lower half of the vines. Check for any signs of disease or pest infestation and prune and burn the infected parts.
Once flowering stops, prune the vines back about 8 buds. This stimulates new flower growth for better fruit production.
Stage 6: Preventing Pest and Disease Infection
Passion fruit is susceptible to diseases like anthracnose, Alternaria spot, and scab. These diseases compromise the growth of your passion fruit and, in severe cases, kill them. They are spread by rain and wind and can also be spread by insects moving from plant to plant.
Check your vines for any signs of diseases and act early to prevent the disease from spiraling out of control. Prune any vines that show signs of infection and spray the vines with an APA-certified herbicide to eliminate the disease.
Clear any weeds near your passion fruit vines. Weeds are notorious for spreading disease to healthy passion fruit vines.
Also, avoid injuring the plants while applying fertilizer or while pruning. Sterilize all your pruning tools and use copper-based fungicides on injured or infected regions to curb the spread of disease.
Pests like fruit flies, thrips, and aphids are incredibly detrimental to the growth of your passion fruit plant. Severe pest infestation leads to discoloration and curling of the leaves and greatly diminishes yield.
Remove pests like caterpillars and scale bugs and their eggs by hand. Tiny whiteflies are harder to spot because of their size and because they hide at the bottom of the vines.
Use a magnifying glass to check for signs of whiteflies and other tiny pests. These are difficult to remove by hand, but a proper pesticide will effectively eliminate them.
Stage 7: Harvesting the Passion Fruit
Luscious, purple passion fruits will hang from the vines after about a year and a half. Passion fruit trees produce fruits year-round if temperatures remain warm and you take good care of them.
The vines flower at about 10 months and produce fruits 8 months later. Fruits are ready to harvest when they take a deep purple or yellow color.
Harvest the fruits when they reach peak ripeness to prevent an adult fruit fly infestation. Harvesting the fruits also stimulates plant growth to have more fruit next season. Simply pluck the fruit from the vines and enjoy the delicious pulp.
Once you pluck them, keep your passion fruit away from the sun to prevent them from going bad faster. Store them in a cool, dark place to ensure they remain fresh and tasty.
Final Stage: Propagation
Propagation means increasing the number of passion fruit trees in your garden. Unlike other stages of passion fruit growth, this stage isn’t necessary. If you’re satisfied with what you already have, you can stop at the seventh stage.
To propagate your passion fruit, remove a couple of seeds from the passion fruit. Next, sow them in a seed-starting mix like peat moss or vermiculite, then place the container in a warm region for about three weeks. After they germinate, transfer them to individual containers and later to the planting site to start the process all over again.
How Long Does Passion Fruit Take to Grow?
How long your passion fruit takes to develop fully depends on several factors. First, different passion fruit varieties have different maturation periods. Some produce fruits as early as six months after planting, while others take 10 months or more to bloom flowers and produce fruits after 18 months.
The growth region also plays a huge part in determining the vine’s maturation. Passion fruits in warmer regions mature and produce fruit faster than those in colder areas. The vine lives for about 3 to 10 years and can produce fruits year-round under the right conditions.
Passion Fruit Plant Care Tips
After learning about passionfruit growing stages, it’s now time for some care tips.Passion fruit trees require regular care and maintenance to reach their full yield potential. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your passion fruit trees.
Use fresh seeds: Fresh seeds are more viable, germinating and growing faster than dried seeds. When sourcing seeds, check their variety, size, and color, then inquire about their germination rate to get the best for your budget.
Avoid digging around the plants: Passionfruit roots are very sensitive and easily damaged. Avoid digging around the roots to prevent damage and sending out under-stock shoots.
Winterize your plants: Winterizing your passion fruit trees is mandatory if you plant them in cold regions. All you have to do is place about two inches of compost around the roots. Doing so helps the plant remain warm and healthy throughout the cold season.
Prune regularly: Prune vines to prevent them from climbing onto other trees. It’s easy for your passionfruit tree to catch diseases from other trees. Sometimes, pests might move from the tree to your passion fruit. Prune or re-train any vines that move away from their trellises.
Should You Plant Passion Fruit?
Passion fruit is among the easiest exotic fruit trees to plant at home. With a little effort and consistent care, you can plant passion fruit vines and enjoy their succulent fruits.
Keep the above passionfruit growing stages in mind for the best results. Otherwise, we wish you the very best with your passion fruit growing.
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