How do I grow passionfruit?
If you have a bare fence why not grow a plant that not only provides delicious fruit but also has one of the most interesting and beautiful flowers in the plant world.
Passion fruit require a sunny, frost-free position with a well drained soil and something to wrap their tendrils around such as chicken wire or wooden lattice. Growing them in a large container is a great option if your soil is on the heavy side.
It is worth purchasing a grafted passion fruit as a starting point as the rootstocks used to graft onto are selected for their resistance to root rots which can sometimes kill seed grown plants. If you do get a grafted passionfruit then you need to be vigilant about taking off any growth that appears from under the graft, as this understock can be very invasive.
To get the best possible crop it is important to feed and water throughout the warmer months when the plants flower and set fruit. A fertilizer that releases gradually throughout the year is ideal so either a couple of handfuls of a slow release product or a generous layer of well rotted animal manure can be used. Pick the fruit when it has finished changing colour in summer and give the plant a light prune at this time also.
One problem that I get asked about regularly is a lack of fruit set, even when a plant may be flowering prolifically. This is most often due to a lack of pollinating insects such as bees. Here the gardener will need to become the pollinator. Have a look at a nicely opened passionfruit flower, and you will see 5 stamens that have fluffy looking pollen. Brush your finger along these and if the pollen gets transferred to your finger, you’ll have ripe pollen. Simply brush this pollen onto the 3 stigmas (the female parts). If you have done it right, you’ll soon start to see developing fruit.