The passion fruit vine plant is a great option for new gardeners who want to grow their own fruit.
With the right care they’re a long-lasting, productive vine that is both beautiful and easy to maintain.
Plus, enjoying fresh passion fruit is so rewarding – the payoff for your efforts to keep this tropical plant alive and healthy.
In this article, you’ll learn how to grow passion fruit. Get all the info you need about watering, soil, sunlight, pruning, harvesting, and much more.
Table of Contents
Passion Fruit Plant Quick Care Overview
|Common names:||Passion Fruit|
|Flowers:||White, purple, and green, blooms mid-spring|
|Light:||Full sun to partial shade|
|Water:||Keep soil evenly moist, never allow it to dry completely|
|Humidity:||Average to high|
|Fertilizer:||High potassium fertilizer spring and summer|
|Soil:||Well-draining, moist, fertile|
|Common pests:||Snails, slugs, passion butterfly larvae, nematodes, aphids|
Information About Passion Fruit Plant
Passion fruit plants are fruit-bearing tropical vines in the Passiflora family that are native to South Brazil.
They’re perennials that live for about 5-7 years. The long vines, which are covered in glossy green foliage, can grow up to 40’ very quickly.
The unique looking flowers have petals, a corona of thin tendril-like filaments, and center sepals that can vary in color between green, white, and purple.
Once the vine reaches maturity, between 1-2 years of age, the blooms can produce sweet or tart fruits that range from the size of lemons to large grapefruits, depending on the variety.
Different Types Of Passion Fruit Vines
There are many types of Passiflora vines, but only some species produce edible fruits. Of the fruit-bearing types there are several varieties and cultivars.
These 3 are the most popular and common among home gardeners.
- Passiflora edulis – This variety produces a deeply purple fruit about the size of a lemon. They’re seedy, but have sweet white flesh.
- Passiflora edulis flavicarpa – Yellow, grapefruit-sized fruits with a tart flavor are markers of this variety.
- Passiflora incarnata ‘Maypops’ – This hardier specimen grows well in cooler regions and features yellow-skinned fruit that tastes like tart apricots.
The exact hardiness of passion fruit vines depends on the variety. But most, including the popular Passiflora edulis, can grow year round in zones 9-12.
Some are more tolerant of cold than others. But generally temperatures below freezing will kill off the foliage, and potentially the roots if they’re left unprotected.
Potted specimens can be overwintered in a sheltered location, or even grow indoors year-round with proper lighting.
How Does Passion Fruit Grow?
Each year passion fruit vines put on lots of new growth. Flowers develop at the leaf joints only on new vines. If the flowers are pollinated, they develop into fruits.
Passiflora edulis is self-pollinating, however, yellow passion fruit varieties, such as flavicarpa, require cross-pollination with a second plant to produce fruit.
All varieties have sticky pollen. Wind cannot spread it, so they require hand or insect pollination.
How Long Does It Take To Grow A Passion Fruit Vine?
Passiflora vines must be mature before they can produce fruit. This takes between 12 months to 2 years.
Once the flowers have been pollinated, it takes around 80 days for the passion fruits to be ready for harvest.
How To Grow Passion Fruit
Before we talk about how to care for a passion fruit vine, first we should chat about where and when to grow them. The right timing and location are important for long-lasting health and a successful crop year after year.
Where To Grow Passion Fruit Vine
The ideal location for passion fruits is somewhere with plenty of sun, fertile soil, and lots of room to grow. You’ll need at least 10-12’ of space between each plant.
They are sensitive to salt and wind, so choose a sheltered location. Provide a trellis, fence, pergola, or other sturdy structure that can support the vigorous and plentiful vines.
Or you could grow them in pots that are at least 2’ by 2’ and heavy enough to support the weight of the top-heavy plants.
Containerized vines will be smaller and produce less fruit, but it’s easier to move them indoors in cooler climates, if necessary.
When To Plant Passion Fruit
In frost-free climates you can plant passion fruit vines anytime. However the ideal time to sow passion fruit seeds or transplant the starts is in the fall or spring.
In cooler climates, wait until all chance of frost has passed in the spring. Freezing temperatures will quickly kill tender new foliage and stunt growth, so planting passion fruits early is not beneficial.
Wait until the ground temperature is 70°F (21°C), which you can check with a soil thermometer, and nighttime temps are consistently above 50°F (10°C).
How To Start A Passion Fruit Vine
In addition to buying plants at the garden center, you can start passion fruit vines from seed or try rooting stem cuttings in early spring.
Harvest the seeds from any ripe fruit, even one from the grocery store, or purchase them.
Lightly rub the surface with sandpaper and soak them for 24 hours before sowing to improve germination rates. They don’t last long, so use the freshest seeds possible.
Cuttings need several leaf nodes, warmth, sunlight, humidity, and a well-draining, dampened potting medium to root. Once new growth begins, transplant them into your garden.
Passion Fruit Plant Care & Growing Instructions
Now that you know where and when to plant them, it’s time to discuss how to grow and care for passion fruit vines. The following information will help you create the ideal environment.
Exactly how much sun a Passiflora fruit vine needs depends on the variety, but most require 6+ hours of direct sunlight per day.
In moderate climates, full sun exposure is ideal for fruit the best production. However in dry, hot areas, provide partial shade in the afternoon to protect the fruit and foliage from sunburn.
Passion fruit vines require consistent, generous moisture and humidity between 60-80% to thrive.
The soil should never dry out completely. However, do not water it to the point where it becomes muddy or puddled. Consistent overwatering will cause root rot and eventually kill the vine.
Water your passion fruit deeply once per week through most of the year. Check more often during heat waves, while it’s flowering, and during fruiting to prevent drying out.
Mulch heavily with wood chips or add plenty of rich, organic matter over the entire root system to help retain moisture, keep the weeds down, and maintain humidity levels.
The ideal temperature range for growing passion fruit vines is between 60-82°F (20-27°C).
When it drops much below that range, the foliage will begin to die off, and the plant will go dormant.
You can protect the roots during the cooler months by applying at least a 2” thick layer of compost or mulch over them. But consistent exposure to 32°F (0°C) or lower will kill the plant.
Hotter temperatures don’t usually bother passion fruit plants, but you should water them more often during heat waves, and provide protection from the intense afternoon sun.
Fertilizer supports healthy rapid growth and fruiting, especially for established passion fruit plants that have been growing in the same soil for several years.
Avoid high nitrogen solutions, which will encourage more foliage instead of flowers and fruit.
The best soil composition for passion fruit plants is well-draining, nutrient rich, and moist, with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5, which you can check with a simple meter probe.
Passion fruit vines are natural, vigorous climbers and require a sturdy structure to grow on.
Chain link fences, large arbors, pergolas, or cattle panel arches are all good options that can support the heavy vines and fruit.
Make sure to choose something that will last for several years, and check the vines regularly to keep them trained.
Pruning is not a requirement for successfully growing passion fruit vines, but there are benefits to trimming them throughout the year.
They only fruit on new growth, so remove older vines to keep the plant more compact and easier to harvest. Trim away dead or damaged vines and passion fruit leaves as needed to improve air circulation.
The best time of year to prune them depends on your climate. In cool regions, wait until after the last frost to cut them back. Pruning triggers new growth that will be damaged or killed if you get a late freeze.
In warmer climates, trim passion fruit in the fall or winter when the vines have finished fruiting. Remember to always use sharp, sterile pruners.
Pest Control Tips
There are several potential pests that can damage your passion fruit vines. Root knot nematodes, slugs, snails, aphids, and the passion butterfly larvae, which are orange and black caterpillars, are the most common.
Hand pick large insects and drop them into soapy water, or treat for slugs and snails.
Disease Control Tips
Passion fruit vines are not prone to many diseases, but fungus, rot, and woodiness virus are potential problems.
To prevent these issues, irrigate at the base so water is never left sitting on the foliage, prune for air circulation, manage disease-spreading pests, and avoid overwatering.
Tips For Harvesting Passion Fruit
For the best flavor, make sure to pick your passion fruits at the right time. Wait until they are deeply colored and begin to wrinkle before harvesting.
A ripe passion fruit should easily come free of the vine when you gently tug it, if it hasn’t already dropped to the ground.
Check daily to pick up fallen fruit and harvest any on the vine that are ready, and enjoy your fresh passion fruit.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Passion fruit vines are easy to grow and do not often experience issues. But should you encounter one of these potential problems, use the tips below to help identify and fix the cause.
Lack of magnesium or nitrogen, pests, cold temperatures, low humidity, and overwatering are all causes of yellowing leaves on passion fruit plants.
Brown leaves on passion fruit vines are caused by lack of water, over fertilizing, or sunburn.
Shelter them from the intense afternoon sun, especially in hot, dry regions, and always keep the soil evenly moist.
Not Producing Fruit
Lack of fruit indicates a problem with pollination, temperature fluctuations, or drought.
If your garden has few pollinators, attract more bees or pollinate the flowers by hand. Yellow passion fruit varieties require a second plant to allow cross-pollination.
During hot weather, provide your vines protection from the sun, and water them more frequently.
Lack of flowers on your passion fruit plants is usually an issue of too little light, over-fertilization, or stress.
Like many plants, when passion fruits don’t get the care they need or become stressed, it impacts fruit production, indicated by a lack of flowers.
Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers, which will cause too much foliage growth and not as many flowers. Choose one that’s higher in potassium, or cut back on how much you apply.
Water plentifully in warm weather to avoid drought stress, and make sure your passion fruit plants get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Unripe Fruit Dropping
Insects and inconsistent watering can cause unripe fruit to drop from the vine prematurely.
Avoid both dry and overly wet soil. A moisture meter is helpful if you struggle to get it just right. Check closely for bugs, and treat any infestation immediately.
Here I’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about growing a passion fruit vine. If yours isn’t on the list please add it to the comments section below.
Is passion fruit easy to grow?
Passion fruit vines are very easy to grow as long as they get enough warmth, plenty of sun and water, fertile soil, and a strong structure to climb on.
Can you eat the fruit from a passion vine?
Yes, you can eat the fruit from a passion vine. The interior flesh and seeds are edible while the outer rind is not. You’ll know they’re ripe when the fruits are dark in color, start to shrivel, and are easy to pluck from the vine.
Will passion fruit come back every year?
A passion fruit vine will come back every year in zones 9-12 for about 5-7 years. Be sure to protect yours or move it indoors if the temperature ever drops below 32°F (0°C).
Do you need two passion fruit vines to get fruit?
You will need two passion fruit vines to get fruit if you’re growing a yellow variety. The red or purple types are self-pollinating and only require one plant to produce fruit.
How long does it take for passion fruit to bear fruit?
It takes a passion fruit between 12-24 months to be mature enough to flower and bear fruit. Once the flowers are pollinated, the fruit will be ready to harvest in about 80 days.
Where does passion fruit grow best?
Passion fruit grows best in fertile soil and full sun in warm regions, such as zones 9-12. They need shelter from strong wind, plenty of water, and lots humidity to thrive.
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More About Growing Fruit
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