Introducing Passion Fruit
The botanical name for the passion fruit is passiflora edulis. It is a vine species of passion flower, originating in South America (native to Venezuela through Paraguay and northern Argentina). Passion fruit is grown commercially in tropical and subtropical regions for its sweet, seedy fruit.
Passion Fruit Varieties
The most popular varieties are the purple and the yellow. The yellow has more vigorous vine growth and grows extremely well in tropical lowlands. Yellow Panamas are the best variety to grow in tropical locations such as Far North Queensland.
The purple is richer in aroma and flavor, and has a higher proportion of juice-35-38%. However, we actually prefer eating the yellow, but it is a matter of taste.
Growing Passion Fruit
Location and Soil
Growing well in tropical gardens, the passion fruit is a type of climbing vine that can live up to 10 years. It also grows well in the sub-tropics.
Make the hole two times as wide and the same depth as the root-ball. Remove from the container, place in the hole and backfill with soil.
Growing from Seed
If you have a passion fruit you want to grow (your preferred variety) fist check that variety grows true to seed before you begin.
Obtain a ripe passion fruit (one that is slightly crinkled) and cut it in half. Wash out the fruit pulp from the seeds and dry them on a paper towel.
Sow your seed just below the surface and water it to keep the soil moist.
When your seedling is roughly 4 inches high, re-pot your plant in a larger pot, around 6-8 inches in diameter. Gently dig the seedling free, taking care to protect the root system.
Growing from Cuttings
Most gardeners propagate passion vine from cuttings. Take a tip cutting about 6 inches long from soft wood. Cut below the second mature leaf on the shoot. Remove this leaf and any tendrils or flower buds with it and dip the cutting into rooting hormone so the hormone touches the wounds on the stem.
Before transplanting into the ground, apply a commercially available soil improver, or dig in well matured compost and/or matured manure.
Water in well and water weekly for six weeks as the plant becomes established. In addition, mulch around the base with sugarcane, lucerne or other organic material.
Fertilising Passion Fruit
Provided soil is adequate, you need to fertilise just once each year, usually in spring. However, commercial growers or anyone seeking to have their vine fruit very heavily, should fertilise 4 times a year.
We use a liquid seaweed and liquid fertiliser to improve growth, flowering and fruiting.
Passion Fruit Pests and Diseases
The major pests and diseases are mites, fruit flies, aphids, mealy bugs, scales and brown spot disease.
The colour of the fruit is either yellow or purple.
The yellow passion fruit is round and about 6-7 centimetres in diameter. In addition, it has a thick, waxy exterior, that becomes wrinkly as the fruit ripens. However, inside the fruit is filled with a pulp of orange-colored juice and small, crunchy seeds.
The fruit is extremely healthy, some even describe it as a ‘super food’.
Weight Loss and Diabetes
Consumption of passion fruit tea helps to reduce the levels of glucose in the blood. Consequently, adding the insulin filled bark of passion fruit to tea can help diabetics.
Passion fruit contains a large amount of soluble fibre which can help to improve digestion. Consequently, it can help with constipation.
The vitamin C in the fruit can boost your immune system.
The fruit is one of the antioxidant foods that can assist in your physical and mental health.
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