How to grow & care for passionfruit
Passionfruits are a popular and productive vine that will grow in most climates around Australia. They particularly thrive in subtropical and temperate regions. To enjoy fresh passionfruit straight from the backyard, look for a variety suited to your climatic region, the Panama Red grows best in the tropics, or if down in the cooler states, the Nellie Kelly is a popular choice.
Top 5 steps to growing passionfruit
- Choose a full sun spot with a rich free draining soil or grow in a large pot
- Passionfruit vines will require a sturdy support to grow upon as they can grow 3-6 metres tall and up to 4 metres wide.
- Prepare the soil before planting with Scotts Osmocote® Compost Premium Soil Improver and a layer of Scotts Osmocote® Citrus & Fruit Potting Mix to plant into
- Fertilise twice a year in Spring and again in Autumn with Scotts Osmocote® Controlled Release Fertiliser: Citrus & Fruit
- Passionfruit vines need regular watering, especially when flowering and fruiting.
- Passionfruit plant
- Scotts Osmocote® Compost Premium Soil Improver
- Scotts Osmocote® Citrus & Fruit Potting Mix
- Scotts Osmocote® Controlled Release Fertiliser: Citrus & Fruit
- Garden trowel
Choose a full sun spot and ensure there's enough support for your passionfruit vine to grow on. Some examples of good support structures include, a fence, trellis or screening wall.
Dig the hole for your passionfruit vine twice as wide as the original pot or root ball and the same depth. Loosen the original soil at the bottom of the planting hole and mix some Scotts Osmocote® Compost Premium Soil Improver and Scotts Osmocote® Citrus & Fruit Potting Mix through the backfill soil and the soil at the base of the hole.
Planting in the garden
Remove the passionfruit vine from the nursery pot and position it in the prepared hole, at the same depth it was in the pot. Water in new passionfruit vines to settle their roots in. If growing more than one passionfruit vine, plant them 3-4 metres apart.
Feed in Spring and again in Autumn with Scotts Osmocote® Controlled Release Fertiliser: Citrus & Fruit at the recommended rate. Mulch around the root zone of your passionfruit with an open organic mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Annual pruning isn’t needed to encourage fruit growth, however to keep the vines bushy remove any old or tangled growth after the vines finished fruiting. If you’ve planted a grafted passionfruit vine, make sure you remove any growth that appears beneath the graft point.
Planting in pots
You can grow passionfruit vines in large pots or containers. Choose a pot that is at least 50cm deep by 50cm wide, with plenty of drainage holes. Fill the pot with Scotts Osmocote® Citrus & Fruit Potting Mix - remove the passionfruit vine from the nursery pot and place in the centre of the pot, backfill around the root ball and water it in well.
At the time of planting position the pot next to the support structure, fence or trellis to support the vine as it grows.
Growing from seed
Soak passionfruit seeds in water overnight to aid germination. Sow seeds into small pots filled with Scotts Osmocote® Citrus & Fruit Potting Mix and lightly cover with more potting mix.
Keep the potting mix moist, but not soggy and place the pots in a warm, protected spot. Passionfruit seeds need a soil temperature around 25 degrees to germinate, so use a heat mat if needed. The seeds will take 2-3 weeks to germinate. When the seedlings are about 10cm tall they can be transplanted into larger pots to further develop roots.
Around 6 weeks after sowing the seedlings should have a main stem and be about 20-30cm tall. They're now ready to plant into prepared garden soil or a larger pot.
Newly planted passionfruit vines can take 12-18 months before they begin fruiting heavily. Flowers normally form in Spring with the fruit following over the next Summer.
Passionfruits are ready to harvest when they’ve changed colour (colour change will depend on the variety) and come away easily from the vine. Ripe and ready to eat fruit will often fall to the ground - this fruit is perfectly fine to eat! Just remember to pick up fallen (ripe) fruit daily to prevent it rotting on the ground.
Pests, Diseases & other Problems
- To reduce the risk of fungal or bacterial diseases occurring on the leaves, avoid watering the leaves of your passionfruit. Thin out the foliage growth if fungal disease outbreaks occur.
- Improve flower pollination rates and therefore fruit production by encouraging bees and other pollinator insects into your garden. Planting other Spring and Summer flowering plants, like marigolds, nearby can help.
- If the passionfruit are dropping from the vine before they are ripe it could be because of irregular watering or Queensland Fruit Fly. Water more regularly, 2-3 times per week in the dryer months and monitor for Queensland Fruit Fly.