Grafted passionfruit are said to fruit earlier and better, but for my money I’d rather grow them from seed. My first passionfruit plant was a grafted ‘Nelly Kelly’ that I bought from my local nursery. Much to my dismay, this plant never yielded me one passionfruit! What it gave me was hours of weeding out the suckers from one end of the garden to the next. It was then that I vowed never to get another grafted plant again but grow it from seed instead.
Passionfruit only last about 7 years so it’s important to get some stock growing well before your last one dies. Before I finally gave up on the ‘Nelly Kelly’ I got started on a some seeds that I got from Diggers Club for a common black passionfruit, Passiflora edulis. There weren’t many seeds and they took a long time to germinate, maybe up to one month. So be patient if you try at home!
Being a vigorous climbing plant, a passionfruit can take over pretty quickly and can be a pain to keep tidy if left unpruned. If it’s not pruned then it becomes less productive and woody. So it’s important to train the vine onto a very secure support to get the most out of your plant.
I germinated the seed in spring and then planted the seedling into a 100mm pot to get a bit bigger. It was quite slow to start with, perhaps I didn’t give it enough compost in the potting mix to boost it along. But for the first year I only got one long shoot. This becomes the main trunk of the plant and the base for which all the next year’s growth comes from.
By the second spring, I planted my shoot out into the garden and enriched the soil with compost and mulch. This gets everything growing now and forms the framework for the entire plant. Pinch out the tip of the shoot and attach the side shoots horizontally to the vertical plane to encourage the main branches to grow. These branches will alternate along the main trunk of the plant (the bit that grew for the first season). You won’t get any flowers yet, so again be patient! It’s important to shape your vine like this because it’s going to make pruning a whole lot easier in the long run and your plant’s going to produce some mighty fine fruit if you do.
By the third spring, i.e. 2 years after sowing the seed (yikes, it takes that long!) you will get lateral shoots from the branches. These are the fruiting limbs (finally!). Flowers develop all the way down these limbs at the leaf axil. Let these limbs just fall in front of the main branches rather than letting them get tangled in with the rest of the plant. This can become somewhat difficult with very opportunistic tendrils finding anything to cling onto as soon as they touch it. You should bear fruit from this lateral growth every year now.
After harvesting fruit in autumn or winter, leave the plant to loose it’s leaves if you’re in a cool area because they act like a semi-deciduous plant. If you’re in warm temperate climates the leaves will stay green all year round.
In early spring it’s time to prune before the new growth takes over. You want to now trim back all your lateral growth from last season to about 3 leaf nodes. By doing this you shorten the laterals back close to the main branches. You’ll see the framework of the vine now. The laterals will start to put on growth with a vengeance, so now you simply do what you did last season and let the laterals hang down towards you and watch them flower. Flowers will only be produced on the new growth so if you don’t prune back last year’s branches, you’ll start getting growth starting from the tips of last year’s laterals. Each lateral is capable of growing 1 to 1 1/2 metres (yards) per season. Without pruning you’ll end up with 3 or 4 metre (yard) long branches with flowers only on the last 1/2 metre (yard) and the rest of the vine will get all woody and hard to hold up.
Good pruning means that very spring you keep taking the laterals back to the main branches to within about 20cm (8 inches) of the branch. This way it stays vertical rather than sprawling all over the place and encourages more flowers and fruit.
Remember passionfruit needs enriched soil with loads of compost and mulch every year, but don’t give too much manure otherwise you’ll end up with lovely green leaves but no flowers. Also choose a self-pollinating variety if you only have space to grow one vine. One vine can grow 2 meters (yards) high and have main branches reaching 6 metres (yards) along a fence or support structure.
Vine trained and pruned – check.
Flowers pollinated – check (make sure there’s plenty of bees around).
Fruit is on it’s way to maturity – check.
All that’s left to do now is to find that old recipe for passionfruit yo-yo biscuits … YUM! YUM!
Hello – Can I plant passion fruit seeds now in summer? thanks Jain
hi fellow gardener… I to put in a passionfruit and the plant died but the graft did not and suckers everywhere, I have pulled them out for months now.. so difficult…. did you just keep pulling them out till they stopped or some other way of getting rid of them… I was wondering if they put root down if you drop one of the suckers also.. would like a reply richard
Hi Veggie Lady,
We live in the Huon Valley, Tasmania and have a healthy 2 year old Black Passionfruit vine which is growing extremely well.
Our problem is that a lot of our fruit is turning yellow (about the size of a quail egg), then dropping off.
They are puffy and full of air, and the small amount of seed inside is bright red.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Hi Richard. Yes I just kept pulling them out until they were gone. Not sure about them setting root but quite possible.
Yes it’s a good time.
Not too sure about that one. Possibly insufficient nutrition to sustain them to maturity. Check your fertilisee regime.
Hi there, have been given a ” Nelly Kelly” grafted passionfruit . Live in Brighton, Tasmania, what position would be best to plant it in. I believe this is a frosty place, (just moved here). Merran.
Hello. I have a grafted vine and it a proficient fruitier this year. Over 100 large fruits and just delicious. I’m in Brisbane.
However the vine is losing its leaves right in the spots where the fruits were before they dropped off the vine. The leaves are fine and healthy where other fruit are still developing.
Is this usual? Any help would be appreciated.
WE bought a Nellie Kelly from Bunnings a month ago. it has grown from 60 cm to about 250cm straight up with no branching. How do we make it branch out.
Hi there I have a ned Kelly that is over 2 yrs has loads of flowers and lots of bees and watered every day.
Looks like a very healthy plant but no fruit. Gets fertilized when it should – where am I going wrong? Live in the south west of Perth. Can you give me any suggestions please?
Just give it time. It will take a couple of years to take shape.
Ensure that your fertiliser has a high potassium content to support flower and fruit development.
I don’t know what you did with your Grafted Ned Kelly. Maybe you let the root stock take over. Mine produced passion fruit the first year. It has just flowered again a few weeks ago and has more fruit
what is the netting material you used on your fence for the vines to grow on?
It’s just plastic lattice.
I bought a young passionfruit plant from a local tree place (FGT), I have it in a pot as I have to bring it indoors in the winter as I live in NJ where it gets quite cold in the winter. its grown a ton of leaves thus far, how do I help it graduate to start growing flowers, buds, fruit….?
A passionfruit vine will need a large pot to thrive because they need plenty of moisture and nutrients. They will also need an extensive trellis for the vines to attach too. They take a couple of years before they start flowering and fruiting. Once they have got to this stage, you can start giving them fertiliser high in potassium to encourage flowers and fruit. Good luck
Small new apartment 10ft north balcony Melbourne like to buy a passion fruit for their flowers being ever green for their beauty and to soften the space. You say large pot can you suggest what you mean as large.
Hi Lainey, a half wine barrel would be appropriate or a container with at least 50 litre capacity.
Hi ya my passionfruit has no curly tendrils. Any idea why pls.
Your plant might not be old enough yet. They come in time as the vine gets bigger and can’t sustain its own weight.
Thanks: this is a very good description of formative training
Can you grow a new vine from a passionfruit.
I was given a plantling 3 summers ago & it was in a little pot. After 12 months I repotted it into the ground and it took of like a house on fire.
Can I just cut a passion in half, allow it to dry, then bury it?
Yes the passionfruit will grow from seed. But for best results sow the seed in pots in spring so you can keep the soil damp until germination. Good luck.
we have already had our first crop of our vine less than a couple of months ago and already it looks like we are having plenty of fruit back on the vine. They are large and green. Is this normal and will this fruit ripen? Already the fruit is as large if not larger in size than the original crop and very plentiful. The plant is just a black passion fruit plant purchased from Bunnings.
Well done. You must have the right conditions for the plant. Yes it should still ripen, just be patient. And watch out for possums and cockatoos who might steal them while you wait.
Hello, I have a fairly new passion fruit (Frederick) I got this past April. It was only about a ft tall when I got it & It currently only has one main stem on it although it is quite tall about 9ft. I want to encourage branching. Any tips? Is it normal to have only one stem since it is less that a year old? I’m concerned about damage this winter so I’m thinking I might bring it indoors if the temperature really drops. Is it okay to cut down the main stem, if so, how much can I safely cut? Thank you.
Yes this is completely normal. It takes a couple of years to get the structure of the plant in place. Cut the main stem that you have to the height you want it to grow to, no less than that. Keep it covered over winter and then in spring it will send out side shoots that should be trained onto a framework trellis. It takes about 3 years to develop fruit.
No pollen on thre anthers so no fruit.
I planted two passionfruit seedlings (commercially bought) in June last year. I live in sub tropical Australia. After a slow start they both took off like crazy. They are covering my fence wonderfully. The problem is one is flowering and producing fruit but the other is flowering and fruit does not set. In fact when I check, the flowers have No pollen on the anthers. I cannot understand why this would happen. The conditions they are in are identical, they have been treated identically with fertilizer and now liquid potassium.
I plan to try hand fertilising the poor performing one with pollen from the other to see if that helps. I appreciate this is their first year, but any suggestions would be appreciated.
Does cow poo helps the fruit too come out I have one passion fruit in first year useing cow poo it works on all my plants
I want to cover fence wo passion fruit play. Is it good idea? When is the best time to grow passion fruit in Melbourne please
New to passionfruit but all was going well then a few of the green fruit started to winkle all over. Any ideas what I’m doing wrong. I’ve removed them from the tree.
This could be any number of things. Possible causes include irregular watering, incorrect feeding, pests like aphids, sudden changes in rainfall or temperature, poor pollination. Make sure the vine is regularly watered, mulch around it to help conserve soil moisture and given a regular complete fertiliser for flowers and fruit. Good luck