Plant Lovin’ – Passionfruit

29 Sep

This is a plant that I have wanted in my garden for as long as I can remember.  Not only does it  provide you with a yummy harvest of fruit, it also has some of the most spectacular flowers I have ever seen.  Passionfruit grows as a vine, and has so many endearing features.  The leaves are green and glossy, it is hardy, I love the spiral tendrils it uses to cling onto things, and the fruit and flowers are unbelievable.

I have great memories of the passionfruit vine we had trailing over our fence in the terrace house I grew up in.  There was the excitement at seeing the flowers bloom and then the intolerable wait as the fruit grew and then turned from green to purple.  The fruit always tasted better when you had picked it yourself, as opposed to the store bought variety.

Passionfruit not only provides you with a great climbing vine that will cover an ugly wall or fence, but it will provide you with a key ingredient for my summertime desert of choice, the ever Australian Pavlova.

So here’s the Passionfruit low down…

Name: Passiflora edulis – There are a heap of different varieties so check out what’s available at your local nursery to find the one that’s right for you.

Description: A vigorous and fast growing vine that loves to climb on any sturdy structure.  You’ll need to provide it with a fence, wall or lattice to let it develop to it’s full potential.  The vine has large glossy green leaves and delicate spiral tendrils that help it climb.  The flowers produced by the passionfruit vine are spectacular and would probably be the best thing about this plant if it weren’t for the fact they are followed by a yummy harvest of delicious passionfruit.

Passionfruit leaves and fruit. Photo from http://www.infonet-biovision.org

What you’ll love about them: The fruit, the flowers, the fact that the vine can and will cover whatever you want it to.  There is so much to love about the passionfruit.  Passionfruit vines are really easy to take care of and will continually give back more than you give them.

If you’re in the right location and you give them plenty of water and food, you should see a harvest of fruit within the first 18 months, and then regularly after that.  This is one of those “memory” kind of plants.  Everyone that I know who had a Passionfruit vine when they were growing up remembers it fondly.  Great for kids, great for cooks, and great for the lazy gardener – maximum impact with minimum effort!

What they love:  Passionfruit loves the sun.  Plant it in a sunny position, give it’s roots free-draining soil, some food and plenty of water and it will reward you with loads of it’s yummy fruit.  You will need to provide a structure like a fence, wall or trellis for it to climb on, and good well drained soil with plenty of organic matter.  They love plenty to drink, so keep the water up, and in terms of food, don’t feed them with too much nitrogen, compost and chook manure are perfect.

Ongoing maintenance is easy, they like a trim every spring, so as winter turns into spring, trim off around 30cm.  When they are young prune off the top of the vine (the leader) and this will help make the vine spread laterally and cover whatever ugly garden feature you want hidden.

The not so great bits:  The vine is vigorous and can get away from you, though this could also be a good thing if you want something screened well.  Passionfruit is only relatively short lived – 5-7 years, so you will need to replace it fairly regularly, though it is fast growing so it won’t take long to replace itself.

If you prefer something a bit more home grown: There are no native Passionfruits, so there isn’t anything that you can directly substitute, but if it’s the vine you are looking for you could try a Pandorea sp. it is fairly hardy and vigorous and has lovely flowers.

Yum! Passionfruit and Pavlova! Photo from http://paulineadamek.com/pages/CookbookPage.html

Anyone feel like a slice of Pav???

Sam

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6 Responses to “Plant Lovin’ – Passionfruit”

  1. Kate September 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    My neighbour planted a passionfruit in our shared backyard a few months back without asking anyone and it started killing all my natives. It probably didn’t help that she trained it up a trellis which she hadn’t actually attached to anything, and where there was only two square metres of space, so the whole thing fell away from the fence it was propped against and into the garden, making a very big mess… I have now hacked at the vine without asking my neighbour. War!

    • drawnoutdoors September 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

      Oh no horticultural war! She picked the wrong enemy!!! But seriously, who plants something like that in a common area without asking your neighbours???

      • Kate October 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

        The same person, I suspect, who takes a stick of frangipani and sticks it right in the middle of a four square metre patch that I’ve carefully weeded and planted with native groundcovers. Without asking (of course). I may have slightly dislodged the stick. She should’ve put it somewhere SHE weeded. That was the patch that everyone said I should deal with.

  2. Clair September 30, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Oh no, that’s not good, Kate!

    We have a passionfruit vine that has crept it’s way over the fence from the neighbours, and so we get to “steal” lots of fruit without the effort of growing it! Yumm – forbidden (passion)fruit!

  3. clarice simpson May 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    I found a passion fruit vine in a feld next to a creek in sallisaw, ok- its flowers was/ is all a pail green no color to speek of but it smells so good! its young so no fruit yet but there was some there that did. I had one at home that had been given to me that has the flower shown on this page. I didnt know what they was just that they are so pretty and smelled great, I love them! Can anyone tell me what class the all green flowered one is? My neace is bringing me one that grows wild where she lives in tennessee next week- im so excited to have a new addition of beautiful flowering vines even more so now that I know they will bear fruit too!!

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  1. Woo Hoo! One year old today « drawnoutdoors - May 9, 2012

    [...] digits.  I am constantly amazed that my most read post has had over 1,000 views, and that it was this one… The spectacular passionfruit flower photograph from [...]

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