Passion fruits are a tropical fruit with a trailing habit. The vines tend to climb on support while bearing tasty fruits, a favorite of many people. However, because of this habit, many people are discouraged from planting it in container plants. And so we provide a fast and easy guide about how to grow passion fruit in pots.
This can be the right solution for those passionate about gardening. In addition to the best methods for growing them in pots, we’ve also included practical tips for choosing varieties and caring for them.
So, let us walk you through every section to get more details about passion fruit vines!
Table of Contents
- Passion Fruit Varieties
- Passion Fruit Growing Stages
- Where Does Passion Fruit Grow Best?
- Growing Passion Fruit in Pots and Containers
- Watering Passion Fruits in Pots
- Best Fertilizer for Passion Fruit
- Best Trellis for Passion Fruit
- Problems and Diseases
- Final Thoughts
Passion Fruit Varieties
Among the 50 passion fruit varieties, maybe you are only familiar with purple passion fruits. This type of fruit is native to Northern Argentina. Some also mentioned that this fruit grows naturally in Southern Brazil. The sweet taste with a fragrant aroma makes purple passion fruit a favorite.
Here are some you can try:
- Misty Gems: The taste of Misty Gems passion fruit is similar to guava. The dominant flavor of orange-yellow flesh of this tropical fruit is sweet with a hint of tarty. Hence, some believe this is the tastiest and sweetest purple passion fruit cultivar worth trying.
- Granadilla: Compared to similar cultivars, Granadilla has a mini size like an egg. In addition, the deep purple skin is smooth, which is the hallmark of Granadilla. But still, wait until it wrinkles before harvesting the fruit.
- Common Purple: Compared to its two friends, this native Hawaiian passion fruit has a low yield. However, its pulps have a sweeter taste due to their low acidity.
Contrary to the purple passion fruits, the taste of the yellow ones is sour. Therefore, they usually include ingredients to make jams, sauces, and juices. In addition, the size is also larger. There are several cultivars you can try, including:
- Banana Passion Fruit: It has yellow skin, like bananas. It is also longer than common yellow passion fruits. The taste is sweet with a touch of sourness.
- Maracuja: It has a deep yellow color. The size of the fruit is also larger. Usually this cultivar is often added to cocktails.
- Yee Selection: It has a lower yield than the others. But the taste is no less rich than the others.
Passion Fruit Growing Stages
Before planting them in your garden or pots, you should understand their growing stages. It is important because the needs of each stage will be different. Generally speaking, passion fruits go through four stages of growth before finally producing fruit. Find all the details below!
1. Producing Seeds
As with fruit plants in general, passion fruit vines also produce seeds. These seeds are the future new plants when the existing one dies. Moreover, you can take these seeds from the fruit.
Nonetheless, most people prefer to buy the prepared ones in the local nursery. Choose young seeds because the probability of growing is higher than those older than 3 months.
Since they are covered with a thick coat, it is better to soak them in the water for 24-48 hours. This method will soften the coating, making it easier for your seeds to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Usually, it takes 15-21 days until the seeds germinate.
After the germination process is complete, they will enter the seedlings phase. Basically, they are the new plants you will transplant into a pot to grow. The next step is to provide the growing conditions they need. Generally, it takes around four months for the seedlings to be fully established before transferring into fields, gardens, or larger pots.
3. Active Period (Juvenile)
In this stage, your plant will start to flourish. The leaves are growing, while the roots begin to develop further. You may need to introduce them to supports, such as a trellis, so they can climb on it.
In addition, weed and pest control should be applied in this critical phase. You may not see them entering the maturity stage if they get into trouble. In addition, the active period will last about eight months after moving the seedling to the fields.
Your passion fruit vines are considered mature at 12-13 months after planting. The stage of maturation consists of two critical phases: flowering and fruiting. Flowering commonly lasts for 3-4 years from its maturation. During this process, old blooms will turn into fruits while the vines will continue to produce new flowers.
Like flowering, fruiting will also last until the 5th year, when harvests finally decrease. Then, in the 6th year, the passion fruit vines will stop fruiting. At this point, you can cut them to grow new plants.
Where Does Passion Fruit Grow Best?
The best place to ensure they thrive is an area with at least 8 hours of sun exposure and fertile, well-drained soil. Regarding the soil types, you can choose sandy loam that allows fast draining. Hence, preventing the roots from rotting.
In addition to that, these fruiting plants favor slightly acidic to neutral pH of around 6.5 to 7.0. Soil that is too alkaline or acidic can reduce nutrient availability in the soil. Thus, slowing the growth of this tropical fruit. You can add coffee grounds to increase the acidity in case your soil is alkaline.
Meanwhile, fertilization will provide additional nutrients for your passionfruit vines. However, this chapter will further explain in other sections.
Growing Passion Fruit in Pots and Containers
Growing passion fruits in pots is pretty simple and easy. However, ensure you live in a warm area as it can only stand the cold of the US hardiness zone 6.
Let’s look at how to grow passion fruit in pots!
- Choose the growing site. It is crucial to make sure the passionfruit vines thrive. Prepare an area with 8 hours of sun exposure and fertile soil. Make sure the ground is loose to allow better air circulation for the roots.
- Next, pick pots with drainage holes. You don’t want the roots of your passionfruit vines to rot, do you? So, make sure the containers have holes at the base. Also, choose one with the size of 3.5 gallons to provide adequate space for growth.
- After that, prepare the seeds. You can take them from passion fruits or buy the dry ones at a local nursery. Choose the fresh ones as the older seeds lower the chance of seedlings.
- If you wish to remove the fruit seeds, you must dry them first. Rinse them in warm water to eliminate the attached pulps. Then, dry the seeds with a dry cloth or towel.
- Then, plant them in a seed tray. But before that, fill the space with potting soil. Put one seed on it, and press up to ⅛ of the seed covered in soil. And close the try with lids.
- Put the tray in the area with bright indirect light. Check on it every 2-3 days. Water them whenever the soil dries by spraying them with water. Usually, germination takes 10-20 days after planting.
- Once you notice green seedlings, you can remove the lids. Continue the treatments until other leaves grow. This time, you must move the seedlings to a new pot. Choose the 4-inch plant container to allow growth. Don’t get the big one! It can trigger root rot since the water sits too long in the pot.
- After 4 months, or the seedlings reach 8 inches in height, you can transfer them to a bigger pot.
- At this stage, you can install support, such as mini trellis to train the vines climbing on it.
- The maturation will take another 8 months. When your passion fruit vines reach 12-13 months, they will start bearing fruits.
Watering Passion Fruits in Pots
One of the most important things to support its growth is watering. Passion fruits are heavy feeders. They need regular watering, at least a few times per week. It will be more intense when they approach maturity and fruiting stages.
Furthermore, the watering schedule also highly depends on the season. You can increase the frequency during the hot summer months to prevent dehydration. Lack of water can result in fruit droppings before they mature. However, you must not overwater the soil as the roots are susceptible to rot.
Besides, too much water can drown them, lowering the oxygen and leading to death. Considering this issue, drainage holes in pots are of crucial importance. They will allow water to flow through easily from the container. Thus, it doesn’t trap in the soil for too long.
Best Fertilizer for Passion Fruit
Nitrogen-rich fertilizers are the best to boost foliage growth. Unfortunately, you must not add them to your passion fruit. As fruit-bearing plants, such fertilizers will actually inhibit fruiting. Your plants may end up producing more leaves than fruits.
So, you can choose natural fertilizers like compost. The compost can be made from a mixture of manure and vegetable waste. It is also possible to add a coffee ground to lower the soil pH if it is alkaline. Other alternatives are granulated NPK fertilizers in a ratio of 10-30-10 or 12-24-12. The phosphorus in the fertilizer will help encourage flowers and fruits to grow.
Furthermore, you can start fertilizing the fruits in spring and summer. Don’t skip fertilization because a nutrient deficiency can harm your plants. You will notice yellow vines and lighter new growth when they crave more foods.
Best Trellis for Passion Fruit
As they mature, your passion fruit vines need a trellis to support their structure. But before that, you must know the best types of trellis that will provide ideal support for the vines.
The most popular one is the vertical trellis. It is easy to install. Besides, it is also the cheapest option one can adopt. In addition, spraying pests or weed control is more accessible, thanks to the open structure design.
Another alternative is frame trellis. This is an excellent option for those who have a bit of land but want to keep it looking neat. The shape resembles the letter A, where the vines will climb on the roof. Thus, providing shade for the plants underneath the structure. Such a design also improves yields due to the dense canopy.
Problems and Diseases
Despite being relatively easy to grow, passionfruit vines are not free from pests, diseases, and other evolving issues. Lack of proper maintenance is the main factor that causes these problems to arise.
Problems with Growing Passion Fruits
The following issues regarding passion fruit growth are generally caused by not understanding how to take care of them. So, let’s identify them one by one so that you can provide the best preventive measures.
Why are your passion fruit leaves turning yellow and falling off?
Lack of nutrients and water are the causes of yellow leaves. A deficiency of nitrogen, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, iron and other minerals will result in yellow leaf veins. In some cases, too many minerals also trigger yellow foliage. Moreover, dehydration can cause your vines to wither before turning yellow.
Why is your passion fruit not fruiting?
Lousy pollination may be the culprit behind this. To bear fruit, the flowers must be pollinated by bees. When the weather is extreme, when there is a sudden change of temperatures, bees refuse to wander around gardens. Another reason is overfertilization. It can also lead to fertilizer burn that is detrimental to the roots.
What kills passion fruit vines?
Passion fruits are not resistant to diseases. One of the most common infections is Phytophthora root rot and stem canker. It usually occurs when the soil is moist due to poor drainage or constant rain. Damp soil also triggers Phytophthora blight on the leaves and fruits.
Why is your passion fruit falling off before they are ripe?
Generally, such an issue happens only if they lack water and have nutritional deficiencies. Other external factors, like bad weather, pest infestation, and poor pollination, may also influence the dropping.
Diseases Growing Passion Fruits
To complete the list of issues above, we include some common diseases you may encounter when planting passion fruit vines in pots. Most of them are caused by bacterial infections.
- Brown Spot: It is caused by Alternaria passiflorae, which infects the leaves, twigs, and fruit of passionfruit vines. The characteristics that appear are brownish-red spots on the infected part. The size can reach 2 cm when the cell vines grow in high humidity and temperature areas.
- Septoria Spot: Similar to the brown spot, the Septoria spot attacks the foliage of passionfruit vines. However, it doesn’t infect the fruits but the flowers. The infected parts will show necrotic light brown marks. Moreover, your vines will be prone to this disease when you live in an area with constant rain.
- Root and Crown Rot: This disease is caused by Phytophthora and most commonly affects passionfruit vines. It infects both the young and mature plants on the roots. Symptoms that appear include wilting, leaf fall, and eventually death. Sometimes, the twigs also show a blackish-brown color, like burning.
- Fusarium Wilt: Unlike other diseases mentioned, this one is caused by a fungal called Fusarium oxysporum. At first, the leaves of your plant will change color to light green and then wither. Then in no time, they finally suddenly died as the disease spread.
It is possible to grow passion fruit in pots. But remember to provide a trellis once they mature to support the structure. As these vines are prone to diseases, proper care is extremely crucial. Especially if you live in an area with high humidity and constant rain.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How many times a year do passionfruit fruit?
After waiting approximately 12-18 months, your passion fruit vines will start bearing fruits. Usually, the harvest time of this tropical treasure is in the summer. However, those growing in tropical climates can produce fruit all year! So, you can enjoy it all year round without waiting for the harvest season to come.
Are coffee grounds good for passionfruit?
Since passion fruit prefers acidic soil to grow, coffee grounds are the best option to add to the compost. Its acidic nature will help lower your soil’s pH. This material also helps to inhibit weeds from invading your plant. In addition, acidic soil makes an excellent habitat for soil microbes that support the overall growth of the passion fruit vines.
Should you prune passion fruit vines?
If you want to keep your passion fruit vines neat, then the best way to do it is to prune them. Nonetheless, don’t cut the stem, as it will kill the plant. Just make sure to remove the overgrown, trailing vines. You can do it once a year. Particularly when the passion fruit is actively growing in the spring.
How fast do passionfruit vines grow?
The trailing vines of passion fruit can grow as long as 10-20 feet per year. That’s fast! When they are fully established, a trellis is necessary to support the structure. And, of course, the fruits that start to develop. You will need around 12-18 months until they fruit. So, make sure that solid support is available beforehand.
Can passion fruit survive winter?
As tropical fruits, passion fruit will go dormant in the cold winter. And so, it is the best time to cut it back to prevent new vines from growing during the season. You can also add a thick mulch to lock moisture in the soil and help the plant survive low temperatures. In addition, mulching is beneficial to offer steady nutrients while the plant is inactive.
How long does it take for a passion fruit plant to bear fruit?
You need to be patient and grow passion fruits. The vines will only produce fruits after 12-18 months. Well, it takes so long, we know. But, it will be worth it once the harvest time comes in the summer to fall. Make sure you pick the wrinkled fruits as they are the ripe ones. Don’t let them fall to the ground as they may break.