The passionfruit vine is an evergreen climber that finds its native roots in the Amazon region of Latin America and boasts star-like flowers with robust, leather-skinned fruit.
Many varieties of vine thrive in the subtropical and temperate climates of Australia, with mid-spring the best time for planting new passionfruit seeds.
Passionfruit is available in Australia all year round, and is classified into two species: yellow and purple.
The wrinkled fruit contains rich amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as minerals like potassium and iron.
According to Handyman Australia, passionfruit is also believed to contain health-giving properties with rural Brazilian tribes using it as a tonic for good heart function.
Tips on how to plant a passionfruit vine
Passionfruit vines develop extensive root systems and require a significant amount of space to allow for spreading and optimum growth.
Vines also need a strong structure and ample space to climb on, with standard passionfruit plants reaching up to 2.5 metres across and several metres high.
According to ABC Gardening, passionfruit vines are renowned for their tendrils which curl round mesh and wire with an ironclad grip.
An ideal spot to plant your vine is along a sun-bathed wire fence or balcony where the climber can spread to its heart content.
Passionfruit vines require at least six hours of strong sunlight each day and should be planted in relatively deep, weed-free soil where there is no growth competition.
They are an adaptable plant but are intolerant to frost, and require consistent watering when fruit is setting in.
In cold areas, vines should be planted in a warm, sheltered space in front of a north facing wall to benefit from reflected heat.
If you prefer to place your vine along a wall or a fence without wiring, it’s best to install trellis or mesh to act as support for the vines’ tendrils.
Homes to Love Australia recommend spreading fertiliser and mulch across the entire root system of your plant for optimum vine care, distributing it farther than just the base of the stem.
In terms of diet passionfruit fare best when fertilised with chicken and cow manure or citrus based foods, while roots should be patted down and insulated with straw to lock in warmth.
Fertilisers should be spread in spring and every four weeks over the course of the summer season.
Always water widely around the base of your passionfruit vine while fruit is ripening, especially on hotter days.
It’s best to plan your vines well in advance as it can take between 12 and 18 months for a newly sown vine to reach full fruiting size.
Pruning season in Australia is usually late winter or early spring, to allow for optimum fruit production and good plant health.
Nellie Kelly Australia recommend removing a third of the previous year’s growth, leaving the major runners and laterals on your trellis.
Falling behind with pruning leaves your passionfruit vine susceptible to disease and poor fruit production.
The yellow fruiting passionfruit vine blooms from April through November, while the purple vine flowers for a shorter season from March into April.
Passionfruit harvest time falls around the end of summer for purple vines and sometimes through the winter for the yellow variety. Fruit will drop off the vine when ripe.
Planting passionfruit in pots
If you live in an apartment or simply don’t have a suitable space to fit a wire fence for your vine, don’t fret - passionfruit vines can be cultivated and cared for in pots.
Just remember to invest in a large container as the key to a beautifully flowered and fruited vine is space for its roots to spread.
Root development is one of the main problems with growing passionfruit vines in Australia.
You can buy grafted passionfruit vines from Bunnings for as little $12.
The most popular home grown passionfruit vine is the Nellie Kelly, a grafted variety originating in Victoria.
This breed is the best choice for gardens in the southern Australian states thanks to its ability to withstand cooler temperatures.
The Nellie has large white and purple flowers with purple-black fruit, and is designed to be grafted onto a robust understock called blue passion flower to protect it from cold weather and soil-dwelling disease.
Aussie Passionfruit reports that Nellie Kelly vines are also hardier against potential pests and insects.
There are many varieties of passionfruit within the Nellie Kelly family.
Grafted Black Passionfruit
Grafted Black Passionfruit is grown all round Australia, from the colder climes of the south to the exotic sub-tropics of the Northern Territories.
The Black variety produces round, medium-sized fruit with a soft to firm touch and a juicy tanginess for flavour.
Black Passionfruit gradually sweeten over summer into the autumn season, with vines lasting for up to 10 years.
Planting for this variety should take place in a well-drained, sunny area with flowers blooming in early spring and fruit ripening over the summer.
The grafted Panama Gold passionfruit is hardy, frost resistant and immune to a wide variety of pests, disease and temperature extremes.
The Panama Gold thrives as far south as Tasmania.
This vine produces lush green foliage covering up to 8 square metres each year, and develops a large, golden, soft-skinned fruit with a juicy and flavourful pulp which is generally sweeter than black passionfruit.
Panama Gold vines should be planted in sun drenched, well-drained locations.
These plants should flower from spring and provide fruit throughout summer until the beginning of autumn.
Panama vines come into peak season earlier than their black vine counterparts, making spring a particularly fruitful period for this variety.
Panama Red passionfruit is suitable for growth in backyards across southern Australia, as well as sub-tropical and temperate regions around the country.
Panama Red is perfect for covering unsightly fences or outdoor sheds thanks to its attractive green foliage and large, red fruit with a soft skin.
This variety offers fruit with a milder taste than the tangy, sometimes bitter black passionfruit.
As with all vine types, Panama Red should be grown in a sunlit spot with good soil drainage and no root competition.
Banana Passionfruit is a resilient, vigorous vine that thrives in mild and cool climates with a lifespan of between six and eight years.
This beautiful variety of passionfruit boasts bright pink flowers from late spring into summer, with soft, oval-shaped yellow fruit which ripens during autumn and winter.
Banana passionfruit have a distinctive taste, sweeter than the traditional black species with a hint of banana.
Planting should be done in a sunlit spot with good wind protection.
The wild passionfruit vine is a medium sized native Australian shrub which only grows in a small area of Central Australia, usually along inland rivers.
According to Slow Food Australia, the wild vine has round leaves and large, feathery flowers.
Wild passionfruit begin to develop in early summer, ripening with a bright green colour similar to caper berries.