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Grow passion fruit for a truly exotic garden… and snack!

Passion fruit, maracuja

Longing for exotic flowers and fruit in your garden? Go ahead and adopt passionfruit—it’ll fill your eyes and taste buds.

Key passion fruit facts:

Name: Passiflora edulis
Family: Passifloraceae
Type: climbing plant

Height: 6.5 to 16.5 feet
Exposure: warm and sunny
Soil: rich, light, fresh, but well drained

Blooming: summer  –  Foliage: evergreen  –  Harvest: summer

Planting of Passionfruit

Passionfruit loves sun and heat. Non-hardy, it requires a minimum temperature of about 50 °F (10 °C).

For soil, it needs to be well-drained, as too much moisture during dormancy can rot the roots. The soil should also be rich and light for better plant development.

When to plant Passiflora edulis?

Passiflora edulis, being non-hardy, it’s best to plant it in spring rather than in fall.

How to plant passionfruit?

  • How to plant passion fruitDig a planting pit about around 20 inches (50 cm) deep.
  • Amend the soil with compost or well-rotted compost for fertility, and sand for drainage.
  • Unpot the root ball and slightly break it up to release some roots.
  • Set up the passionfruit in the hole, making sure the neck is at ground level.
  • Place a stake or support near the base and backfill the hole, firmly tamping the soil.
  • Water abundantly.

Passion fruit in a container

In regions with harsh winters, you can grow passionfruit in a pot. In this case, it needs to be quite large and have holes for water drainage. The substrate to use is a mixture of 20 to 25% sand, the rest being potting soil.

Before filling the pot, put a drainage layer at the bottom (clay pebbles or gravel).

Note that although passionfruit can be grown in a pot, fruiting will be rarer. That’s why it’s recommended to grow it in open ground, but under a greenhouse or nursery.

Caring for passion fruit

Passion fruit careWatering during blooming and fruiting season is crucial, especially during prolonged dry spells. Soil must stay moist. Outside of this time, water inputs can be more moderate, especially for potted passion fruit during its dormancy. This cultivation method also requires proper winterization before first frosts arrive.

Boost grenadilla’s growth and production with a potassium-rich fertilizer once a month from start of vegetation. Stay clear of nitrogen-rich fertilizers. They encourage leaves at expense of flowers and fruit.


How to prune passion fruitAnnual pruning of grenadilla occurs between end of winter and start of spring (March-April). It’s mainly about:

  • Cleaning the base by removing dead or fragile branches.
  • Balancing and controlling branch development with a structural pruning, encouraging new stem growth. Flowers appear on new growth, which is why you must cut it back.

Revitalizing the base can be done by cutting branches back to 1 to 2 feet from the stump, keeping only the most vigorous and healthy stems. Mind you, such a prune delays blooming by a year or even two. So don’t do it too often.

Propagating Passiflora edulis

You can sow grenadilla in a heated greenhouse in fall, then transplant seedlings in the following spring. Layering is also an option in summer, as are cuttings from green stems in June or semi-hardened ones at end of summer.

Passion fruit diseases and pests

Passion fruit is a hardy plant. It can still be targeted by certain pests:

  • In the garden, aphids are a main concern, especially as vectors of viruses, such as cucumber mosaic virus, which doesn’t only affect cucurbits.
  • In nursery or greenhouse, attacks from red spider mites, whitefly, and scale insects are most common.

Harvesting passion fruit, grenadilla

Harvesting passion fruitYou should harvest grenadilla during summer when its color matures (yellow or purple), and the skin starts to wrinkle. After picking, it doesn’t keep for more than a few days, so best to pick as needed. This way, you soak up all its benefits.

For further reading:

Get to know more about grenadilla

Common names: grenadilla, edible passionflower, passion fruit, maracuja

Passiflora edulis or grenadilla is the famous passion fruit. Native to Brazil, it boasts big, shiny leaves reaching up to 8 inches (20 cm). It also sports white and purple flowers and, of course, edible oval yellow or violet fruits.

For further reading:

Images: Pixabay: Adriano Hermini, Lynn Greyling, Ulrike Mai, David Diaz, Najib Zamri

Written by Christophe Dutertre | With a formal degree in landscaping and an informal love of gardens, Christophe will introduce you to this passion we all share. Novelty, down-to-earth tips and environment-friendly techniques are marked on the map, so let's get going!
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