We moved into our current house in July and remarkably (well I found it remarkable) for the time of year there were ripe passionfruit on the vine. The next season we had an absolutely fabulous bumper crop. This was 4 years ago and in the years since I have neglected the vine and now it is too old to produce much at all. Passionfruits have a productive life of about 7 years, and although I don’t know how old this particular vine is it was well established before we arrived.
Today I planted a new one.
Its a “Nellie Kelly” Grafted Black Passionfruit, which I suspect is what the one it is going to replace was. My understanding is that to get good fruit in Melbourne you really need to grow a grafted variety. To my shame I bought the plant about a month ago at the closest outpost of the Wesfarmers empire, but it was raining and they have an indoor playcentre and I have been to CERES 3 times since and and and. Actually its pretty inexcusable really as since that particular hardware/garden superstore opened about 2-3 years ago it has already put the closest and really nice family run nursery/garden shop out of business. Hopefully the plant overcomes its dubious origins….
I find passionfruits fairly demanding to grow. I made a previous attempt to replace the current plant and this was the result.
In the end I had to pull it out. My first mistake was planting in Autumn – it put on lots of new growth which promptly got too cold, died back and then something ate the rest of it. Not a great start. My 2nd mistake was probably not feeding it sufficiently. I have since discovered that passionfruits respond well to being fed 3 times a year, in September, December and February. So this time I will give it lots to eat and drink and hopefully it will establish itself sufficiently to cope with next winter.
The other problem I have with grafted passionfuit is suckering from the root stock. It is difficult to make out in the top photos but effectively you are seeing two plants, the suckered root stock and the grafted top. Unfortunately the suckering occurred on our neighbours side of the fence in an area behind a shed making it difficult to deal with. Fortunately the rootstock does have attractive flowers so at least that something. The photo on the left is the flowers from the root stock(which doesn’t produce edible fruit), on the right is the fruiting plant.
Suckering is a problem because the suckered part is often more vigorous and can swamp the productive part of the plant. This time I have planted on the back fence which backs onto an alley so I will be able to easily remove any suckered growth.
I love passion fruit so I will be very happy if this ones thrives. Aside from the eating there’s also the photographic possibilities offered by the flowers….
I’ll stop at 3, for now……