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……

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22 Responses to Passionfruit

  1. Mike says:

    What an amazing plant, I look forward to hearing more about how it progresses in your garden. They have such beautiful flowers.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Your flower photos are amazing. I wish I could say I like the taste of Passionfruit, but I actually dislike it a lot, which is a shame, considering how beautiful its flowers are.

  3. Leanne says:

    I don’t like passion fruit, brings back terrible memories of pavlova with passion fruit and a cousin being force fed it. I won’t go any further. I have never looked at the flowers before, they are beautiful, but would it worth growing just for the flowers?

    • Liz says:

      I think they are worth growing just for the flowers. I grew them like that in the UK. They are particularly good if you have a large wall that you want to cover – they are vigorous and and the flowers are fabulous. There are some red flowering varieties that are even more spectacular (not great eating though I’m told).

  4. Veggiegobbler says:

    Passionfruit flowers are definitely the most beautiful of all. I’ve got three passionfruit plants along my shed and they’re all doing terribly. In three years I’ve only had one flower. I think it’s time to give up on them for me.

    • Liz says:

      Thats a real shame – I wish I knew what the previous owners of my house did as the passionfruit were great when we arrive. They do get a lot of sun and I think they fed them a lot, maybe they watered them a lot too. I think it must be all about getting them established and away they go?????

  5. mireille says:

    general comment.

    Snails and Slugs. Eating all seedlings help! They don’t seem to mind beer.

    And did you hear about the deadly snail/slug carriers of Meningitis?? (I thought they could be friendly pets for the child who has no pets.)

    • Liz says:

      You’ve got to drown them in the stuff – literally I mean. Perhaps your traps aren’t deep enough. No I didn’t hear about them as a meningitis carrier, really???? in Australia????? or are we talking about some strange Amazonian slug here? You didn’t accidently turn on Today Tonight did you? My only other slug and snail solution is seek and destroy – find where they are hiding, take a bucket of warm soapy water and place creature in bucket – kills them pretty much instantly and the soap means you don’t have to look at the corpse.

  6. Jo says:

    Those flowers are stunning. I think I’m off to buy a passionfruit vine tomorrow. Any idea what will grow well in Sydney?

    • Liz says:

      Hi Jo, Any variety that grows in Melbourne will probably do even better in Sydney as they do like it warm….it depends which variety you want to eat. I like the black skinned types but there are others types that look interesting but I haven’t recently sampled the fruit. I remember thinking banana passionfruit was fabulous as a kid on holidays in QLD but I haven’t come across it recently to confirm this impression. I would get a grafted variety though as I think they tend to be more successful.

  7. Diana says:

    Passionfruit flowers are really pretty and look so exotic. I got a passionfruit seedlings grown from seeds last autumn from seed swap group meeting, it stayed dormant and did not grow at all. I wonder when it will start to grow.

    • Liz says:

      The vine I bought a month ago has put on quite a bit of new growth already but then it is grafted. I don’t know of anyone having success with a plant on its own roots in Melbourne but I might not know the right people, and Adelaide is warmer….I think it really should start growing soon if it is going to grow.

  8. Joanna says:

    Fabulous photos Liz, you’re an artist, you are…

  9. Ray Anthony says:

    I have lost 8 Passionfruit vines in the last two years , they just die back quickly , some take off and do well, then bang they die in a matter of weeks . up until this I have had a lifetime of success , but I firmly believe that there is something foreign that is now attacking them . Anyone have a clue for me , I am desperate, I love the little darlings.

    • Liz says:

      Hi Ray, My latest one seems to be growing well at the moment but as you say they can look like they’re doing well and then things will go wrong. If you let me know what variety you have, whether it is grafted and where you garden then I will happily write a post on it and see what people think.

  10. Shuga says:

    Hi all!

    I know this is an old post but for people still looking for help… Passionfruit vines LOVE full sun, shelter from winds and blood and bone! When planting the vine cultivate the soil to a couple of feet deep and wide. Add plenty of blood and bone OR a fresh cows liver (who would think hey?) then mix through soil and plant vine with a mote. Give it plenty of water and watch it go! ???????? add blood and bone to the top soil every 6months or so

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