Passiflora edulis in bloom.
image by ARS:commons.wikimedia.org
Passiflora edulis, known colloquially as purple grandilla and yellow passion fruit, is a fast-growing, climbing vine that flowers from late spring to late fall with fruiting following on the heels of bloom. A herbaceous perennial hardy in USDA zones 8a to 10b, it is grown as an annual in cooler climes. The slightly fragrant and exotic flowers are the main draw of this plant, but its fruits, called maypops, are coveted by many for eating fresh from the vine as well as for preserving.
Provide a planting location with a full sun exposure save for very hot climates where partial daily shade, especially afternoon shade, is preferred.
Plant your passiflora vine in almost any garden or potting soil, as it is not at all finicky about soil conditions and is well adapted to even infertile soils. The one exception to this is heavy clay soil, which tends to restrict movement of both water and roots through the soil, stunting growth and leading to root rot.
Skip fertilizer on your passionflower, as the plant does not need or desire it. Use of chemical fertilizers on passionflower tends to drive more vegetative growth than bloom or fruit.
Water passiflora edulis so that the surrounding soil remains moist throughout the entire growing season and is never allowed to dry out. Abundant water is crucial to both blooming and fruiting, and water uptake will increase as the fruit harvest matures.
With such a vigorous growth habit during the summer, the added burden of hot temperatures may make daily watering a necessity. Mulch the soil around the plant roots deeply with shredded bark or cocoa hulls, to keep moisture in and weed at bay.
Provide structure or support for your passionflower in the form of a sturdy fence, tree, arbor, pergola, wood or wire trellis and old garden shed. When the vine is allowed to climb freely more light can penetrate into the plant increasing both bloom and fruit production. When a structure is supplied, ties are rarely needed, as the plant tendrils can latch on and climb with ease.
Prune your passiflora edulis only to control its shape or size in your garden. Pruning is not necessary to encourage fruiting or bloom. Use clean sharp secateurs to make your cuts; pass the cuttings on as gifts to fellow gardeners, or toss into the compost bin.