These vigorous vines give lots of rewards for not much care, as long as you give them the right conditions, and they’re right up there with lemon trees and chokos as one of the quintessential Aussie backyard plants. Plus, they’re an essential ingredient for so many favourite summer desserts – passionfruit pavlova, anyone?
Passionfruit are warm-climate plants, which need a frost-free climate to thrive. Plant vines in a sunny position – north facing is ideal – and make sure they have a structure to climb over, such as a fence, lattice frame or pergola. On smooth surfaces you’ll need to attach support wires, or a piece of weldmesh, so that the vine’s tendrils have something to cling onto.
Passionfruit are quite hungry plants, so dig cow manure into the soil when you’re planting, then after about a month, as the vine starts to grow, apply a fertiliser formulated for fruiting plants (citrus food is a good option).
While you can raise a passionfruit from seed, grafted plants from nurseries are tougher, with fewer pest and disease problems – ‘Nellie Kelly’ is one of the favourites. And be patient with your new passionfruit, as vines tend to spend their first season putting on lots of growth and don’t crop very well until the second year. But when they do, you’ll get to enjoy not just a fruit harvest, but their amazing flowers, too.