A passion

a green egg shaped fruit
A Pollinated Passion Fruit Develops

Passion fruit is an ingredient in many products we use every day – especially fruit juices.  The exotic flavor of this vining plant from tropical America is unrivaled as a refreshing and tasty cool drink.  The first time I can remember having a drink of the pure juice was when I was Peace Corps volunteer on the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies where this fruit was grown in abundance.  I even grew several vines myself while living in St. Vincent and eventually was able to make my own fresh juice.   It is one of my favorite tropical fruit flavors!

This perennial vine is not only famous for its juice, but also for its flowers.  Not to be confused with some of the solely ornamental types, the commonly grown fruit types also produce intricate and beautiful flowers combining white, blue, and maroon colors.  These flowers, if pollinated properly, are followed by two-and-one-half-inch purple or yellow round fruit that contain juice sacs which are used to make the tasty beverage.  Another type of passion fruit, the giant granadilla, produces large fruit up to eight inches long that supply both a juice and an edible, melon-like rind.   Both the yellow and giant granadilla are truly tropical and should be planted in protected sites.  The purple passion fruit can tolerate some frost and is the focus of today’s article.

Purchasing a ready to transplant passion fruit plant is a good way to begin.  While there are a number of types to choose from, one commonly available cultivar is ‘Purple Possum’.  ‘Purple Possum’ – which is often propagated via tissue culture – has purple fruit which grows upwards to three and one-half inches by two and one-half inches in size.  You can also grow your passion fruit plants by seed or cuttings.  Additionally, passion fruit can be propagated using air-layering and grafting techniques.  All passion fruit grow best if set in a full sun location in well-drained soil with the benefit of some type of sturdy trellis.   Plant the vines about ten feet between plants with rows about fifteen feet apart.  Keep in mind that vines can grow up to thirty-five feet in one year.

Pollination is a very important aspect of producing passion fruit.   Large, mostly shiny black carpenter bees are the insect of choice for pollination.  Look for this insect to ensure that proper pollination is going on. I have seen this bee in our area and know that it can do the job.  If flowers are failing to pollinate, hand pollination may be needed if the carpenter bees are not working your flowers.  Hand-pollination is easy to accomplish using your finger or a cotton swab to transfer the pollen from the anther to the stigma.  Successful pollination will show within the next few days as the ovary (fruit) rapidly swells.

Passion fruit is ripe when it colors up and falls off the vine.  Harvested fruit can be stored in plastic bags at around fifty degrees F for two to three weeks.  As mentioned earlier, passion fruit juice is a real treat!  It is a good source of vitamin C and A.  Drink the juice added to other juices or diluted in water with a sweetener to taste and as per your diet.  It can also be used to make jelly, pie filling or cake frosting.

Passion fruit may be something that will fit nicely into your backyard landscape.  As long as you can accommodate the vigorous vines; you may have some passion fruit juice in your future!  For more information on all types of tropical and subtropical fruits, or to ask a question, you can also call the Master Gardener Volunteer Helpdesk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer.  Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or ralph.mitchell@charlottecountyfl.gov. Connect with us on social media. Like us on Facebook @CharlotteCountyExtension and follow us on Instagram @ifascharco.

Bailey, M., Sarkhosh, A., Rezazadeh, A., Anderson, J., Chambers, A.  & Crane, J. (2021) THE PASSION FRUIT IN FLORIDA. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Rezazadeh, A., Bailey, M., & Sarkhosh,  A. (2020) PASSION FRUIT PROBLEMS IN THE HOME LANDSCAPE. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Knight, Jr.  R. J. & Sauls, J. W. (2009) The Passion Fruit. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.


ralph mitchell
Posted: May 1, 2024

Category: Fruits & Vegetables, Home Landscapes
Tags: Exotic Flavor, Passion Fruit, Tropical, Vining Plan

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories