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Planting Systems

Site Selection

Passionfruit vines require full sunlight for proper growth. It is best grown in areas with annual rainfall of at least 900 mm. Passionfruit may be grown on a wide range of soil types, but the best suited soils are light to heavy sandy loams of medium texture having a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. The plant needs good drainage. Vines will not tolerate waterlogged conditions for long periods. The passionfruit vine grows better in areas that are protected from the wind. Flat and smoothly undulated lands (gradients less than 8%) are most suitable, on steeper slopes (in the range of 8 to 30%) irrigation and/or fertigation are more difficult while in very steep areas, passionfruit should be grown individually with good natural soil covering.

Land Preparation

Land preparation may be conducted one to two months before planting the vines. The land must first be cleared. This produces green mulch that can be incorporated back into the soil when ploughing and rotovating. This ensures a quick and even establishment of vines. Soil analysis should be conducted and all necessary adjustments made before planting. Ploughing in organic matter to soil is beneficial. Organic mulch can be added around these vines because they are shallow rooted. 

Land preparation aims to improve the soil conditions for root development, by way of increasing aeration and water infiltration and reducing soil resistance to root growth. Manual soil preparation starts with clearing existing vegetation and using it as mulch or burning it. Soil preparation is limited to the manual opening of the pits for planting the vines. Mechanical preparation is done by machine, taking care to not remove the superficial layer of soil, which is rich in organic material. This is followed by ploughing and then pit digging or creating of furrows for planting. Surface scarifying may substitute for ploughing for minimum soil preparation.

Transplanting and Training

Root-pruning should precede transplanting of seedlings by 2 weeks. Transplanting is best done on a cool, overcast day. Plants are transplanted during the cooler part of the day (early morning or late evening).The soil should be prepared and enriched organically a month in advance if possible. Grafted vines must be planted with the union well above ground, not covered by soil or mulch, otherwise the disease resistance will be lost. Mounding of the rows greatly facilitates fruit collection.

Plant passion fruit vines in full sun except in very hot areas where partial shade is preferable. One or two vigorous leaders are selected and trained to the top wire. The vine can be rather rampant, so it is important to plant it next to a chain link fence or install a strong trellis before planting. The plants can also be trained into an attractive arbor.

Plants in fertile soil extend their stems about 3 m per year. Each year during the annual dry season, the leaves fall off and the twigs die, leaving the main stem and a few important branches alive to rebuild the crown after the rains begin. Because fruiting takes place on new wood, light pruning does not reduce yield. Plants live from 3 to 8 years and do not resprout. Commercial stands are managed in vineyards, somewhat like grapes. They are planted in trellised rows 4.5-6 m apart and spaced 3-4.5 m apart within rows. The orchards are replanted every 4 to 6 years. Alternately, vineyards may be established using small trees or bamboo as standards. Fruiting plants can even be grown in pots under glass. The roots normally form mycorrhizal associations and benefit from inoculation with superior strains of fungi.

Some kind of temporary support at each plant is necessary to train it to get a good hold on the wires of the trellis, after which it takes care of itself and needs no other support. The principal objective is to get the vine to the trellis wires in the simplest, quickest and least expensive manner.

If the young vine is supported in an upright position, with a strong wire or light pole to grasp, it usually will grow quickly to the trellis wire with a minimum of lateral branching. A terminal branched portion of bamboo, inverted and hung over the trellis wire, provides an excellent support for the vine and eliminates the necessity for frequent tying.

Four to six laterals may be trained in both directions onto the overhead wire, and the sooner they come to a horizontal position on the trellis the more quickly they will flower and fruit.

Passion vines in their native state clamber up available trees or rocks and spread out to catch the available sunlight. The yellow passion fruit has naturalized in this manner. In cultivation, vines should be trained to cover the wires of the trellis or fence on which they are grown.

Young vines are trained by aiming a growing up toward the top of the trellis and once there, allowing a shoot to grow along each wire in each direction. A 2-wire trellis provides 4 sprouts growing along the trellis away from the vine's trunk. Once started, the vine should be allowed to grow without pruning throughout the season, since the more vine there is, the more bearing surface there will be. With self-incompatible forms of yellow passion fruit it is particularly desirable to allow 2 different, cross-fertile vines to grow through each other and intertwine so as to promote heavy fruit production.


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Pineapple Research Station
Kerala Agricultural University
Ernakulam Kerala 686670