Cutting open a fresh homegrown passionfruit is like getting a dose of pure tropical sunshine. Thinking about planting a passionfruit vine this spring? Not sure whether to go grafted or seedling? Here’s a bit of advice.

Passionfruit vines can be bountiful croppers when planted in a sunny, sheltered, well-drained position in Melbourne gardens. Try growing them against a north-facing brick wall with strong wire or trellis for their tendrils to cling to. The brick will absorb heat from the sun during the day and radiate it back as the temperature drops. Contrary to the rumours on the internet they are self-fertile, meaning that you only need one plant to produce fruit. Make sure you give your vine plenty of room to grow as one plant can cover up to six metres. During the winter expect some leaves to yellow and drop; this is a natural response to the cold. Pruning off a third of the previous year’s growth in early spring will encourage more flowers and fruit, you will only get fruit on new growth. Fertilise with an organic slow release or blood and bone at around the same time and keep your vine well-watered and mulched. Don’t expect a huge crop in your first season of planting as they typically take two years to mature. Each vine will last from seven to ten years, depending on the variety, so consider planting another when your first is three years old to maintain fruit supply.

Grafted passionfruits have blue passionflower (Passiflora caerulea) as their rootstock with fruiting passionfruit grafted on top. This is done to improve tolerance to cold and disease. Grafted passionfruits are generally more vigorous growers than seedling grown vines. There is however a real risk of the rootstock ‘taking over’ from the fruiting stock. The key is observation and vigilance. Any shoots growing out from below the graft (the ‘V’ in the main stem) must be pruned off quickly or the rootstock will reduce the vigour of the fruiting stock. The leaves of the rootstock are small and dark green, fairly easy to distinguish from the large, bright leaves of the fruiting stock. Suckers from the rootstock can also pop up in other areas of the garden (especially if you have coarse or sandy soil) and must be pulled out. If you don’t fancy keeping such a close eye on your vine a seedling variety may be more suited to you. Plant it in a frost-free area, and as long as you keep it watered and fed you can relax and wait for the fruit to form!

Black Passionfruit
Fruit is round and medium-sized with a delicious tang that sweetens as it wrinkles in the sun.

Panama Gold
Large, soft-skinned fruit with sweet, juicy, aromatic pulp. Not as tangy as the black.

Panama Red
Large, sweet, soft-skinned fruit. Milder than the black. Known for lush foliage and vigorous growth (up to 8m).