Passion fruit Growing Requirements
Purple passion fruit require a warm, sheltered, frost-free site for a commercial planting to thrive and be profitable. The soil must be free draining as passion fruit are very susceptible to "wet feet" and will succumb to any water-logging of the soil.
Passion fruit will only tolerate light frosts (-1 to -2 degrees C) and heavier frosts can severely damage an orchard. Cold winds can also put passion fruit under severe stress and if winds persist, can introduce an early attack of woodiness virus. The only counter remedy for this virus is total removal of the vine.
Passion fruit vines will grow an a wide range of soils, but good drainage and aeration are essential. A deep drained, friable sandy loam is best. Heavy clay soils are unsuitable. Where natural drainage is inadequate a suitable drainage system should be installed before planting. Seek local advice before laying a drainage system.
Planting of a suitable shelter-belt is recommended in all passion fruit growing areas of New Zealand. These should be trimmed every 1-2 years depending on the species selected. Root pruning of the shelter-belt is very important as the roots will quickly invade the orchard and rob the soil of nutrients. This causes the vines to go yellow and the fruit to be small.
Root pruning should be done to a depth of 1m every second year. A root saw is the most effective way of pruning as it stops any rejoining of the roots.