What is it about passionfruit?

One day’s gatherings

Australians just love passionfruit.  I don’t know what it is, but we do.  I am guessing it has something to do with the ubiquitous pavlova smothered in passionfruit pulp of our childhood.

I, usually, have a soap stall at the Bridgetown Riverside Markets over Easter.  Soap making is just a hobby for me but, as anyone who has made soap knows, it is very addictive and it is impossible not to make too much soap.  Alas, soap making is a popular hobby.  You will find a couple of soap stalls at most markets.  Bridgetown is no different.  I needed a secret weapon to attract customers and it came in the shape of passionfruit.  My plan was to use passionfruit as bait for soap customers… and it worked!

In the last couple of weeks, we have gathered in excess of 1,200 passionfruit.  We have a small coolroom that stocks all our produce from the vegie patch, flours for bread making and our store of seeds, nuts, grains, etc (and the odd bottles of wine and beer).

Of late, half of the usual coolroom contents have been out on the bench.  The coolroom was full of passionfruit and the laundry floor was covered in boxes of passionfruit.  We could hardly move.  I made about 20 jars of passionfruit syrup out of the small passionfruit and those that had ripened too early to store.  Maus and I have extracted the pulp from 5 buckets of passionfruit to distribute to family and friends when we see them.  Everyone who visits gets a bag of passionfruit … but still the passionfruit come. 

As I said, I decided to use the passionfruit as bait for customers at the markets.

The plan was a raging success.  In one morning, we sold lots of soap and about 400 passionfruit.  At first, we were going to sell them for 50c each but then I remembered some advice I had read to always offer a bargain so I made up a sign, “6 for $2.50”.  Everyone bought at least 6.

In one family, each child bought a dozen and then came back saying, “Mum said we have to buy more because we have eaten all the other ones.”

A little boy wanted his mum to keep adding more to her bag, even though she had reached her quota.  We let him keep the one gripped in his hand. 🙂

Late in the morning, an elderly man reprimanded me.  He had seen some people eating passionfruit and asked them where they bought them.  He found us and bought some.  “You should have a big sign up,” he said.  “Some people didn’t even know there were passionfruit available.  I haven’t had a feed of passionfruit in years.”  It was as if it was our fault he nearly missed the opportunity to “get a feed”.

“From where have they all come?”, I hear you ask.  It is a long story.

My relationship with passionfruit started when we decided to call our block, “Passion Fruit Garden”.  Everyone assumed that we had called our place, “Passionfruit Garden”  – notice the lack of a space after the “n”?  The question we were regularly asked was, “Do you grow passionfruit?”  To make things simple, I thought I would put a vine in so I could answer, “Yes”, but it didn’t eventuate.

Years later, a reader of this blog, who was visiting to collect some sourdough starter, asked if I wanted some passionfruit cuttings.  I didn’t even know passionfruit vines grew from cuttings, let alone the fact that they are very easy to grow that way.  My cuttings grew and I planted two.  I later found out that they are Red Panama variety.

Yep!  Two vines are producing all these passionfruit.

But the story will come to an end.  We are having the house painted at the moment so we had to cut the vines back severely.  It is the wrong time to be pruning passionfruit.  You are supposed to prune them in Spring, after the last frosts.  The vines were still laden with fruit.  And passionfruit vines have a short life span

We have taken cuttings from these and intend to plant them if the vines don’t survive.  We are in the process of trying to work out where to plant them.  We don’t want them on the house because they attract rats but we don’t have anywhere else.  We need passionfruit so I can say, “Yes” to that question and … to attract customers to my Easter stall!

We still haven’t worked out what to do with the pile in the coolroom.  A fruit broker did offer to buy them from us but we are not in the game for the money so we don’t want to do that.  I have searched the web to see if you can preserve the pulp in any way other than freezing it.  It doesn’t appear so.  I even thought of drying the pulp into leather but doubt whether it is feasible.  Passionfruit do not like prolonged exposure to heat so I don’t think it will work but I am going to give it a bash anyway.

If anyone wants tips on growing passionfruit:

  • Get a cutting.  Don’t buy a grafted variety.
  • Provide a huge, strong frame for it to grow on.
  • Water your vine regularly.  We water ours for 10 minutes every two days over summer.
  • Fertilise your vine in Spring.
  • Enjoy the passionfruit, there will be many.

22 thoughts on “What is it about passionfruit?

  1. I cannot begin to tell you how envious I am of your passionfruit vines and fruit. When we were at the other house( the one that was destroyed on Black Saturday) we always had a good vine thanks to the siting of the house and an available spot on the verandah facing Easy and North. We replaced it every 7 years and it always was so happy and fruitful. Since we’ve been at the new house ( now nearly 10 years) we have had no success at all. I can;t seem to find a ready structure that is protected from the West and South- everything here is different. I’m still working on the idea.

    • Hi Francesca. Our vines are growing north east. We planted the vines in the east side of the house but they have made their way to the front (north) of the house. The soil is nothing special. They get a bit of dynamic lifter in spring. That is it. We have decided to put another in for when these guys die. We will see how it goes.

  2. Pingback: Oh! I love it. | Passion Fruit Garden

  3. wow that is one heck of a lot of passionfruit. marvellous vines you have there. yes such an aussie thing isn’t it to love them? i bet it’s cos of the whole pavlova thing. and i am so jelly of your coolroom. how wonderful! cheers S x

  4. They look fabulous on your house – I hope you work out where to replant. Sadly, they don’t grow here and we just pay an exhorbitant price for them.
    It’s a shame you can’t use them in your soap. Or maybe you can …

    • Hi Anne, Nah, they are no good in soap. Sodium hydroxide is alkaline and passionfruit is acidic so they would counter each other out.

  5. Passionfruits were a fantastic part of my childhood in Sydney – my Dad had a prolific vine over the old chook shed. My first attempt in Coogee was a grafted vine which immediately reverted to the rootstock. The second went a bit crazy up a huge tree but the possums got all the fruit. At least we don’t have monkeys!

    • Hi Melissa, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Most people don’t have much luck with the grafted varieties. I wonder whether a cutting from a grafted Nellie Kelly would be any good.

  6. I adore passionfruit!!! as a child growing up in Sydney we used to grow them across our wooden backyard fence, never fertilised, never watered in summer and yet they grew, we even ate them green but now as an elder citizen (well, just a little bit old, and just in the face) I buy them at the markets and make passionfruit curd/butter. I bought some Weck preserving jars so now I take this preserved curd wrapped up in bubble wrap to my daughter and 3 grandchildren living in Canada. My Sydney grandchildren can’t get enough of them off the vine. Wish you were my neighbour I would buy much of your stock. So sad about the vine coming down.

    • Hi Robyn. It will be interesting whether the vines survive. We are definitely going to grow another just in case … It is funny, I don’t remember a vine in my child hood but I do remember the pavlova smothered in pulp, so there must have been one.

  7. Fantastic post Glenda! I recently removed our ‘you beaut’ grafted one due to suckering and would dearly love to plant another. Think that may be what I replace a wisteria with. Is there a local produce swap that you can take them to? I sometimes but buckets of lemons or lemongrass in the local servo for he taking and they always go (the produce,, no the buckets!). Reading Susans comment I’m not sure which is worse, monkeys or rats! Must be fun getting up into those vines to pick. Good luck with the painting!

    • Hi Maree. The painting is going swimmingly. It is so much less stressful in the country. You just trust the tradesmen to do a good job. Monkeys sound so much nicer than rats. Maybe it is possums, I hope so. Who ever it is, they like tomatoes toooooo.

  8. I think it is lovely you gave passionfruit lovers a chance to treat their tastebuds, and enjoy probably some childhood nostaglia. There is something magic about the taste…
    The G.O. cut our vines back last year, stripping the last of the fruit, much of the pulp is still in bags in the freezer and very handy for a quick batch of passionfruit butter. All but one of the vines have come back with flowers & fruit just recently. I replaced the gap with a choko, but then found a passionfruit vine self sown over near the shed. I have only even grown passionfruit from seed.
    However… you have a coolroom… I am deeply envious. With our humidity, so practical 🐸

    • Hi Ella, I have never heard of growing them from seed. Do they grow true to form? In Perth most people grow grafted Nellie Kellies. I had never heard of Red Panama before I had one. It is the same as all fruit. We are only presented with one variety in the shops and before you know it people think only one variety exists.

      • The passionfruit from seed grow true to form. Usually passionfruit vines live for about 4 years. I’m not sure what kind they are, they are roundish in shape and a pale purpley-red. We got them from the G.O.’s mum’s vine to replace the lovely yellow passionfruit that never regrew.

  9. I love granadillas (we call them that in South Africa) and they grow easily but we have a monkey problem. It is a toss up to see who gets them first generally the monkeys. They take a bite and throw them down, such a waste.

    • Hi Susan. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I would like to believe it is possums eating the passionfruit and tomatoes but it is probably rats, even though we are in the country and native animals abound. Monkeys sound so much cuter than rats 😟

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