Passion fruit flower vine

Why is my passionfruit vine not fruiting or flowering

Probably the most common problem for passionfruit grown in home gardens is poor fruit set, which is generally due to a lack of flowers being pollinated. We have listed tips to grow more passionfruit flowers.

This can occur for a number of reasons, the main one being a lack of pollinators. This means there are not enough bees around to pollinate the flowers. One remedy is to hand pollinate your passionfruit flowers yourself. Alternatively, it might be a nice idea to plant other bee loving natives, like lavender, close by. When hand pollinating, use a small brush to transfer pollen from one flower’s anthers to another flower’s stigma. Stroke stigma in a downwards motion and do this in the morning. Repeat this process until fruit forms.

Other factors such as cold weather, wind, rain and frost can delay flower and fruit set. Be patient.

Pruning your vine to encourage new growth before flower onset is important too. Flowers grow on new growth. Prune early spring.

Make sure your purchased vine is self fertile. This means it doesn’t need pollinating from other passionfruit vine varieties.

Don’t give your passionfruit vines a high nitrogen fertiliser. This will encourage leaf growth and not fruit. To promote flowers and fruit, liquid feed with Searles Liquid Potash. Potash is a bloom booster agent.

50 Quotes From The Best Vines

In 2017 we had to say goodbye to one of the best websites to ever roam the internet: Vine. In case you have been living under a rock since 2013, Vine was -(sad face)- a website and app that took the internet and the app store by storm in Winter 2013. It contained 6-second videos that were mostly comedy, but there were other genres including music, sports, cool tricks, and different trends. Vine stars would get together and plan out a Vine and film it till they got it right.

It was owned by Twitter and it was shut down because of so many reasons: the Viners were leaving and making money from YouTube, there was simply no money in it and Twitter wanted us to suffer.

There’s been a ton of threads on Twitter of everyone’s favorite vines so I thought I’d jump in and share some of my favorites. So without further ado, here are some quotes of Vines that most vine fanatics would know.

1. “AHH! Stahhp. I coulda dropped mah croissant.”

2. “Nate, how are those chicken strips?” “F%#K YA CHICKEN STRIPS…..F%#K ya chicken strips!”

3. “Road work ahead? Uh yea, I sure hope it does.”

4. “Happy Crimus….” “It’s crismun…” “Merry crisis.” “Merry Chrysler.”

5. “…Hi Welcome to Chili’s.”

6. “HoW dO yOu kNoW wHaT’s gOoD fOr mE?” “THAT’S MY OPINIONNN!!!..”

7.”Welcome to Bible Study. We’re all children of Jesus… Kumbaya my looordd.”

8. “Hi my name’s Trey, I have a basketball game tomorrow. Wel,l I’m a point guard, I got shoe game…”

9. “It’s a avocadooo…thanks”

10. “Yo, how much money do you have?” “69 cents” “AYE, you know what that means?” “I don’t have enough money for chicken nuggets.”

11. “Hurricane Katrina? More like Hurricane Tortilla.”

12. “Hey, Tara you want some?” “This b*%th empty. YEET!”

13. “Get to Del Taco. They got a new thing called Freesha– Free– Freeshavaca-do.”

14. “Mothertrucker, dude, that hurt like a buttcheek on a stick.”

15. “Two brooss chillin in a hot tub, 5 feet apart cuz they’re not gay.”

16. “Jared, can you read number 23 for the class?” “No, I cannot…. What up? I’m Jared, I’m 19 and I never f#@%in learned how to read.”

17. “Not to be racist or anything, but Asian people SSUUGHHH!”

18. 18. “I wanna be a cowboy baby… I wanna be a cowboy baby.”

19. “Hey, I’m lesbian.” “I thought you were American.”

20. “I spilled lipstick in your Valentino bag.” “You spilled — whaghwhha — lipstick in my Valentino White bag?”

21. “What’s better than this? Guys bein dudes.”

22. “How’d you get these bumps? ya got eggzma?” “I got what?” “You got eggzma?”

23. “WHAT ARE THOSEEEEE?” “THEY are my crocs!”

24. “Can I get a waffle? Can I please get a waffle?”

25. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAVEN!” “I can’t sweem.”

26. “Say Coloradoo.” “I’M A GIRAFFE!!”

27. “How much did you pay for that taco?” Aight, yo, you know this boys got his free tacoo.”

28. *Birds chirping* “Tweekle Tweekle.”

29. “Girl, you’re thicker than a bowl of oatmeal!”

30. “I brought you Frankincense.” “Thank you.” “I brought you Myrrh.” “Thank you.” “Mur-dur!” “Huh…!”

31. “Sleep? I don’t know about sleep…it’s summertime.” “You ain’t go to bed?” “Oh, she caught me.”

32. “All I wanna tell you is school’s not important… Be whatever you wanna be. If you wanna be a dog…RUFF. You know?”

33. “Oh, I like ya accent where you from?” “I’m Liberian.” “Oh, my bad. *whispering* I like your accent…”

34. “Next Please.” “Hello.” “Sir, this is a mug

shot.” “A mug shot? I don’t even drink coffee.”

35. “Hey, did you happen to go to class last week?” “I have never missed a class.”

37. “There’s only one thing worse than a rapist…Boom” “A child.” “No.”

38. “Later, Mom. What’s up? Me and my boys are going to see Uncle Kracker…GIVE ME MY HAT BACK, JORDAN! DO YOU WANNA SEE UNCLE KRACKER OR NO?”

39. “Dad, look, it’s the good kush.” This is the dollar store, how good can it be?”

40. “Zach stop…Zach stop…You’re gonna get in trouble. Zach.”

41. “CHRIS! Is that a weed? “No this is a crayon-” I’m calling the police” *puts 911 into microwave* “911 what’s your emergency?”

42. “WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? “

43. *Blowing vape on table* * cameraman blows it away* “ADAM!”

44. “Would you like the spider in your hand?” “Yea.” “Say please.” “Please.” *puts spider in hand* *screams*

45. “Oh hi, thanks for checking in I’m still a piece of garrbaagge.”

46. *girl blows vape* “…WoW”

47. *running* “…Daddy?” “Do I look like-?”

48. *Pours water onto girl’s face* “Hello?”

49. “Wait oh yes, wait a minute Mr. Postman.” “HaaaAHH”

50. “…And they were roommates” “Mah God they were roommates!”

I could literally go on forever because I just reference vines on a daily basis. Rest in peace Vine

Passion flowers Passiflora | Which Passion fruit are edible?

Passiflora foetida. Edible Passion fruit in Ubud, Bali © 2009 Neil Gale Magic of Life Butterfly House

I am often asked if the common passion flower P. caerulea, has edible Passionfruit. They are edible when ripe (going from green to orange yellow) but are usually insipid though some are tastier than others. Note Always let fruit drop rather than trying to pull it off. Some Passion fruit are toxic, even some of the edible ones may be when unripe. Read more


The most widely grown Passionfruit are the hard shelled P. edulis varieties. These all germinate very readily and keep relatively well. Perhaps 40 or more Passiflora have fruit we would judge as edible, of those 10 or so may be grown as food crops for local consumption, but most of these have soft fruit which do not keep or travel well. e.g. P. tripartita var. mollissima and other Tacsonia which taste good but deteriorate quickly after harvest. I have tasted some which have made their way to UK and they are not great. Many also are quite full of crunchy seed which are not appealing.

Christopher Howell comments:-

‘The picture above is a mix of high altitude and lowland Passiflora species that I collected in western Venezuela in the early ’90s. Miguel Molinari & Tim Skimina from the Passiflora Society International accompanied me on the trip. The photo was originally loaned to John MacDougal at the Missouri Botanical Garden to use in the garden’s 2000 Passifloraceae poster.’

Commercial passion fruit juice production

The world market production is estimated by Passion fruit juice, a great site with plenty of information about edible passion fruit, at 640 000 metric tonnes per annum, the bulk of which is the yellow fruited P. edulis flavicarpa. Commercially available passion fruit juice is almost always P. edulis based. The purple and yellow (flavicarpa) varieties and crosses between the two are grown commercially everywhere from South America to Africa, Asia, Australia and U.S.A. The juices and indeed the fresh pulp from the fruit with or without the seeds are used worldwide in exotic tropical drinks, cocktails, cordials, liqueurs (e.g. blended with Cointreau and Cognac), chocolates, sauces, ice creams, sorbets and more. Type ‘Passion fruit recipe’ or ‘Passion fruit drink’ into Google to see what is out there. Even better buy Patrick Worley’s great Passionfruit cookbook.

Passion fruit taste characterists
Passion fruit and their juice bring their unique taste and smell, a combination of acidity and sweetness with an intense distinctive perfumed aromatic smell that almost defines the tropics. Many would say that as a group they are the best tasting fruit and juice in the world. It is a rare tropical juice mix without passion fruit juice in it, often as just a small percentage as its intensity is so great. In UK Rubicon Exotic Juice Drinks make an excellent range of exotic drinks including still and fizzy purple passion fruit juice in bottles, cartons and cans. The cartons are very widely available and are very good indeed. Unbeatable outdoors in summer.

The tastiest passion fruit?

The fruit are widely available worldwide, usually being P. edulis, purple fruit, P. edulis flavicarpa, yellow fruit or occasionally P. ligularis, orange fruit with a hard brittle shell. These all keep relatively well compared with other species. Opinions vary widely as to which are the tastiest fruit, partly this is of course subjective. If fruit are picked too early however, and are not given time to ripen fully in the sun, they can be lacking in juice and taste even if grown in ideal conditions. Many do not travel well so if they are not grown locally you will never know how good they are. Also if a plant is being grown outside its normal habitat with regard to either sunshine, day length, rainfall, temperature or soil, it may not taste as good as it should. The fruit of some edible species are shown above.

Passiflora ligularis fruit from Colombia

A tough but brittle shell with slightly unattractive grey pulp. Mark Cooper, from California, and others, report that it is one of the tastiest fruit. In UK however, where it is imported and sold in supermarkets as Granadilla or ‘Golden Passion Fruit’, it is variable & can sometimes be dull and insipid, but at its best is still very pleasant. It has a nice perfumed grape like aroma and seems far less acidic than P. edulis. Despite the hard shell it does not keep that well. It is also very expensive in UK.

Martin Murray reports that P. ligularis is farmed in Costa Rica at about 1400 metres upwards. Daytime temperature approx 30°C and nighttime 20°C. Soil wet, humidity high, and at some times of the year fed with citrus fertilizer (to increase fruit acidity and improve taste) and cattle manure. He describes the taste as very good and grape like.

P. Tripartita var. mollissima

The fruit are often described as insipid but that is probably due to species confusion with P. tarminiana fruit which are not very great. Martin Murray reports that grown in Costa Rica it has a lovely sherbert taste. The plants are being grown there outside their usual conditions under shade cloth, probably not native to Costa Rica, and so are prone to disease and are scrapped each year and fresh plants grown from seed.

Climacteric fruit
“Fruits and vegetables can be classified as climacteric or non-climacteric. Climacteric fruit continue to ripen after harvest, whereas non-climacteric do not. Ripening is a process that includes development of color, flavor and texture (softening).” Elizabeth Baldwin USDA © Cirad 2001. Passion fruit are climacteric, other examples are banana, mango, papaya, avocado, and guava. This means that the ripening process continues after abscission (when the fruit drops). Compare this with the non-climacteric strawberry, an unripe strawberry never ripens once picked too early.


I think we tend to assume that once the Passion fruit has dropped it is ripe. For some species e.g. Decaloba it may be, and for eating it may be, but if we want viable seed from it, to maximise chances of successful germination, it will do no harm to leave the fruit in a sunny window for 1-2 weeks after it has dropped. Wild collectors report that fruit picked from the vine may contain seed at different stages of ripening, including viable seed though its keeping properties are reduced. . An adaptation perhaps so that even if an animal eats the fruit early instead of waiting for it to drop some seed will still germinate. In Guam P. suberosa fruit is eaten by bats that land on the forest canopy to eat them.


I would recommend only eating ripe fruit from commercial sources like shops and markets. For more detail re toxicity, especially of the potentially dangerous unripe fruit even in edible species, . Generally the smell of cyanide and the taste will put anyone off eating the unripe fruit. In the interests of science I have carefully tasted small amounts of ripe fruit of many Passiflora species. Please do not try this yourselves. See the hybrid and species pictures section where the taste of most that have fruited will be recorded. Many like P. caerulea and any hybrids with caerulea as a parent are bland, some taste dreadful (P. kermesina) and some taste toxic (P. trisecta), perhaps safe for certain animals only. There is also a question over the safety of P. manicata fruit. It is known in Ecuador as ‘diablito’ because of its hallucinogenic properties. Read more

© Steven Foster |

Passionflower, Passiflora incarnata

Intent on reaching the swimming hole on a seething July afternoon, my attention was diverted by a loud pop under foot. Relieved by the realization that the object was vegetable rather than animal, the victim plant caught my attention again, this time by the indescribable, intricate beauty of its bloom. I had stepped on a fruit of the passionflower or maypop. Such is the memory of a New England transplant upon first encountering a maypop in the Ozarks. This fast-growing perennial vine is more widely known as passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). In the Southeast it’s also called apricot vine.

Passionflower’s Name

What design of nature or serendipitous evolutionary event could create a flower of such unusual beauty? Such radiance is beyond scientific rationale. Best to describe it in religious terms. The first Europeans to observe the plant did just that. The name is derived from flos passionis, a translation of fior della passione, a popular Italian name which was applied to the plant to signify religious symbolism. The floral structure was seen to symbolize the implements of the crucifixion—the Passion of Christ— his period of suffering following the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. The three spreading styles atop the stigma were thought to represent the three nails by which Christ was attached to the cross. The five hammer-like anthers atop of the stamens exemplify the hammers used to drive the nails, or to others, Christ’s five wounds. Beneath these floral structures is a fringe of colored filaments, known as the corona. It was believed to depict a halo or perhaps the crown of thorns. Beneath it sits the corolla—with ten petals, each representing the ten apostles at the Crucifixion— save Peter and Judas. Some early missionaries envisioned that the bell-shaped, unopened or recently closed flower held these sacred symbols from the view of heathens who had not yet been converted to Christianity. If that’s not enough, the lobed leaves and long green vines further represent the hands and whips of Christ’s prosecutors. And so, both the common and Latin names—passionflower (Passiflora)—speak of these mysteries. Thomas Johnson editor of the 1633 edition of Gerarde’s Herball described these notions for what they were: “The Spanish Friers for some imaginarie resemblances in the floure, first called it Flos Passionis, The Passion floure, and in a counterfeit figure, by adding what was wanting, they made it as it were an Epitome of our Saviors passion. Thus superstitious persons semper sibi somnia fingunt” . The species name of passionflower “incarnata” means “made of flesh or flesh-colored.” Maypop, of course, refers to the fruits, the shape and size of a hen’s egg, which open with a resounding pop when squeezed.

Passiflora incarnata, Passionflower, or Maypop. Passionflower is variously wildflower, weed, ornamental perennial, delectable edible, or medicinal herb. The fruits, “maypops”, are edible. The whole above ground plant is considered a mild nerve sedative and a sleep aid. When tension, restlessness and irritability result in difficulty in falling asleep, passionflower is an herbal remedy of choice.

Passionflower Diversity

Depending upon your perspective passionflower is wildflower, weed, ornamental perennial, delectable edible, or medicinal herb. The flowers of one hybrid P. x alatocaerulea (a cultivated hybrid between P. alata and P. caerulea) are used in perfumery. That covers all the bases of the definition of an herb— any plant or plant part used for culinary, fragrant or medicinal purposes. Therefore, it deserves a place in herb gardens. Here we will primarily focus on the common maypop, wild passionflower, or apricot vine (P. incarnata) the only native species that is hardy and can be widely cultivated in much of the U.S.

Yellow Passionflower, Passiflora lutea one of the most diminutive of all passionflowers, with blooms barely reaching 2cm in diameter. It occurs from Pennsylvania to Florida, west to Texas, northward to Illinois.

The passionflower (P. incarnata) is an herbaceous perennial, trailing or climbing, with tendrils. The white to blue purple flowers are up to three inches across. It occurs in waste ground, along fence rows, roadsides, and fields from Pennsylvania to southern Florida, west to east Texas and north to southern Missouri, and Ohio. In the United States we have about 25 native or naturalized species of Passiflora, but only the passionflower and its diminutive relative wild yellow passionflower (P. lutea), with tiny yellow flowers about an inch across, are hardy natives. Wild yellow passionflower is rarely grown in gardens.

The genus Passiflora, with only a handful of temperate species, explodes in diversity in the American tropics with about 500 species. An additional 20 species occur in Indomalaysia and the south Pacific islands. Some have edible fruits. Others do not. About 30 species of passionflower have edible fruits. At least 40 species and numerous cultivated varieties are found in American gardens, primarily in warmer areas.

Passiflora edulis, passion fruit, passionfruit is used as a commercial source of passionfruit beverages in the tropics. Since the fruits have poor keeping qualities they are seldom seen outside of local tropical markets. A folk remedy for insomnia, neuralgia, muscle spasms and epilepsy. Juice considered a digestive aid.

The undisputed edible king of passionflowers is passionfruit or purple granadilla (Passiflora edulis) which is cultivated for its edible fruits and juice. It is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. A large passionfruit industry in Brazil grows purple-fruited forms for the fruits, while yellow-fruited cultivated forms are used for juice extraction. Passionfruit is grown commercially in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and other tropical regions. It was introduced into Hawaii in the 1880s, where it became a popular home garden flower and fruit on the islands. By the 1930s it had become wild on every island in the archipelago. Commercial cultivation operations are also found in Kenya, South Africa, India, Pacific islands, and other tropical regions where it thrives. According to Arthur O. Tucker passionfruit has proven hardy in protected situations as far north as Ontario. If you do buy seeds or plants of this species and don’t live in a subtropical area, you will probably want to bring it indoors for the winter. The vast majority of scientific references to Passiflora species refer to the passionfruit and its many cultivars and hybrids. Much of the research has focused on attempting to unlock the unusually complex, sweet, delicate-perfume flavor of the fruits.

Other passionflowers are grown as subtropical food plants as well. The tropical American species running pop (P. foetida), now a weed in the old world tropics, is grown for its fruit, as is the banana passionfruit (P. mollissima). Yellow granadilla, or water lemon (P. laurifolia), also known as Jamaica honeysuckle, is a commercial fruit crop. Its name does not derive from any resemblance to honeysuckle (Lonicera species) but from the fact that the fruits are eaten by sucking out the pulp from the rose-scented fruit. Sweet calabash (P. maliformis) is grown to produce grape-flavored juice. Giant granadilla (P. quadrangularis) sports a large fruit about eight inches long which is eaten as a vegetable. Individual fruits of cultivated varieties of giant granadilla may weigh as much as several pounds. When still green the rind is boiled and eaten as a vegetable. If ripe, it is eaten iced (with sugar) or the fruit-wall may be candied. Members of the genus Passiflora hybridize readily and have produced numerous cultivated hybrids, primarily grown in the tropics for fruit production.

Passiflora vitifolia, Grapeleaved Passionflower, Crimson Passionflower is a showy native to Central America. The berry-like fruit is sour, then slowly ripens over a month a flavor likened to sour strawberries.

Other passionflowers such as red-flowered species P. vitifolia which sports crimson red flowers, or blue passionflower (P. caerulea) are grown as ornamentals. They do not produce edible fruits. Some cultivars of the blue passionflower such as ‘Constance Elliot’ which sports white flowers, are reported to be hardy in protected situations as far north as central Delaware. The tender ornamental passionflowers can be grown as annuals, taking cuttings in late summer rooting them before the first frost, or growing them in a large container to winter it over.

Native to Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, Passiflora caerulea, is one of three semi-hardy species of passionflowers, and is widely cultivated as a window box plant or gardens in southern Europe, surviving temperatures of -15°C. It was cultivated in France as early as 1625, and first documented in London in 1629. Today it is one of the most widely-grown passionflowers in horticulture, and source of many hybrids. These photos were taken in a garden in Podgorica, Montenegro.

Growing Passionflower

Subtropical edible or ornamental passionflowers are primarily relegated to the realm of the specialized collector, or those who have access to a greenhouse. But the passionflower (P. incarnata) can be grown by most herb gardeners. While passionflower is commonly regarded as a southern plant, it will grow as far north as the Boston area, and I suspect, if placed in a well-protected situation and mulched through the winter, it would even survive as a perennial in central Maine. Here in the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks, the native passionflower withstands temperatures of -25° F. without any protection. When purchasing seeds or plants it’s probably a good idea to at least inquire where the plant material originated, if the seller knows. Passionflower seeds or plants from south Florida are probably likely to survive in New England, than plants originating from more northerly areas. While dying back to the ground each year, it makes a marvelous fast-growing climbing cover for a fence, or can be trained on a trellis as a focal point for the herb garden. In the South it will grow 20—30 ft. in a single season. In more northerly areas, expect a growth of about 15 feet in a season. Passionflower grows in waste places, thriving in relatively poor, sandy, acidic soils. Good drainage is essential. Full sun is necessary.

Passiflora incarnata, Passionflower herb production in Guatemala

Propagation is by seeds, cuttings, or layering. Cuttings about six inches in length can be taken from mature plants, then rooted in sand. Maypop grows readily from seed—if one has patience. After harvesting the fruits, clean out the seeds from the mucilaginous fleshy aril surrounding them, then plant immediately. They may germinate late in the summer, or may sit dormant until the following spring. The experience of many who try passionflower from seed for the first time is disappointment, born of expectations that the seeds will germinate in a couple of weeks. Wait a year if you have to. The result of your patience and suspense will be worth it a few years later.

Propagation by layering can be achieved simply by removing the leaves from a small section of a stem in late summer, placing a portion beneath the soil, with a leafy end sticking out of the ground. Water well, and in a few weeks, the buried stem should produce roots. But wait. Keep the layer in the ground through the dormant months, allowing it to develop a full root system before transplanting. The layered cutting can be severed from the mother plant and placed in a new location. With a little luck and persistence, you will soon have your own passionflower planting. Of course, the easiest technique is simply to buy plants from a nursery. Young plants are often slow-growing, taking two or three years to establish. After that, watch out—it can entangle everything else in your perennial beds.

Passionflower as Food

In his “Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf” John Muir speaks of the apricot vine (maypop) has having a superb flower “and the most delicious fruit I have ever eaten.” If you grow passionflower, you must taste the fruits. The fruits of the passionflower ripen from yellowish to light brown in color. The slimy aril covering the seeds is very sweet and fruity when ripe. The hard seeds can be separated from the pulp through a sieve or apple sauce strainer. Or if you are in the garden, you can pop open the ripe fruit and suck the delicious pulp from the fruit. Make sure that the fruit is not over-ripe. Perfectly ripe fruits are delicious . Over-ripe fruits ferment into a foul paste.

Passionflower, Passiflora incarnata

At the annual funding-raising auction of the Arkansas Native Plant Society a few years ago, I was the fortunate high bidder on two jars of maypop jelly. I know of no other native fruit whose flavor is best described as “indescribable.” The best maypop jam recipe can be found in Billy Joe Tatum’s Wildfoods Field Guide and Cookbook (Workman Publishing Co., Inc., New York 1976). Billy Joe’s book, which transformed wild edible from the realm of survival food to haute cuisine, also contains a delicious recipe for maypop punch, and maypop ice, a cool refreshing beverage with juiced maypops and pineapple sherbet. To make 10 half-pint jars of maypop jam, she combines 5 cups of gently rinsed maypops, with a 1/2 cup of lemon juice, one box of powdered pectin and 7 1/2 cups of sugar. Enough water is added to barely cover the fruit. Standard procedures for making jam are followed.

Passionflower was a minor food item of American Indian groups in the Southeastern U.S. Archaeological evidence shows that maypop seeds could be found at Indian camp sites over 5000 years old. Seventeenth century visitors to Virginia such as the Englishman William Starchey observed the harvesting of fruits from corn fields. Calling it maracock, Starchey described it as “of the bigness of a green apple, and hath manie azurine or blew kernells, like as a pomegranat, a good sommer cooling fruit.” It is unclear whether native groups intentionally planted the passionflower as a crop or whether it simply occurred naturally on the disturbed ground at the edge of the plot. It is clear, however, that native groups of the Southeast enjoyed this late summer fruit for many centuries.

Passionflower as Medicine

Passionflower, Passiflora incarnata

Passionflower never became an important medicinal plant in the U.S. Like many American medicinal plants, however, it is more highly revered in modern Europe than in its native land. In the second volume of his 1830 Medical Flora or Manual of Medical Botany of the United States the naturalist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque makes one of the earliest reference to medicinal use. He recommends a syrup of the fruits as a cooling agent for fevers. The leaves, he says are used externally, and the juice given to dogs to cure the “staggers or epilepsy.” This use was first recorded in 1787 by a German surgeon, Johann David Schoepf, who served with Hessian mercenaries siding with the British during the Revolutionary War.

In Europe, passionflower products are used as mild nerve sedatives and a sleep aid. The introduction of this medicinal use is credited to Dr. L. Phares of Mississippi who in an 1840 issue of the New Orleans Medical Journal, recorded its use. Remaining an obscure reference in the literature, Dr. I.J.M. Goss of Atlanta reintroduced passionflower into Eclectic medical practice in the late nineteenth century.

Dr. E. D. Stapleton writing in a 1904 issue of the Detroit Medical Journal summed up his experience in using passionflower tincture to treat insomnia “I would say that its action is best obtained in cases of nervousness due to causes other than pain-that it is slow in acting because it is not a narcotic, but a nervine and sedative. It relieves irritation of the nerve-centers and improves sympathetic innervation, thus improving circulation and nutrition, and is as a rule sure in its results-no bad after-effects, no habits formed”.

In the eighteenth edition of King’s American Dispensatory (1898), authors H.W. Felter and J.U. Lloyd characterize its action. “Its force is exerted chiefly upon the nervous system, the remedy finding a wide application in spasmodic disorders and as a rest-producing agent. . . It is specially useful to allay restlessness and overcome wakefulness, when these are the result of exhaustion, or the nervous excitement of debility. It proves specially useful in the insomnia of infants and old people. It gives sleep to those who are laboring under the effects of mental worry of from mental overwork.” Sounds like I need some myself.

Yellow Passionflower, Passiflora lutea, with fruits the size of a pea. It occurs from Pennsylvania to Florida, west to Texas, northward to Illinois. Although yellow wild passionflower is very rarely mentioned in the medicinal plant literature, in 1840 Dr. L. Phares of Mississippi is said to have used this small North American vine interchangeably with the common passionflower.

It is interesting to note that while yellow wild passionflower (P. lutea) is very rarely mentioned in the medicinal plant literature, Dr. Phares of Mississippi is said to have used this small North American vine interchangeably with the common passionflower. I have made a tincture (alcohol extract) of both plants. They have a very similar flavor and fragrance. The fruits are decidedly different, though. Those of P. lutea are globular black berries, about 1/4 inch across. They have a much more acidic flavor than maypop.

Herbal Medicine Past and Present by John K Crellin and Jane Philpott (Duke University Press 1990) is based on extensive interviews over a seven year period with an Alabama herbalist, Tommie Bass. Bass, quoted in the text says, “Its the most wonderful sleep and pacifying plant, valuable for a nerve medicine . . . Any good sleeping medicine has passion-flower in it.”

Today the American passionflower is used in a number of proprietary phytomedicines (plant medicines) in Europe, used for “conditions of nervous anxiety.” A dosage of 4-8 g. of the herb per day in infusion (tea) or other methods of preparation such as equivalent extracts for internal use. Products are made from the fresh or dried whole plant (excluding the root). It is usually collected at flowering time. It is also widely used as a sleep aid. The fresh or dried whole plant as well as their preparations are also used in daily dosages equivalent to 0.5 to 2 g. of the herb, or 2.5 g in tea (about a teaspoon of the dried, ground herb). Preparations include tea, tinctures, fluid extracts, solid extracts, and even sedative chewing gums. Passionflower is also combined with valerian and hawthorn in products used in Europe to treat digestive spasms, gastritis, and colitis.

Like many medicinal herbs, the exact chemical components responsible for the plant’s sedative activity have not been definitively identified. Researchers have found small amounts of components known as harmala-type alkaloids in the plant, as well as compounds called flavonoids. In Germany, passionflower preparations were regulated to contain no more than 0.01 percent of harman alkaloids. Some believe the flavonoids to be active compounds. Still other researchers believe that substances known as maltol and ethyl-maltol may be responsible for the sleep-inducing and muscle relaxant activity attributed to passionflower. Generally it is believed that the sedative effect is probably a result of an interaction between the alkaloids and flavonoids found in the extract.

While the active constituents and mechanism of action of passionflower requires more studies, various studies confirm a sedative effect on the central nervous systems. The degrees of effect is dependent upon dose. Extracts of the herb inhibit fungi and bacteria. Studies indicate that the herb (or its extracts) relieves spasms, has a sedative effect, allays anxiety, and lowers blood pressure. The experience of numerous medical practitioners and herbalists in Western herbal traditions generally confirm the plant’s safety and efficacy.

Most of the supply of dried passionflower leaves either cultivated or wild-harvested in the U.S. goes to the European market. Farmers treat it as a weed in the South. USDA scientists focus on developing it as a new fruit crop for the U.S. Gardening enthusiasts appreciate the passionflower and subtropical passionflowers for their fantastic, colorful floral assemblage. Wild food enthusiasts, delight in its delicate, delectable flavor. And if you are a herb gardener, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy adding passionflowers to your herbary.

Yellow Passionflower, Passiflora lutea, a member of the Passifloraceae or passionflower family, a predominantly Neotropical American plant group of about 500 species, with three temperate North American representatives including, Passiflora lutea.

ESCOP. 1997. Passiflora herba. In ESCOP Monographs on the Medicinal Use of Plant Drugs. vol. 4. Exeter, UK: ESCOP Secretariat.

Foster, S.1991. “The Passionflowers.” The Herb Companion (August/September): 18-23.

Foster S. 1993. Herbal Renaissance: Growing, Using and Understanding Herbs in the Modern World. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith.

Foster, S. and J. A. Duke. 2014. Peterson Field Guide To Medicinal Plants: Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Co.

Gremillion, K. J. 1989. The Development of a Mutualistic Relationship Between Humans and Maypops (Passiflora incarnata L.) in the Southeastern United States. Journal of Ethnobiology. 9(2):135-158.

Hoch, J. H. 1934. The Legend and History of Passiflora. American Journal of Pharmacy. (May): 166-170.

Krellin, J.K. and J. P{hilpott. 1990. Herbal Medicine Passt and Present. 2 vols. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Mabberley DJ. 2008. Mabberley’s Plant-Book. Third Edition ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

McGuire, C.M. 1999. Passiflora incarnata (Passifloraceae): A New Fruit Crop. Economic Botany 53(2):161-176.

Olin, B. R., ed. 1989. “Passion Flower.” The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. (May):1-2.

Speroni, E., and A. Minghetti.1998 Neuropharmacological Activity of Extracts from Passiflora incarnata. Planta Medica 54: 488-491.

Ulmer T, MacDougal JM. 2004. Passiflora: Passionflowers of the World. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.

Vanderplank J. 1991. Passion Flowers (and Passion Fruit). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Weiss, R.F. 1988. Herbal Medicine (translated from German by A.R. Meuss). Beaconsfield, England: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd.


There are over 50 varieties of passionfruit vine including Banana, Hawaiian, Norfolk Island, Yellow Giant, Panama Gold, Panama Red and Nellie Kelly. Cultivars can differ in cold tolerance, so always check the label before buying. The kind you’ll most commonly find in Aussie backyards is the Nellie Kelly – a cultivar that has been bred to withstand cooler temperatures and resist pests and diseases. In more tropical regions, Panamas grow best.


Passionfruit vines are versatile but are best suited to subtropical and temperate climates, provided there is protection from frost when young.


Position your passionfruit vine in full sun with protection from strong winds. In colder climates, choose a spot in front of north facing wall to utilise to radiated heat.

Passionfruit vines grow extensive root systems so ensure the spot you choose to plant has plenty of space, free from weeds, competing plants and grass. They will also spread up to 10 metres squared so choose or build a structure that can accomodate it. Passionfruit vines can be trained to grow along your fence, on a trellis or over an arbour, just install some wire or mesh to support its tendrils.


The best soil for passionfruit vines is rich in organic matter and well-drained with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.

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The best time to plant a passionfruit vine is in the spring season. Before planting, prepare your soil by incorporating compost and chicken manure to an area around one to two metres wide. Dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball, gently tease the roots, plant the vine and water well. Mulch around the base with sugarcane, bark chips or pea straw, but don’t let it build up around the stem.

Passionfruit vines can also be grown in large pots as long as they have an adequate support structure.


Passionfruit vines require regular watering, especially when the vine is young and when it’s flowering and fruiting. Water deeply a couple of times a week, depending on weather conditions and climate. Remember to spread your watering over the entire root system, not just around the stem of the vine.


Feed your passionfruit vine with well-watered-in citrus food or a chicken manure twice a year, in spring and autumn. Ensure you spread the fertiliser over the entire root system. Avoid over-feeding or using fertilisers that are high in nitrogen, this will encourage leaf growth at the expense of flowers and fruits.


Flowers usually appear in mid-spring before fruiting in early summer. Your first fruit will appear around six to eight months after planting but have patience – the best crop will come in around 18 months. Passionfruits need to fully ripen on the vine and will drop off when they’re ready to eat. They can also be picked off the vine when their colour is fully developed and come away from the vine easily.

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The best time to prune a passionfruit vine is in late winter or early spring. Cutting the vine back by about a third will encourage vigorous growth and more fruit.


The passionfruit vine can be propagated from cuttings but is best grown from seed.


Not fruiting: A common complaint of passionfruit growers is a lack of fruit. There are a number of factors that could be to blame, but poor pollination is the most common. The essential work of bees can be impacted by changes in weather such as consistent, heavy rain, and fluctuating temperatures. Over-fertilization can also cause your vine to grow but without flowers and fruit.

Fruit dropping: If your passionfruit is fruiting but the goods are dropping off the vine, it could be due to irregular watering, fungal diseases or fruit flies.

Yellow leaves: Wondering why your passionfruit leaves are going yellow? The most common cause is woodiness virus, but it could also be down to magnesium or nitrogen deficiency, or “winter yellows” brought on by cold, windy weather.

Spots: If you’re noticing spots on your vine’s leaves and fruit, it’s most likely due to fungal diseases such as alternata spot or brown spot.

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Passionfruit Growing Guide

The summer favourite of passionfruit grows well in the warmest parts of New Zealand. The climbing vine and striking flowers make it an attractive (and delicious!) addition to the garden.

Passionfruit is a vigorous, climbing vine that clings by curly tendrils to almost any support. It can grow very quickly under good conditions – up to six metres in one year. The evergreen leaves of the vine provide a shelter for the fragrant exotic looking white and purple flowers that appear on the new growth.

Passionfruit flowers are a striking flower with a prominent central structure designed to attract pollinating insects. The fruit are small and round with a tough rind that is smooth and waxy. The colour of the rind ranges from purple to yellow and orange. This protective exterior hold ups to 200 small, dark seeds. The unique flavour is a combination of tangy, musky, sweet and tart that is popular in desserts!


Plant vines in full sun except in very hot areas, where partial shade is preferable. The vines grow in many soil types, but light to heavy sandy loams, pH 6.5-7.5, are the most suitable. Passionfruit require excellent drainage and the soil should be rich in organic matter. Dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and compost to your soil before planting. If the soil is too acidic, apply Tui Lime.

The purple passionfruit is subtropical and therefore prefers a frost-free climate. The vines may lose some leaves in the cool winters. Passionfruit will grow well in containers but require a structure to support the vine.

Top varieties for the home garden:

Black Beauty – flowers are white and purple and fruit is egg shaped, dark purple with juicy yellow-orange pulp filled with small black seeds. Black Beauty is self fertile and can grow 1.5-7 metres per year once established. Fruit changes from green to dark purple when ready and is harvested from March to June.

Giant Granadilla – the very large, showy red, purple and white flowers are fragrant and hang from the vine because of their weight. Oval 30cm fruit turns a rich golden green with a fruity aroma when ripe, in summer to late autumn. A vigorous evergreen vine with deep green leaves, it can grow 17m in a single season. Self fertile and insect pollinated, however hand pollination can increase fruit set.

Sweet Granadilla – has a very attractive white and purple flowers followed by large, round orange fruit. The pulp is delicious and juicy. A self fertile variety that is fast growing.

Red Banana (sometimes called Vanilla) – large, red flowers followed by oblong yellow fruit and sweet, juicy, aromatic pulp. Red Banana needs a long, warm summer to ripen. Hand pollination will help with fruit set. Closely related to the banana passionfruit, but not as vigorous.

Banana passionfruit is classed as a noxious weed, so is not recommended to grow in the home garden.


Plant passionfruit between mid-spring and mid-summer, or even later in very favourable conditions. Plant vines next to a sheltered wall, trellis, or deck sheltered from the wind. If planting more than one, space vines no less than two metres apart. Passionfruit vines can fruit about 18 months after the vine has been planted.

Check plant labels for individual planting instructions. The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away.

Planting passionfruit in the garden:

  • Dig a hole approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant and partly fill with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant.
  • Place the plant in the hole, and fill in with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix, ensuring the plant is no deeper than it was in the container or bag.

Planting passionfruit in pots and containers:

  • Partly fill with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix, and tap on the ground to settle the mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant.
  • Place your plant in the pot, and fill in with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix, ensuring the tree is no deeper than it was in the container or bag.


Feed your plants and they will feed you. Replenishing nutrients used by your passionfruit ensures they will grow to their full potential. When temperatures warm up in spring start feeding passionfruit with a fertiliser rich in potassium (potash) such as Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser for optimum flowering and fruiting. Feed during the warm months of the growing season – spring and summer.

Regular watering will keep a vine flowering and fruiting well. Water requirement is high when fruit are approaching maturity. During a dry summer, deep watering is required. If the soil is dry fruit may shrivel and fall early.

Tui Tips

  • In spring when the risk of frost has passed remove weak or dead growth, reduce vigorous shoots by about one third and thin out overcrowded growth and vines that are growing where you don’t want them. Pruning will ensure the vine is vigorous and produces fruit.
  • Mulch around passionfruit with Tui Mulch & Feed to conserve water, replenish nutrients and suppress weeds.
  • Fruit ripens during mid summer-autumn. The fruit will take two to three months to ripen. You know fruit is ripe when its dark purple and you can gently shake tree and fruit falls off.
  • Harvest in the morning before sun can burn fruit.
  • Poor weather can affect pollination of passionfruit. Plant a variety of flowers to attract pollinating insects or hand pollinate the flowers.

After recipe inspiration? Try Janine’s tasty Passionfruit and Coconut Tart here >

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