Passiflora edulis, commonly called purple passion fruit, is a shallow-rooted, tendril-climbing, evergreen vine that typically grows to 10-15’ long and to 3-5’ wide and produces extremely showy bowl-shaped fragrant purple-white passion flowers (each to 3” wide) followed by edible, ovoid, purple passion fruits (to 2" across). Purple passion fruit is native to Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, but is now grown in tropical and subtropical climates throughout the world. This vine clings to supports by coiled tendrils. Individual flowers bloom for one day. Each flower has 5 greenish-white sepals, 5 white petals and a decorative corona of white filaments which are showy purple at the bases. In Florida, the purple-white flowers begin blooming in early spring with the passion fruits typically ripening about 80 days after flowering occurs (from late May to July). Each fruit has a rough rind with as many as 250 tiny seeds inside, each seed being surrounded by an orange sac containing juice.
Ripe fruits are edible off the vine or incorporated into a variety of food products such as beverages, jellies, fruit salads and sherbets. Three-lobed evergreen leaves (to 3-8" long) are finely-toothed, deep green and glossy above but dull green below. Young stems are tinged with red or purple. Glossy, three-lobed leaves (3-5" long) with serrate margins have two small glands on the stalks.
Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where plants are best grown in moist, fertile, well-drained, sandy loams in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best flowering occurs in full sun. Outdoor plants in some climates flower most of the year, but flowering tends to decrease in winter with the onset of shorter days. For containers, use a well-drained, peaty-humusy potting mix. Containers need a support on which the vine can grow. Place containers outdoors in full sun after last spring frost date. This flowering vine appreciates high humidity. It also requires good air circulation to discourage fungal diseases. Water evenly and consistently during the growing season. Vines produce flowers on new growth, so they may be pruned as needed early in the growing season. Bring vines indoors before first fall frost date. Reduce watering somewhat from fall to late winter. Purple passion fruit may be grown indoors year round as a houseplant in a sunroom or in a sunny south-facing window.
The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout.
- To scarify the seeds, sand the seed coat lightly with sandpaper.
- Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours.
- Plant the seeds ½ to 1 inch deep in moist, well-drained potting soil.
- Keep the seeds warm. The seeds have a better germination rate in temperatures between 70 to 85 degrees F.
- Water the seeds.
- Fertilize the plants when they have several leaves and then fertilize them every few weeks during the growing season.