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Keeping Passionfruit

Passionfruit are actually the best, ever. Our neighbour had a vine over an arch near her chicken coop when we were growing up. I visited often.

I purchased a Nellie Kelly vine from Bunnings, and then left it in its pot for about four weeks or so while I sorted the garden beds out. Plenty of water and some food from the worm farm kept it healthy and thriving and I made sure I planted before it became root bound.

I planted mine with a bit more clay and some horse poo underneath. The clay will help keep its feet moist, while the horse poo is an excellent source of nitrogen to help its leaves develop before the summer heat hits.

Don’t over do the nitrogen though or you’ll get too many leaves. Not such a problem you might think, back it off after its established. Sometimes if you have too much nitrogen, the plant doesn’t develop properly, so while you have great big green leaves all over the place, the plant isn’t able to move things around because it hasn’t developed it’s vascular system properly.

Nellie Kelly are grown on a hardy root stock that is more resistant to disease and tempertature to keep the top thriving and fruitful. Beware though, this can easily take over if you don’t cut off the suckers that come from the bottom.

Never, ever pull these off. You will lose your lovely fruiting vine to the hardy ruit stock with dry and sour fruit. Always use a sharp blade and cut straight through level with the stem. You can paint it with some nail polish to blind the area if you don’t think you cut it cleanly. If you don’t cut it cleanly, you’ll end up with ten more shoots of the rootstock. And it will become harder to maintain.

The root stock will be quite woody, you can see where your passionfruit starts as it is much greener on he stem. The rootstock has been cut into a narrow V and the new plant grafted in the middle.

By paying a little bit of extra attention to the vine early on, you’ll develop a healthy fruiting vine in no time at all.. or so I’m told.

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