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Passion fruit, photo courtesy of Susanne Kischnick/Alamy
Passion fruit, photo courtesy of Susanne Kischnick/Alamy

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Zone
Zones 15-17, 21-24, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Passiflora edulis

Passifloraceae
Evergreen, Edible fruit, Vines, Semi-evergreen, Flowers

Known botanically as Passifloraedulis, this vigorous South American native climbs by tendrils to 20–30 ft. Light yellow-green leaves are divided into three lobes. Blooms duringwarm weather, bearing white,2–3-in.-wide flowers with white-and- purple crown (for more onflower form, see Passiflora). Fragrant, roundish fruit 1 1/2–3 in. wide ripens mainly in summer and fall; at maturity, waxy rind turns from green to deep purple, and fruit falls from the vine. Pick the fruit when it turns color or gather it from the ground every few days. The orange pulp has an exotic, citrus-like flavor; use it for juice or cut fruit in half and eat pulp, seeds and all, with a spoon. There is a form with larger, more acidic, yellow-skinnedfruit.

Sweet-fruited hybrids that have good-size fruit include red-skinned ‘Red Rover’ and ‘Frederick’, and purple-skinned ‘Edgehill’ (particularly good in Southern California) and ‘Kahuna’. All are semievergreen in colder part of range. Plants are often short-lived. This plant has naturalized in Hawaii and become a serious pest there.

Grow in well-drained, well-amended soil; give wind protection. Train on trellis or wall to show off flowers. Withhold water during cold months. Prune yearly after harvest: thin out excess stems by cutting them to the ground, and cut back vigorous growth by a third.

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