The banana passionfruit, or curuba, a close relative of the common passion fruit, is a longer, thinner, yellow version of its cousin but some believe is even sweeter in taste. Passionfruit vines in general require long, hot summers to produce fruit--and this variety especially likes higher altitudes and warmer, humid air--but even if you're in a cooler environment, it is still worth growing for the flowers. Growing passionfruit from seed is fairly easy and definitely rewarding, with both fruits and beautiful flowers on a vine that grows very quickly.
Things You'll Need
- Nutrient-rich seed-raising mix
- Peat pots or well-draining containers
- Heating pad
Soak dry seeds in water for two hours to overnight before sowing. If you want to use fresh seeds from a banana passionfruit, it is best to do so as soon after harvesting them from an over-ripe fruit as possible.
Plant seeds in a nutrient-rich seed-raising mix, either in peat pots or in very well-draining containers. Cover with just a half inch of soil and water them well.
Put seeded pots in a warm, semi-sunny spot to germinate and check on them every couple days to make sure the soil is moist (but never soaking). Seeds that have been planted fresh from fruit will germinate in 10 to 24 days. Dried seeds can take several weeks to germinate.
Place a heating pad underneath a tray with the seeded pots and bottom-heat the seedlings in order to speed up the germination process. For dry seeds, this can help reduce the germination time from 10 weeks to just two or three.
Transplant seedlings outside or to a larger container when they are three months old or 10-inches high. If taller, Homely Capers suggests the tops of the plants should be cut back and the plants watered heavily. Plant in well-nourished, well-draining soil. Choose a sunny location unless you are in a very warm environment.
Tips & Warnings
- Once planted, the banana passionfruit plant needs regular watering and fertilization in order to keep the vine thriving. The first crop will be produced in two years.
- Passionfruit vines aren't hardy to cold winters (they don't temper well below 28 degrees F), but if you grow them in containers you can weather through frosts by bringing them indoors and storing them in a cool basement or mudroom.
- According to Purdue University's NEWcrop, an annual yield in Colombia is up to 300 fruits per vine, though in India it is 50. The individual fruits range from 2 to 5 1/2 ounces each. So if you don't have the space or need for this quantity, prune your vine, which actually helps improve airflow, reducing disease and facilitating weeding and harvesting.
- Fruit bought at the grocery store are probably commercially grown hybrids. As a result you can't be sure of how the fruits will turn out from those seeds.
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