The granadilla vine (Passiflora edulis), also known as purple granadilla or purple passionflower, climbs with zeal in frost-free climates. The vine adds beauty to the landscape with its edible, juicy fruit and showy flowers.
Granadillas are often confused with passion fruit but there is a difference, most notably on the inside. Both fruits have edible seeds, but passion fruit seeds are black with soft, yellow pulp, whereas granadilla seeds are black but larger, with transparent, soft pulp.
What’s inside a granadilla fruit?
As the saying goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts… And this is true even when it comes to fruit.
Granadilla fruit is loaded with
- Vitamin A which supports eye and cell health
- Vitamin C which elevates immunity to colds and flu
- Fibre which enhances gut health
- Potassium which is used to establish fluid balance
These nutritious fruits have many antioxidant properties and can be used in many delicious treats. If you love cooking with fruits, jump to see our favourite granadilla recipes.
The growing guide
Preparing your soil
Granadilla fruit vines are available at Lifestyle Home Garden as healthy, young vines ready to be planted in their new soil in your garden. The best time to plant your new granadilla vine is late winter to mid-spring.
Here’s what you need to know about transferring and planting your granadilla fruit vine:
- They have a dense root system and require excellent drainage.
- Choose a location that receives full sun (or morning sun only if you live in an extremely hot area) and is protected from strong winds.
- Prepare the soil ahead of time by digging a 1m x 1m hole. Keep the space between the holes 1.5m apart if you’re planning on planting more than one vine.
- To the excavated soil, add a generous amount of compost and a handful of bone meal or organic 2:3:2 (like Wonder Plant Starter All Purpose) and agricultural lime (as specified). Refill the hole with the mixture.
Want to learn how to make your own compost? Read our guide on composting 101.
Trellising your vine
Trellising granadillas is essential for optimal growth, ripening, and harvesting due to their climbing nature.
- Suspend wires between wooden posts of 2m, similar to vine trellising, to support the main shoots of the granadillas. These shoots will wrap around the wires and posts as they grow.
- It is also possible to train granadillas to grow alongside walls, which would be useful in a home garden, but not on a farm.
- You may need to tie the main stem to the support with a soft tie at first, but once the tendrils on the shoots begin to attach themselves, you’re good to go.
- Mulch heavily to keep the roots cool and the soil moist.
Granadilla vines can reach heights of 6m and become quite heavy with their lush leaves and fruit. Check that your structure can support your vine’s weight.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you allow your granadilla fruit vine to grow against other plants or trees, it will quickly become out of control and take over.
Granadillas grow well in large pots if they have a supporting structure to which they can attach themselves. Get more information on container planting.
The caring guide
Your watering schedule
Granadillas prefer to be kept moist but dislike being waterlogged, so good drainage is essential, and clay soil is not recommended. Thorough and deep watering is especially important when the fruits are maturing. If the soil dries out during this stage, the fruit may shrivel up and fall off the plant, which is exactly what we don’t want to happen.
Find tips and advice on watering your granadilla vines and other plants.
Fertilising and feeding
Granadilla fruits grow quickly and require a lot of nutrients.
- In July/August, before the growing season begins, feed your fruit vines an 2:3:2 fertiliser like Wonder Plant Starter All Purpose or Talborne Vita Grow.
- Apply 3:1:5 fertiliser in December and 8:1:5 or 6:3:4 fertiliser in April.
- To prevent deficiencies, liquid fertiliser containing micronutrients can also be applied once a month during the active growing season.
Pruning these purple granadillas
Due to their energetic, climbing nature, granadillas require pruning to eliminate tangles and deadwood. Pruning should be done prior to the Spring season.
The granadilla vine must be pruned and trimmed when it becomes unproductive. This facilitates light and air to reach the vine’s internal layers, discourages pests and diseases, and ensures healthy new shoots.
Cut healthy shoots back by one-third to encourage new, robust growth and plentiful fruit. Granadillas only establish fruit on new growth, so pruning is key. Remember to use sharp secateurs or clippers when pruning.
Companion planting for granadillas
Passion fruit flowers can only be pollinated by insects, particularly bees. If you want to ensure that your granadilla produces high-quality fruit, plant a variety of flowers and flowering herbs around it to attract pollinating insects.
Good companions for granadilla gardens
- Swiss chard
Bad companions for granadilla gardens:
- Sweet potatoes
You may also find this care guide useful on edible gardening,
The harvesting guide
Granadilla fruit harvesting
The very first fruits should be ready to harvest after six to nine months after being planted. Your granadilla vine should produce two crops each year beginning in its second year: a copious Summer crop from November to January and a lighter cold weather crop in June and July.
- When the fruits are fully formed and dark purple in hue, pick them.
- When you lightly shake it, it should drop from the plant.
- Ripe fruits occasionally fall from the plant, making them easy to collect. Fruit wrinkles as it ages and this is when it is at its best!
- Fruits should be harvested shortly after sunrise to avoid the scorching sun of the day.
What to make with your freshly picked granadilla
This recipe makes about 750 ml
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of passion fruit pulp (about 500g of whole fruit)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, then allow it to cool. Pour the cordial into a sterile bottle and serve in a tall glass with loads of ice, soda water, and fresh mint.
Makes about 2 cups
- 6 large eggs
- 120g butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of passion fruit pulp (strained or whole)
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the juice, butter, and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches boiling point. Allow cooling slightly after removing from the heat (about 5 minutes).
While whisking constantly, pour about 1/4 of the warm liquid into the egg mixture while whisking until the eggs are fluffy. This aids in tempering the mixture and keeping the eggs from curdling. Then combine it with the rest of the warm juice.
Return everything to the heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. Allow it to cool in the pot, which thickens it even more, before transferring it to a sterile jar and storing it in the fridge.
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Lifestyle’s top tips for growing granadilla fruits
Granadilla vines require strong assistance in the form of a trellis, fence, wall, arch, or gazebo to grow up against due to their strong and tenacious growth habits.
If you live in a hot climate, plant them where they will get the most morning sun and will be protected from the harsh midday heat. In extremely cold climates, they should be found growing in a warm, sheltered location, such as next to a sunny wall.
In regions with extremely cold winters, granadillas may go dormant. It should, however, return in the spring to provide you with cool shade as well as an abundance of passion fruits.
Read: Your Winter Garden
Granadillas generally live for three years, but they can live longer if properly cared for. Keep an eye on the old plant and if it seems to be declining or the fruiting has decreased drastically, it probably needs to be replaced with a new one.