Rosemary Galatis of Adelaide wrote to Burke’s Backyard to say that she loved the red passionfruit plant, but that she hadn’t been able to buy one in her local area. On a recent trip to South Australia, Don visited Rosemary and presented her with a red flowering passionfruit that he’d brought all the way from Sydney. Rosemary was surprised and delighted, and promised to keep us up to date on the plant’s progress.
Red passionfruit (Passiflora coccinea) is a strong growing, evergreen climber with dark green, crinkly leaves and beautiful, scarlet red flowers. It will grow in most areas of Australia, but needs protection from frost when young.
It is grown for its large, vivid red flowers, rather than for its fruit. Plants can have flowers for much of the year but are seen at their peak in summer and autumn.
All passionfruit like a well-drained soil enriched with organic matter, such as well-rotted manure or compost. They need a warm sunny position – a north to northwesterly aspect against a masonry wall would be necessary in cooler zones. Water deeply at least once a week during warm weather and keep well mulched. Fertilise in spring with a slow release fertiliser, add well-rotted manure to the mulch and spread it around the root system. Passionfruit vines may be short-lived, however new plants of Passiflora coccinea can easily be grown from cuttings or seed.
Red passionfruit is hard to find, but your nursery should be able to order one in for you. Expect to pay around $20 for a plant in a 200mm (8″) pot.