|A Farmer in Kenya admiring his passion fruit vines|
Proper Passionfruit farm management, is vital for passion fruit growing in Kenya. It all starts with the variety you choose to raise. Depending on your farm's locality, you can decide to plant either yellow or purple passion.
When it comes to growing yellow passion fruit, your job is simple and straightforward. All you have to do is germinate the passion fruit seeds in a nursery, transplant the plantlets in polythene tubes filled with soil, let them grow until they attain a height of 15-20 cm before you transplant them to the open field.
However, if you decide to grow purple passion fruit, you MUST first graft purple passionfruit scion on yellow passion—if you hope you have a high yielding passion farm.
Why is grafting purple passion fruit scion on yellow passion fruit a critical factor in managing your passion farm?
Purple passion fruit variety is highly susceptible to a fungal disease called fusarium wilt. This fungal disease can clear a whole farm within days. To minimize the risk of your entire farm dying of fusarium wilt and spending lots of fungicides in controlling the disease, we graft purple passion fruit on yellow rootstock. We do so because yellow passion is resistant to fusarium wilt.
Another reason why we graft purple passion on yellow passion rootstock is that the latter is hardy, drought tolerant, and vigorous. The yellow passionfruit will, therefore, pass these good traits to the purple passion scion.
If you decide to grow yellow passion fruits, you don’t need any grafting because the yellow passion plant is already resistant to drought, fusarium wilt, nematodes, and other diseases.
In brief, whether you grow yellow or purple passion, routine management your passionfruit farm comprises the following through the various growth stages of the plant.
- Trellising the plants
- Soil fertility
- Managing Pests
- Keeping the orchard clean
- Regular watering
- Managing Nutrient deficiencies
- Passionfruit fertilizer requirements.
After the choice of seedlings, the next important factor of passion fruit management is soil fertility.
The soil condition must be right to support the plant through its various stages of growth. From a young age—when the plant multiplies, maturity stage which is characterized by reproduction of flowers and fruits, vegetative growth, budding, flowering, ripening, and senescence—the soil condition must be right.
How to Manage your Passion Farm when the seedlings are at the Young vegetative stage
At the time of transplanting, your seedlings should be about 15-20 cm high. At the young vegetative stage, they passion plants need to a healthy root network, put up foliage, multiply, grow a sturdy stem to support future fruits.
Let us first start by discussing how to make your seedlings have an extensive root network.
For your passionfruit plant to have a secure network, you will need to prepare the transplanting hole correctly.
Here is how to do it.
- · Dig a hole that is 2feet wide, 2 feet long X 2 feet deep.
- · Fill the hole halfway with farmyard manure.
- · Use the soil that you've removed, to top up the hole you've just filled halfway with manure until it is three-quarter full.
- · Using your hands, or a hand trowel, mix the soil and the manure thoroughly.
- · Transplant your seedling.
- · Apply 10 grams of DAP fertilizer around the plant ensuring it does not touch the stem of the seedling to prevent fertilizer burn.
- · Fill the remaining space with the remaining soil and firming up the soil around the plant.
- · Water the passion seedling.
The purpose of the manure is to make the soil well aerated, provide nutrients, provide a room for suitable micro-organisms and room for roots to thrive.
The purpose of the DAP fertilizer is to make the nitrogen nutrients available sooner because manure releases its nutrients slowly but over an extended period compared to DAP that is fast over a short period.
Don’t forget to water the seedling regularly. The passion fruit vine cannot be able to access nutrients it needs for rapid growth if the soil is dry.
Once the seedling is well established and has new growth, you can apply about 5 grams of urea for every passion fruit plant.
In about two months of regular watering, the plant will have moved to young plant/ seedling stage to the vegetative stage.
How To Manage the Passion Plant During the Vegetative Stage.
In this phase, the plant multiplies producing side shoots and vines in preparation of flowering and fruiting. At this stage, various experts discourage the use of fertilizers rich in nitrogen because that will encourage the growth of leaves at the expense of fruits.
Because the plant will be producing many vines, it will need trellising. To maximize on passion fruit production, you ensure that you have one main stem that provides three main branches.
You will also need to apply hormones at 5-6 months to stimulate flowering.
How To Manage of Passion Plant During the Flowering Stage
The flowering stage is the most sensitive stage in a passion fruit plant. Any water and nutrient deficiencies will lead to flower abortion and eventual low yields. Likewise, any pest attack will lead to reduced production.
At this stage, you will need to apply high levels of potassium fertilizer and micronutrient fertilizers to avoid flower abortion. You will also continue to use appropriate fungicides and insecticides to prevent damage to flowers.
The most significant pest to watch at this stage is passion fruit aphid which leads to passion fruit woody virus that results in misshaped fruits.
The plant will need regular watering.
Managing Passion Fruit During The Fruiting Stage
The plant will need regular watering pest management. You will also need to protect your maturing fruits from animals like monkeys, birds, squirrels, and people who are likely to pick your mature fruits and lead to losses.
Share with us how you manage your passionfruit farm.