Passion fruit, commonly known as Granadilla or 'Krishna Phal, in India is a vine species native to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. The fruit has been named after its flower which comes from one of the hundred species of the passion flower. Passion fruit is a type of berry which is sweet-sour, highly aromatic and seedy. It has varieties from purple passion fruit to yellow and golden one and also hybrids like the Kavery. Being a tropical plant, it needs well-drained soil with a high amount of humus and neutral pH to grow. So, it is commercially cultivated in the Nilgiri hills, north-eastern areas like Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya in India.
How to grow Passion Fruit
assion fruits are a subtropical plant so it is necessary that they are planted in a position where they receive full sun. The plants should also be sheltered from frost and winds.The soil where the passion fruits are planted should be light and properly drained. In case you live in area with heavy soils, consider planting your passion fruit plants in containers. We advise adding in an excellent quality potting mix that has been formulated well for the containers where you plan on planting your passion fruits.
The ripened fruit is large, plump and a bit wrinkled. The smooth one may not be ripe. You can have passion fruit with its seeds for more fiber content.
Planting Your Passion Fruit Plant your passion fruit when all the frost has subsided. If you are living in temperate climates, the best time to plant your passion fruit would be during spring. Before you plant the passion fruit, add a slow dripping citrus fertilizer in the bottom of the hole. Make sure you firm the soil well and also water the soils well. Watering Passion Fruit Plant Passion fruit is a vigorous tropical plant that will develop an extensive network of root system but they won’t go very deep. The roots will be fairly shallow. Make sure you carry out frequent watering but without flooding the soil. Too much water is not advised for your passion fruit. Add a little water and to help in retaining the moisture, add some mulching at the root system. The watering should be done during the flowering and fruiting phase. When watering, keep the water from getting to the foliage so as to prevent the formation of fungal problems. Adding fertilisers Passion fruit plants, being vigorous, are also heavy feeders. Feed them sparingly with a slow release Citrus fertiliser. During their fruiting phase, you can also feed them with a liquid fertiliser. Training and Pruning Your Passion Fruit The passion fruit plants should be trained early on. This will allow them to create a strong framework upon which other lateral branches will sprout and bear the fruit. After planting the passion fruit vine, it is advisable to get rid of the side shoots so that you can train the main shoot or the leader towards the trellis so as to ensure excellent support.
After the growing tip has sprouted a bit, pinch out the growing tip so as to allow the sprouting of the laterals. If you live in a temperate climate, never prune during the winter. In much of South East Asia and even Australia, the best time to prune your passion fruit plants would be around October or November. During the early pruning, you are going to lose a few flowers and possibly fruits but the passion fruit plants have a very vigorous growth so they will more than make up for any losses. Fruits The passion fruit plants generally bear fruits in a very short period of time, on average 8 to 9 months. Your passion fruit plants will ripen from around mid summer. The passion fruit plants will be ripe when their skins turn to purple or yellow depending on the variety of the passion fruit plant. During the summers, consistent watering is also necessary so as to prevent the passion fruits from dropping off the plant prematurely. Less water for the plant will also lead to wrinkled fruits.
Passion Fruit Health Benefits
There is a long list of healthy benefits, essential nutrients and vitamins that passion fruit has to offer. It contains vitamin A & Vitamin C, iron, potassium, protein, flavonoids, antioxidants and fiber for a better immunity and good health. Here are five surprising benefits of passion fruit: 1. Good for diabetics Passion fruit has a low glycemic index (GI) and high fibre content (10.4%). This makes it a great fruit to maintain insulin levels for diabetics. Passion fruit are high in fiber like pectin that can make you feel full without increasing the calorie intake. 2. Younger looking skin We all know that antioxidants are good for our skin. Passion fruit has many types of antioxidants in it like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, riboflavin and carotene. These antioxidants reduce the production of free radicals in our body. Free radicals are generated by our body cells as a by-product and can cause skin aging. The anti-inflammatory properties of passion fruit tend to soothe our skin. 3. Enhances and helps build strong immunity Step up your immunity with the jelly, juice or squash of passion fruit. Passion fruit is highly rich in Vitamin C, beta-cryptoxanthin and alpha-carotene that boosts your immunity . Vitamin C stimulates white blood cells and the body’s immune defense system to protect the body from bacteria. The antioxidants flush out harmful toxins out of your body. This helps you stay away from many forms of cancers and infections.
It also has iron which increases hemoglobin our red blood cells. A single serving of passion fruit every day can offer us our daily required intake of potassium, which is an important mineral to relax the tension of blood vessels for supporting a good blood flow. Naturally, this improves the overall cardiovascular health. 4. Keeps your heart healthy The rich content of riboflavin (Vitamin B6) and niacin (Vitamin B3) in passion fruit helps in regulating the thyroid activity in our body. It also prevents hardening of the arterial walls of the heart (atherosclerosis), keeping your heart functions running smoothly. The phenolic compounds and alkaloids can also help in relieving anxiety and treating insomnia to a certain level. 5. Support Digestion Another great reason to include passion fruit in your diet is that it is a great source of fiber. Hence, it takes care of many problems that arise due to poor digestion. Each serving offers the human body with roughly 98% of its daily fiber requirement. Since it is an important component of a healthy diet, passion fruit helps to regulate your bowel movements too. It relieves constipation and scrubs excess of cholesterol from your blood vessels to prevent a large number of gastrointestinal conditions. It serves as a great laxative to keep your digestive track in good shape. 6. Prevent osteoporosis and good for bone Passion fruit is known to be rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron phosphorous, potassium and sodium. These minerals maintain bone density, help in speedy recovery of bones and prevent osteoporosis. The mineral content also promotes superior bone health and protects us against many bone disorders and medical conditions. Hence, passion fruit is important for treating inflammation and pain due to bone and joint problems such as osteoporosis. 7. May Help Fight Cancer Along with supporting the immune functions of our body, passion fruit is also a rich source of antioxidants and also has anti-inflammation compounds that helps reduce carcinogenic activity in our body. The antioxidants in passion fruit take care of free radicals in the body and eliminate them out of our system. It is proven to prevent many types of cancers, particularly lung cancer. 8. Treats many Respiratory Conditions Present research suggests it also serves as a valuable agent to cure many respiration disorders and infections. Extracts from the purple passion fruit peel are known to contain a unique mixture of bioflavonoid that possesses a sedative and soothing effect. Therefore it acts as an expectorant to treat many respiratory conditions including a persistent cough or an asthma attack. 9. Cures Insomnia Most people do not know that passion fruit is also recommended to people who have trouble sleeping . This is because the has many soothing and calming effects. It also features medicinal alkaloids that serve as powerful sedatives. This compound is known to reduce sleeplessness, restlessness and relieve anxiety to a considerable level. If you don’t have any luck with a glass of warm milk, try eating passion fruit every day to enjoy a good night’s sleep.