How to grow papaws and passionfruit

Growing your own tropical fruit trees is easy than you may think. Follow these basic steps to have juicy, succulent fruit anytime you want.

How to grow papaws and passionfruit

1. Papaws

Papaws are tropical, preferring a warm, humid climate, but this short tree may be grown in temperate regions if winters are frost-free. Two trees should be planted because male and female flowers are carried on separate plants although bisexual plants may be grown alone. Its bright green leaves turn yellow-green in fall, and it produces edible fruit, eaten fresh, scooped out with a spoon. Papaw trees need good drainage and do best in light, sandy soil; if the soil is heavy, apply sand and organic matter before planting.

To propagate from seed, the fruit from a female tree will be required.

  • Transplant papaws when the seedlings are about 30 centimetres (12 inches) high, in a group of five trees, each placed two metres (6 1/2 feet) apart.
  • Once their sex has been determined, remove unwanted male trees. The young pawpaw tree will start bearing fruit at about 15 months and will continue to bear well for about five years.
  • Succession planting in groups of five ensures a continuation of fruit when older trees cease bearing.

The fruit should be allowed to ripen on the tree; in cool regions the fruit should be picked when it has begun to turn yellow, with ripening then allowed to finish in a cool, dark place.

2. Passionfruit

Passionfruit vines like a warm climate that is free of winter or early spring frosts. They are vigorous plants and are relatively easy to cultivate in a wide range of conditions, although rich, well-drained soil and plenty of liquid fertilizer produces the best results. The most common variety is the purple type, which is sold grafted onto disease-resistant rootstock. The granadilla variety is best suited to tropical climates.

Young plants should be provided with a trellis or wire support. They should be fertilized monthly using a liquid organic mix, or mulched well with rotted poultry manure. Mulch that is spread too close to the stem of the plant may lead to stem rot.

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