While traditionally grown in Queensland and northern New South Wales, the creation of new varieties means passionfruit can now be grown across many parts of Australia.
In this guide, we cover how to know when the perfect time is to harvest this delicious fruit from the vine.
Australian passionfruit varieties
The most common backyard passionfruit variety in Australia is the Nellie Kelly (Passiflora edulis), which can be grown in temperate climates.
It’s a prolific producer and is bred to withstand cooler temperatures than other varieties and is less susceptible to frosts, disease, and pests.
Panama is another popular variety, which grows best in tropical regions.
For commercial growers, varieties include 23-E, Lacey Purple Gold, Misty Gems, and Sweethearts.
When will a passionfruit vine produce fruit?
Passionfruit flowers usually appear in mid-spring, followed by fruiting in early summer.
After planting, passionfruit vines take anywhere from 5 – 18 months to produce fruit, but they usually fruit within a year.
When to pick passionfruit
Purple varieties like Nellie Kelly will drop off the vine when they are ripe. Keep in mind that the dropped fruit won’t fare well in the sun so you’ll want to keep a close eye on your vine while the fruit is ripening.
You can also pick them if they have changed colour to a deep purple they easily come off the vine.
Nellie Kellie passionfruit can take a bit longer to fully ripen than other varieties and will become sweeter if you allow it to stay on the vine into Summer so that it fully ripens.
Panama passionfruit is best picked when its colour has deepened and they come off the vine easily.
To remove fruit from the vine, give it a gentle twist and it should come away easily.
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When are passionfruit ripe?
With purple varieties of passion fruit, the skin turning from green to dark purple or the skin wrinkling are both signs it is ready to be eaten.
The passionfruit will be plump but with a slight give in them when they’re ready to come off the vine.
If you cut one open, it will have a tough outer rind with a sweet-tasting pulp inside consisting of seeds and juice. There may be a slightly tart flavour but it shouldn’t be sour.
Do passionfruit need to ripen on the vine?
Green, unripe passionfruit won’t ripen fully off the vine, so it’s not a good idea to pick your fruit before it changes colour.
However, if you allow the purple fruits to sit for a few days after falling or being picked from the vine, the ripe fruit will develop a sweeter flavour.
How long does a passionfruit take to ripen?
As a general rule, varieties that are bred for cooler climates will take longer to ripen.
So, while the Sweetheart variety of passionfruit usually takes 2 to 3 months to ripen, cooler weather varieties like Nellie Kelly variety can take a bit longer.
How to ripen passionfruit off the vine
There are a number of reasons you may want to ripen your passionfruit once it’s off the vine.
A storm may have swept through and knocked all the fruit off prematurely or maybe you simply removed them a week or two early.
If your fruit is still green and hard, it’s unfortunately not likely to sweeten up off the vine and will remain sour tasting. But if it has already started to change colour there may be a few tricks that can help.
First try leaving the passion fruit at room temperature but out of direct sunlight for a few days and see if they appear to ripen up.
If that doesn’t work, here are some other methods people have had reported success with:
- Store them in a paper bag – this will trap the Ethelyn the fruit generates which can speed up the ripening process.
- Cover with a linen cloth or tea towel – similar to the paper bag approach, this will trap the Ethelyn the passionfruit produces.
- Store them with bananas – We all know not to put other fruit next to bananas because they ripen too quickly (again, thanks to the Ethelyn gas). In this case, we can use it to our advantage.
- Store them somewhere warm – The heat of summer is a sign to passionfruit that it’s time to ripen up. If your home is cool inside, move them to a spot with a bit of warmth.
Can you pick passionfruit while green?
Green passionfruit won’t fully ripen off the vine so it’s not a good idea to pick them while they are still green.
How many times a year do passionfruit fruit?
Passionfruit vines produce fruit once per year. The flowers start to appear in spring followed by fruit in summer.
Why are my passionfruit not turning purple?
There are a number of reasons your fruit may not be ripening on the vine. These include not enough water or too much nitrogen in the soil, which produces more foliage but less fruit.