Nutritional Benefits & Cultivation Practices of Passion Fruit

B. Soujanya and A. Kiran Kumar
B. Soujanya and A. Kiran Kumar
Passion Fruit Flower

Passion fruit also known as “granadilla” (Passiflora edulisSims) is an exotic fruit and native of Brazil, belongs to “Passifloraceae” family. It is well known for its unique flavor, aroma, nutritional and medicinal properties.

The plants grown for their shiny yellowish and purple fruits for juice extraction, sometimes its blended with other fruit juices to enhance the aroma. Passion fruit is mainly grown in hot tropical and sub tropical part of the world. In India, passion fruit is cultivated in the parts of Western Ghats (Nilgiris, Coorg, Kodaikanal, Malabar, Wynad), Karnataka, and north eastern states like Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. The fruits mainly used for fresh consumption and processed products like juice, squash (due to its aroma and flavoring property) jams and Jellies. The juice is used in preparation of ice creams and cakes. The passion fruit is a perennial, shallow rooted, vigorous, climbing woody vine with round to oval shape, has a waxy tough rind and the fruit colour ranges from dark purple to light yellow colour. Fruit contains 250 small, hard, dark brown or black, pitted seeds with high medicinal, aromatic and nutritive value. Passion fruit gaining importance and increase its demand in the global market because of the health consciousness. There is a great possibility of expanding its cultivation and it is also adopted well in roof top gardens.

Nutritional Composition of Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is a beneficial fruit with good nutrition profile, especially high levels of vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber content, contain good proportion of reducing and non reducing sugars and acids, minerals such as sodium, magnesium, sulphur and chlorides. It is also rich source of beneficial plant compounds like carotenoids and polyphenols. Passion fruit was richer in polyphenols than many other tropical fruits like banana, litchi, mango, papaya and pineapple (Data base from the National Institute of Health).

Table 1: Nutrient composition of passion fruit/10g of edible portions




P.edulis var. flavicarpa

P. quadrangularis

Moisture (%)




Protein (g)




Fat (g)




Carbohydrate (g)




Ash (g)




Ca (mg)




P (mg)




Fe (mg)




Vitamin A (IU)




Vitamin C (mg)




(Reference: Central Horticultural Experiment Station, Chettalli)

Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

Passion fruit has many health benefits and nutritional values. The following health benefits are

  • Passion fruit is rich in antioxidants, that helps to keep the human system very healthy. It contains vitamin C, beta carotene and polyphenols these compounds act as antioxidants

  • The seeds of passion fruit contain piceatannol, a polyphenol that may improve insulin sensitivity in men with excess weight, it reduces type 2 diabetes risks

  • The passion fruit has a low glycemic index (GI) value, it is a good choice for diabetes people

  • It helps to prevent constipation and improve digestion reduces the cardiovascular diseases because of fiber content

  • Passion fruit is good for heart, it has rich in potassium and low in sodium also helps to decrease blood pressure

  • Passion fruit promote intestinal health, good functioning of kidneys, nerves, muscles and heart by containing different nutrients

  • The juice of passion fruit is given as stimulant and treatment for gastric cancer

  • The passion fruit peel supplements may have beneficial anti inflammatory effects. They may benefit people with asthma

  • Passion fruit helps in lower the risks of some cancers (prostate, colon, stomach and breast) because of rich beta carotene content

  • Passion fruit is an excellent diet for weight loss and treating insomnia

  • It contains rich in Iron which relieves anaemia

  • It improves blood circulation and eye health

Area and production of passion fruit

Climate and soil requirement of passion fruit

The yellow passion fruit and giant granadilla are suitable for tropical regions, while purple passion fruit require subtropical conditions. Grows up to an altitude of 2100 meters and rainfall ranging from 100 to 250 cm. The ideal temperature is 20 ºC to 30 ºC to get best yields. In purple passion fruit cool temperatures are favorable for flower initiation and fruit set (18-23 ºC), high temperatures necessary for promoting juice production and also quality. Yellow passion fruit grows under low land tropical conditions. Low temperature effects the vegetative growth, flowering and fruiting of the trees.

Passion fruit thrives well in light sandy loam to heavy loam soils having a pH range of 6 to 7.5. The soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter (2 %), yellow passion fruit may tolerate alkaline soils. Water logging and soil without drainage should be avoided.

Varieties of passion fruit

Passifloraceae family contains more than 500 species of Passiflora, but Passiflora edulis Sims, is know as passionfruit or granadilla. There are many varieties of passion fruit available across the world. Among them yellow passion fruit (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa) and the purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis f. edulis) and giant passion fruit (Passiflora quadrangularis L.) ). Both yellow and purple passion fruit are commercial in India. Kaveri is hybrid fruit between yellow and purple passion fruit.

The cultivation of yellow passion fruit is most common than purple passion fruit because of its fruit quality. Generally, in tropical areas cultivation of yellow passion fruit and hybrid Kaveri is common, whereas purple passion fruit is commonly cultivated in north eastern areas.

Description of 3 passion fruit species


Yellow passion fruit

Purple passion fruit

Giant passion fruit


Tropical regions

Sub tropical regions

Tropical regions





Temperature requirement




Vigor of vine

More vigorous

Moderate vigorous


Size of fruit

Larger (60 g)

Smaller (37-50 g)

Largest fruits (600g)


Golden yellow

Deep purple

Greenish yellow fruits

Juice content

25-30 %

35-38 %

20-30 %


More acidic

Less acidic

More acidic


Less starchy

More starchy



Ooty yellow, Coorg Yellow, Munnar Yellow (Local Lines), Mirimi (South America), Golden Star (USA)

Ooty purple, Coorg Purple, Trissur Purple, Moodabidri Purple (Local lines), Ouropretano, Muico, Peroba, Pintado (South America)

Variegata – Ornamental form

Kavery: It is a hybrid developed through crossing of purple and yellow passion fruit at Indian Institute of Horticulture Research station, Bangalore. It is morphologically similar to yellow passion fruit but vine produces purple fruit and also quality also same as purple passion fruit. Fruit size is bigger (90-110 g) than purple passion fruit and juice content is 25-30 %. High yielding variety compared to purple and yellow passion fruits. Hybrid has tolerance for brown leaf spot, wilt, collar rot, root knot nematode and thrips.

Propagation in passion fruit

 The passion fruit is commonly propagated through seed, stem cuttings and grafting. In spite of genetic variability seeds are used as propagating material. Grafted plants and seedlings are more vigorous than cuttings. Passion fruits from cuttings or grafting starts fruiting much earlier (7-6 months) than those from seeds (10-12 months). Yellow passion fruit, tolerant to soil borne diseases, is the most common root stock for purple passion fruit.

Seed propagation:

Seed propagation is not preferred for commercial purpose as lot of variation is found in seed propagated plants. Fruits should be collected from best vines of passion fruit. The quality seeds are extracted by fermenting the pulp for 3 days and extracting the seeds and drying in shade. The seeds should be sown in the month of March-April in well prepared nursery beds. The seeds start sprouting in about 12-15 days after sowing and germination is completed in about one month. At 5-6 leaves stage seedlings should be transplanted in 10 x 22 cm polythene bags filled with 2:1:1 mixture of soil, compost and sand. These seedlings will be ready for transplantation into main field in about 3 months.

Vegetative propagation of passion fruit

Stem cuttings:

This method is the most commonly used in passion fruit. About 30 cm size of semi hard wood cuttings from mature portion of the vines having 3 to 4 nodes is preferred. For better rooting these cuttings should be raised in a suitable media preferable equal mixture of sand soil and FYM during the month of Jan-Feb and June July. Rooting takes place with in a month and will be ready for transplanting into main field in about 3 months.


Grafting is used to multiply hybrid varieties on disease resistant rootstocks for resistance to different diseases and pests. Yellow passion fruit is good root stock for hybrid varieties it is resistance to nematode infestation. The seeds of yellow passion fruit can be sown in March or in October for raising the seedlings in seed beds or in pots. The plants become ready for grafting in 3 months. Scions should be select from matured, healthy and vigorous vines, both stock and scion should be of pencil thickness for grafting.

Serpentine layering:

The lateral shoots emerging from the main branches are given partial slant cut below the nodes and shoots are allowed to root in rooting medium consisting a mixture of soil, sand and compost (1:2:1) in the month of February. The plants should be separated during April-May. Survival of the plants by this method is higher.

Spacing and planting of passion fruit:

Pit size of 45 cm3 should be dug filled with a mixture of top soil and compost. Planting done in square system by maintaining 3-4 m x 3-4 row to row and plant to pant. Planting should be done in the month of June-July. Generally, in Bower system of training spacing is 3 x 3 mt. In Kniffin system 2 x 3 mt spacing is preferred.

Training and pruning

Passion fruits can be trained on two arm kniffin system trellis, bamboo or iron posts should be fixed at 3 -4 m distance and 3-4 wires should be strung by keeping the distance of 30 cm between wires in the direction of North-South for maximum and even exposure of vines to get sunlight. Leaving only two vigorous shoots remaining are removed. Once the main vines reach the wire, the tips are pinched to encourage leader formation. In this system vines are spread over a criss-cross network of wire (15-20 cm apart), 1.8-2.0 m above the ground, supported by bamboo posts.  Once the laterals have produced the fruits, they are cut back to 4-6 buds to induce regular bearing.

Pruning is generally done twice in a year. First in March and April and another one in October- November after harvest. It is only confined to the cutting back of the laterals or buds of fruiting shoots. It promotes new growth and results in increased yield.

Manures and fertilizers:

 Nutrient management depends upon the age and stage of growth of vines. For best yield of passion fruit, organic manures should be applied more. In South India a fertilizer dose of 110 g N, 60 g P and 110 g K per vine per annum is recommended for the 4-year-old orchards. N should be applied in 3 split doses in the months of Feb-Mar, July-Aug and Oct-Nov. In addition to this 2-3 sprays of 0.5 % Urea can also be given during summer months.


Irrigation should be given immediately after planting for good establishment. During dry spells supplementary irrigation may be given at fort night intervals. An average passion fruit requires 12-15 lit/vine/day in summer and 6-8 lit/vine/day in winter. Micro irrigation is very useful and also it responds well to fertigation.

Interculture operations:

Passion fruit is shallow rooted (15 cm) so, deep digging is avoided and weed growth is checked by surface weeding. Mulching with dried leaves or grass is done to conserve moisture during summer months.

Pollination in passion fruit:

Passion fruits are protandrous in nature and are cross pollinated by honeybees. In purple passion fruit and giant granadilla anthesis takes place in the early morning whereas in yellow passion fruit anthesis takes place in afternoon hours. Pollination takes place after 1-2 hours of anthesis when stigma becomes receptive.

Passion fruit maturity:

Purple and giant passion fruit produce flowering thorough out the year but major bloom occurs in March-April and July-August. The yellow passion fruit and Kaveri hybrid flower during May-June and September-October. The passion fruit starts first fruiting after 9 months of planting and full bearing is reached in 16-18 months. The passion fruit takes 70-80 days to mature purple passion fruits are also available through out the year but main season of fruit availability is May-June and Sep-Oct. Harvesting is done, when the fruits turned slightly purple in purple passion fruit, shiny golden color in yellow passion fruit

Harvesting and yield:

The flowers borne singly in the axils of the leaves on terminal portions of the new growth. There are two main fruiting periods August-December and March-May. Fruits should be harvested along with the stem. Economic yield start from 1-2 years of planting and healthy vines produces about 150-180 fruits/year. Maximum production life of vine is 10-15 years but maximum production can be obtained up to 6 years.   Purple passion fruit produces more fruits than yellow and giant granadilla due to compatibility of pollen. The expected yield is 10-12 t/ha/year can be obtained, in kavery hybrid yield is high about 18-20 t/ha. To prevent the weight loss, they should be marketed immediately otherwise, they can be stored in polythene bags and transport to distant markets in polythene crates. The fruits can be stored in polythene bags at 7-9 ºC for 3 weeks with weight loss.


Passion fruit processed products like concentrates and beverages has tremendous scope of market both at national and international level and also exotic fruits processing units existed in India mainly at Kerala and Manipur and Mizoram.  Passion fruits are processed into juices (Single strength aseptic juice 14-16 ºbrix or frozen concentrate 50 ºbrix), nectar, squashes because of its unique flavor and aroma and also prepare jellies, jams, syrups, cakes, wine and pickles. The passion fruit juice is also used in preparation of ice cream, syrup and juice blends. There is an immense potentiality of boosting passion fruit industries where its is growing in India commercially.

Disease and Pest:

The major diseases in passion fruits are collar/root rot, brown spot and woodiness virus. Among these collar rots is the most serious problem followed by brown spots. Collar rot is the most common in purple passion fruit when compare to yellow passion fruit it can be used as root stock. Common insect pests are fruit flies, thrips and mites.


Brown spots:  It is a serious disease caused by Alternaria macrospora Sims. The symptoms appeared by the presence of concentric brown spots with greenish margin. In sever cases girdling of branches and premature defoliation of the leaves occur. The affected branches should be pruned and burnt. Spraying with mancozeb or diathene Z-78 (0.2 %) for control of this disease.   

Collar rot:

It is caused by Phytophthora nicotiana var. parasitica. Plant will die because of rotting of the roots. Water logging should be avoided near by plant roots and should be check proper drainage facilities. Drenching with Bordeaux mixture (1 %) may be done and affected plants should be mounded with soil to encourage new root formation.

Insect Pests:

Fruitfly: (Dacus sp.)

This is the common pest in passion fruit. Maggots punctures the immature fruits when fruit is developing and rind is still tender. Fruits are deformed and pulp content will be reduced and drop off from the vines. This can be controlled bagging of fruits and spraying of malathion (2 ml/liter).

Thrips (Selenothrips sp.)

These feeds on buds and developing fruits. Serious during summer crop. Affected fruits are deformed and fruit weight and juice content are reduced. This can be controlled by malathion (0.05 %).


Mites are scattered in reddish patches on the surface of fruit, stem end, along the mid rib and veins of the leaf especially under surface. General discoloration of the leaves, necrosis and leaf drop occurs. With heavy and prolonged infestation leaf fall increases and the vine shows die back. Developing fruits shriveled and drop prematurely. Can be controlled by using natural enemies’ predators like Anthocorid bugs, mirid bugs, syrphids, green lacewings etc. Spray with Kelthane (0.05 %).

Key points to boost the yield of passion fruit

  • Selected site should be well-drained with high organic matter content

  • Propagation through softwood grafting

  • Trellis/bower system of training

  • Maintaining two main stems in training system

  • Regular pruning of old shoots immediately after harvest

  • Integrated nutrient management with fertigation

  • Apiculture for pollination

  • Integrated pest and disease management

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