Passion fruit production is constrained by several insect pests, diseases and inadequate knowledge on the
management of the crop among other factors. A grower needs to know a few basic facts about the crop.
The two types of commercially grown passion fruit in Kenya.
1) The purple passion (Passiflora edulis f. edulis) This type of passion fruit is most suited to upper midland
and highlands (1,100 to 2,500m above sea level). It has purple colored superior fruits of 4-5 cm in diameter
which have an aromatic flavor. It is good for fresh market and Juice extraction for local and export markets
2) Yellow passion fruit (Passifl ora edulis f. fl avicarpa) This passion fruit is most suited to the coastal lowlands. It is more vigorous and has a larger fruit of 5-7cm. It is more acidic and used for juice extraction. Yellow passionfruit is resistant to Fusarium; wilt, tolerant to Phytophthora blight, nematodes and brown spot.
It is used as rootstock to purple passion fruit.
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Seed extraction, planting and grafting
Step 1: Seed extraction
Healthy mature fruits of yellow passion fruit with a history of good bearing capacity are collected from parent plant. Seeds are scooped from the fruits.
• Extracted seeds are put in water for at least 3 days to ferment and ease separation of pulp and seed.
- The seeds are then dried under shade. Seeds lose viability rapidly if not stored in a dry, dark cool place.
Step 2: Planting
Seeds are planted into prepared beds or into 6 cm wide by 22.5cm high polyethylene bags filled with sterilized soil to eliminate root knot nematodes, soil borne diseases and other harmful organisms.
• Sterilization may be through solarization (using sun) or by use of steam.
• Germination starts after about 17 days.
Step 3: Grafting
Seedling rootstocks of yellow passion fruit are grown until they are at least 50cm high and 3-4 mm thick.
• Healthy seedlings with dark green leaves are selected for grafting.
• Scions from healthy high yielding true-to-type vines of purple passion fruit are collected preferably when the plants have flowered. Scion mother plants should be raised in areas protected against sucking insects, to reduce incidences of disease.
• Sterilization of grafting equipment between grafts must be practiced (use jik).
• Two methods of grafting are used. These are cleft (most common) and splice.
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- Seedlings should be watered regularly and protected from insects.
• All shoots from the rootstocks must be removed.
• Harden-off seedlings by exposing them to the sun gradually when scion shoot is about 10cm long.
• Remove grafting tape from the union and transplant seedling in the field one month after grafting
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