Pollinating Passionfruit & Pest Plant Picnic

Gardener:Old Mangakino Orchard (McCallum's Garden)

Date:10 Oct 2023

Blog Type:Vegetables

Gonna talk about all things starting with P here and in particular Passionfruit.

 Black passionfruit has been my nemesis for the past 7 or so years and I have finally managed to get it to grow for me. I think the northland climate is helping and also considering carefully where I plant it. Our passionfruit produces a spring and autumn crop here so we are picking some that are ripening from autumn and the new season is just starting to flower. 

With the cost of passionfruit, I don't want to miss a single opportunity for a fruit so while there are less bees around, I'm relying on hand pollination. It's really easy and just involves breaking off one of the pollen anther (yellow thing in photo) and rubbing it on the stigma (the bit attached to the tiny wee unformed passionfruit). Getting really technical here. 

It's not time consuming when you think of the value of one passionfruit. We had great results from this last year. 

The yellow passionfruit is banana passionfruit. I have blogged about this before. It is a pest plant in NZ and it is illegal to propogate or relocate the plants however if you already have it, you are allowed to keep it. Please do not plant this in your garden if you find it anywhere as it spreads like wildfire and grows up into the canopy of trees and smothers them. It is well established here. For each plant I pull out, we get about 50 new ones growing. 

While it is a pest, it is delicious so we are now in a cycle of heavily cutting it back each year, removing it from unwanted areas and making sure we eat the fruit and are careful with seeds. There is still the risk of birds spreading this but at this stage, it is well entrenched in our area and we would need to tackle it as a community over several years to make any difference to the number of plants. The pile of fruit in this picture are not from our property but rather from plants growing on the verge up our street. It is everywhere hence why you should not plant it. 

Unlike black passionfruit which seems pretty fickle and prone to curling up and dying, banana passionfruit is almost invincible. I have to admit that it is one weed I was grateful for when clearing the section and mowing the lawns prior to moving in as it provided me with many a meal. Haven and I would often picnic with them when working on the property. 

Pollinating Passionfruit & Pest Plant Picnic