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Ripe passionfruit lying beneath the vine.

Late ripening passionfruit

Passionfruit is one of our most popular backyard fruit crops and perhaps the most vexing, writes JENNIFER STACKHOUSE.

Passionfruit vines are among the most popular of all Australian backyard fruit crops. The downside of this popularity is that they seem to engender more questions than every other fruit crop put together – more even than lemons!

The question that’s on everyone’s lips right now in late autumn is: “Will the crop that’s on my passionfruit vine now ripen before winter?”. The short answer is… maybe.

The reason there are so many passionfruit on vines right now is because of a burst of late summer or early autumn rain. If you have a passionfruit that’s not fruiting it probably just needs a good drench of water. However, if it does rain during autumn or winter, don’t expect much new fruit to form. Passionfruit are really meant to fruit in the warmer months of the year, from spring to early autumn.

The long hot autumn that has been experienced in many parts of Australia has meant that the late burst of fruiting still has a good chance of ripening. The longer it stays warm, the more fruit will ripen. If it suddenly turns cold, the fruit may fall green. Even green, it is still worth cutting it open as it may be edible, if not totally sweet.

My vine, which is heavily laden, is gradually producing ripe fruit. Although much of the fruit is still very green, it is gradually getting ripe and the skin is developing a slightly darker hue. Today, when I went out to put the chooks away, I notice three ripe passionfruit lying under the vine. Yummo, it’s passionfruit for dessert tonight!