8 Common Problems with Growing Passion Fruits

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Let’s face it:

Anyone can start a passion fruit-growing venture.

But not everyone gets past the first roadblocks.

It’s disappointing when you don’t seem to get the results you're being hyped about, and when you’re disappointed, you become less and less enthused about keeping at it.

It helps to know that you’re not alone:

Like personal problems, passion fruit growing problems are widespread. There are so many Agribusiness entrepreneurs and gardeners out there, but very few succeed. Only 2% of the lot get meaningful returns on their investment.

When they do, it’s through sheer hard work and determination, plus tips from the pros, of course.

To help you join the 2%, here are:

8 Common problems with growing passion fruits and how to overcome them

Most of the problems you face in your orchard, some of them listed here, can be attributed to poor vine nutrition.

Just like us, without proper nutrition, our bodies might not be able to fight diseases - exposing us to a myriad of problems.

It's not different with plants.

Solve your plant nutrition puzzle and more than half of the problems are solved.

It's more or less like arming your plants so that when a problem arises, they can fight for themselves.

Now, having explained what to do when problems arise, let's call them one by one.

Get your copy of the Passion Fruit Farming Course Book, which provides step-by-step guidelines on growing passion fruit for massive profits.

1. Passion fruit vine produces fruit, but there is no juice, just soft seeds inside

There are several reasons why passion fruits may lack the necessary juice.

In this case, the vine might not have received enough water or nutrients during the growing period.

Passion fruits are very hungry and thirsty, so regular feeding and watering to keep the soil moist are key. Failure to provide these basic requirements could lead to fruit formation that lacks juice content.

Similarly, most passion fruit vines start producing meaningful fruits in their second year, especially under relatively colder conditions.

Therefore, getting the fruit quite early may also have an effect on the form as well.

2. The vines keep flowering but never set fruits

Common problems with growing passion fruits

This can happen due to a number of reasons.

The most common ones are poor pollination due to too high or too low temperature (optimum 20 – 35 degrees) or too much rain, boron deficiency, and extended periods of gloomy weather or fog.

In some instances, the flowers may also drop off prematurely as a result of poor plant nutrition.

3. Fruits keep dropping off the vine

That could be a result of irregular watering. It could also result from fungal infection, fruit fly, or severe mite damage.

Fruit can also drop if the weather suddenly turns cold or the plant lacks water. Pest insects, such as passion fruit vine hoppers, feeding on the vine can also cause fruit drop. Watch out for these insects while they are young. 

Check and correct accordingly.

The other common reason passion fruit drops its fruits is that they lack trace elements. The plant doesn't have the resources to support fruit production, so it drops the fruits to conserve energy for the main plant.

You can buy trace element supplements and feed your vines accordingly since passion fruit needs a lot of feeding.

4. The leaves of the vines turn yellow (chlorosis)

Common problems with growing passion fruits

Passion fruit vine leaves yellowing (chlorosis)

It could be a sign that your vines have been infected by passion fruit woodiness virus.

Secondly, it could result from Magnesium deficiency, Nitrogen deficiency on sandy soil, or extremely cold weather combined with low humidity.

The vines turning yellow due to nutrient deficiency manifests itself differently depending on the stage of the leaves' growth.

For instance, if the new leaves of your vines have yellow veins, a deficiency in Sulphur (S) or Copper is usually evident.

However, if the yellowing affects areas between the veins, it is an indication of a lack of sufficient Iron (Fe) or Molybdenum (Mo).

Yellowing of the older leaves, especially between the veins, is a sign of a magnesium deficiency. A fertilizer rich in Magnesium (Mg) is an appropriate remedy for this problem.

On the other hand, the yellowing of veins in older leaves is a guaranteed sign of Nitrogen deficiency and should be corrected accordingly.

There are scenarios where old and new leaves of your passion fruit vines turn yellow.

In such cases, a lack of Zinc (Zn) is to blame.

Next time you experience yellowing of your vines, you’ll be able to diagnose the root cause and make the necessary corrections.

Check out Recommended Gardening Resources and Tools

5. Passion fruit vine leaves turning yellow and crinkling

Common problems with growing passion fruits

Passion fruit leaves turning yellow and crinkling

The symptoms of yellowing and crinkling of the leaves on your passionfruit vine indicate the Passionfruit woodiness virus.

Affected fruit can be small and deformed, with an abnormally thick, hard rind and small pulp cavity. Aphids carry this disease, and most vines will be affected at some point.

Ensure that your vine is planted in a warm, sheltered spot to help reduce the incidence of this disease.

Symptoms can appear under stress in cool weather or lacking water or nutrients.

Affected vines cannot be cured; however, symptoms are temporary, and vines can recover once the stresses are alleviated.

I am sure once you give your vine the warmth, moisture, and nutrients it requires, it will soon recover and give you lots of delicious summer fruit.

6. Fruits are bumpy or malformed

Common problems with growing passion fruits

Bumpy passion fruits

Passion fruit woodiness virus could be the culprit, especially if leaves are yellow and mottled.

It could also happen because of Boron deficiency or insect damage, particularly in fruit flies.

In the case of the passion fruit woodiness virus, the fruits appear deformed, hard, and bumpy.

Once you notice these symptoms in your orchard, getting rid of the affected plants and spraying against aphids that transmit the virus is better.

7. Shrivelled fruits

Common problems with growing passion fruits

Passion fruits shriveling before maturity

Shrivelling is normal for passion fruits, especially after dropping them on the ground when they are mature.

However, if this happens earlier, it could be caused by fruit fly damage, sucking bug damage, poor pollination, boron deficiency, and insufficient irrigation when a heavy crop is set.

Ensure that you give your vines appropriate nutrients for optimum and vigorous growth while watching out for pests and diseases.

If you do this, your fruits will do just fine!

8. Spots on the fruits and leaves

Common problems with growing passion fruits

Spots on the fruits

Mostly caused by Brown Spot (Altanaria passiflora) but can also be caused by Septoria spot.

Brown spot is a serious fungous disease that affects leaves, stems, and fruit. The notable symptoms on leaves include small brown spots appearing first.

These enlarge, develop a lighter-colored central area, and become irregular or angular in shape.

On stems, elongated dark-brown lesions appear, usually near leaf axils or where stems have rubbed against the supporting wire.

The infection spreads from these points, and whenever the stem becomes completely girdled, the shoot suddenly wilts, and fruits collapse.

On fruit, spots first appear as pinpricks, which enlarge into sunken circular lesions with brownish centers. Eventually, the rind around the diseased area becomes wrinkled, and the fruits shrivel and drop.

Bonus Update: Die Backs and Passion Fruit Woodiness Virus (PFWV)

Over the recent past, the cases of die-backs and PFWV have increased. What's more scary is the fact these are probably the most damaging passion fruit diseases by far.

Die-backs, for instance, are caused by Fusarium spp. present in the soil. The symptoms start off mildly with pale green leaves, leaf drops, and death, causing over 50% loss. 

The only way to combat this problem is to ensure grafting is done on resistant yellow rootstalk.

PFWV, on the other hand, manifests itself with smaller, crinkly-looking younger leaves that look nothing like the rest of the plant.

If you suspect, that your vines are infected with the passion fruit woodiness virus, the best course of action is to uproot and discard the affected plants as soon as possible.

Above all, close monitoring and scouting will help you to identify and take corrective measures before the situation gets out of hand.


You’ve just read 8 common problems with growing passion fruits. Knowing what to do when they strike will give you enough confidence to forge forward.

The nice thing about farming or gardening is that you’re in total control of how successful you are.

If you slack off, so will your results.

If you let small obstacles and problems get in your way, it’s game over. If you get totally into what you’re doing and crush it, the sky’s the limit.

You can start taking control right now by claiming your free sample of the passion fruit farming course by clicking here (if you haven’t) or purchasing the full course by clicking here.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on July 2, 2017, and has been revamped and updated for accuracy, grammar, and comprehensiveness

32 thoughts on “8 Common Problems with Growing Passion Fruits”

  1. Thanks for the info we are going to try epsom salts for our yellowing leaves on our passionfruit, it had really good fruit the first year then next year only a few and too dry, this year none so we will see what happens, Watch this space…..

  2. I live in Wellington (boland) I bought a grenadella and plant it 2 years ago. Although it grows and ranks very well..it didnt bear sny fruit..what so ever.
    Please help!

  3. I contacted U about stopping suckers that grow from my passionfruit. Your comments did not resolve my issue . the plant grows well and produces plenty of fruit. My neighbour complains about the suckers andy way to stop them.

    • Hi Peter, Thanks for sharing your frustration with us. First and foremost, your vines producing more suckers is a normal thing. It shows that your plants are growing healthy. However, letting them grow as they please will take up a lot of nutrients from the plant thereby compromising the overall yield. Therefore, it’s important that you keep on desuckering as much as necessary.

      If for whatever reason desuckering isn’t possible, you might want to take a more drastic approach and change your rootstalk in subsequent planting. Look for plants grafted onto a non-suckering rootstock. For instance P. edulis flavicarpa, which is also disease-resistant. Alternatively, grow passionfruit that have been grown from seed or cutting.

      I hope that helps!

  4. Hi Peter, A lot of the new fruit on my passionfruit plant are turning yellow – right from the start. Is this due to lack of water or nutrients please?

  5. I have just started with a couple of passionfruit plants and while they are growing reasonably well the leaves are being attacked and eaten by something. AZny idea what would go after the leaves and how to stop this?

  6. My passion flower is 2 years old and this is the second time I bring it inside during the winter months. The older leaves are turning brown on the tips, they curl and then fall. Is this some kind of disease? or could it be that I didn’t bring it inside in time and got some frost damage? Some new growth is appearing but it seems weak.

  7. Hi, I posted a comment before but I don’t see it so I’m going to post it again. My apologies if it shows twice. I have a 2 year old passion flower vine and I brought it inside about a month ago for the winter. The older leaves are turning brown from the tip down and then they fall. Is this some type of disease? Or could it be that I didn’t bring it inside in time before it got too cold? It seems that there is some new growth from one of the stems but it seems weak.

    • Hi Laura, two possible reasons why this happens. The first one is magnesium deficiency which is unlikely in your case. And the second reason could indicate a normal behavior witnessed in all plants when there’s minimal growth activity. What happens when plant respiration suddenly stop is that food processing slows down. The plant has the option of sacrificing the oldest leaves to better utilize the limited resources.

      So, yes, it is possible that the delay to bring your plant to shelter caused the shading of older leaves. But not to worry, your vine will be just fine.

  8. Hello, We are in the middle of summer here. I have around 35 Sunshine Special Passionfruit vines 2-3 years old. They are going okay, some of the new flowers parts are coming out and turning yellow before the flower bulb gets big, they drop off then. Is there anything for this and can you fertilise and potash the plants at this stage. I have put potash on around a month ago.

  9. Hi I planted two Nelly Kelly passion fruit vines about four years ago and have a strange dark green vine growing in between them at first I thought it was a sucker however I was just pulling out the vine when I noticed a small orange fruit growing on the vine. I took one off opened it to find tiny deep red seeds like a passionfruit inside. The fruit is like a very small apricot in color with a smoothish skin. Do you have any idea what this could be? Sher

  10. Hi, I have a healthy looking passion fruit vine, that has grown very well for two years. Loads of big flowers, but no fruit .flowers finish blooming than fall. What do I need to do for the vine to fruit. The vine grows profusely.

  11. Have not found one person who has eradicated a nelle Kellie and suckers. Me and 2 neighbors ha hundreds of suckers. Main plant removed about 1 year ago. Suckers still grow. Help. Should I sell up and go away.

  12. My grendilla has grown into a beautiful bush no flowers or fruit what could be wrong

  13. I pruned my 12 yr old passionfruit vine for the first time in early March. I took it right back but kept the 4 strong base vines but nothing is happening – the stems appear to be green (I rubbed back a little bit of cover) but while everything else in the garden is racing away the passionfruit is just sitting there – not dying but not growing – how do I give it a spurt please

  14. My problem is most of my fruit are well formed totally empty shells my vine looks totally healthy and is growing rampant. I forgot to fertilise it this year which is its third year and tbe nectorine tree near it got fruit fly for the first time this summer. Another site says empty fruit is due to over fertilising that cannot be my problem. Do you have any ideas I do not see many bees could I do something to cross polinate the flowers? It is a Nelly Kellie on grafted root stock.

  15. Hello. My four two-year old granadella vines have giving big, healthy fruit. Now the leaves are turning yellow, with what looks like white powder and some leaves are crinkly. There is still a lot of healthy fruit, but a few have turned crinkly and fallen off. I live in Pretoria and we have recently had some cold weather. We do not water often and never feed the ground. The vines are in a protected area with lots of sun.

  16. Hello. My four two-year old granadella vines have giving big, healthy fruit. Now the leaves are turning yellow, with what looks like white powder and some leaves are crinkly. There is still a lot of healthy fruit, but a few have turned crinkly and fallen off. I live in Pretoria and we have recently had some cold weather. We do not water often and never feed the ground. The vines are in a protected area with lots of sun.

    Reply please

  17. Hi my grandella has grown well, flowers from mid winter warms days and produces abundant large fruit during summer. The fruit is still green at end summer and does not ripen in winter. In the cold of winter ( no frost) leaves turn yellow and fall on the established vine. The green fruit is exposed then to the sun but as it starts to turn yellow seems to get burnt by the sun and starts to rot. I might get a few fruit yellow and ripe but 95% burns in the winter sun ( 10 to 20degrees) and die/rot.

    Why don’t they ripen in hot summer? The dead leaves I presume are from cold winter nights?
    Thank you

  18. I don’t know what is happening ,the sterms are drying up, en i have no idea about treating

  19. Folks, most of you need either to avail selves of the passion fruit farming ebook available on this site, or find another source, and firmly bone up on plant nutrition.

    It is plainly clear to me, as a guest here, that you are playing around and not at all serious about plant nutrition, that must be attended to ON A REGULAR BASIS, and must be FULL SPECTRUM.

  20. Hi we have two Nelly Kelly vines about 5 years old. The old crowth appears to be shrivelling up and probably will die while the new growth looks healthy. There is minimal flowering. There are clearly dead branches behind all the growth

  21. I am from Sri Lanka. There are lot of growing areas of Passion fruit. I have problem from vine cutting beetle. please give instructions for solving that. It attacks seasonally. Beetle was long long horn beetle. If u have article related it please shear me. thank you and your ideas help lot of me.

  22. hi there i have pission fruit i have had about 2 years very heathiy olts of fruit but it will not trun yellow want is happening thanks dale

  23. Hi can you please tell me what is wrong with our Panama red passionfruit. The fruit is large and green starting to wrinkle and going purple. The plant is massive. It has been planted in a large pot . Inside the seeds are not developed. We are in a cold area but have grown the small black ones with a lot of success. It has been fertilized with old sheep manure. Can you please help.

  24. I know this is super old but I recognized the plant you were describing, you never got a reply. It is a bitter melon vine. We have a lot of those here in south Florida. I am sure you figured it out by now. Hope your passion fruit is still doing great!!!

  25. passion fruit grease Spot there lots of comments on this disease regards prevention but is it treatable when the plant is infected.

  26. Sounds like banana passion fruit which is what has been used as rootstock to graft your passion fruit onto.

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