Anything special I need to know about growing Maypop for the first time? When I lived in Central America I loved eating granadillas, which I believe are related (also passiflora). I am so excited to see them grow and I don't want to waste these seeds I bought!
I got my maypop seeds in the mail last week, and the package said that they need 2+ months of dark and cold before they germinate. The package also said that everyone warmer than zone 6 could plant them in a pot and leave them outdoors all winter. I am in zone 7a. I planted them in a 2 gallon pot, mulched it with some leaves, and put it on my somewhat sheltered front porch.
I'm sorry to report that for me they have been fussy. I have wild ones on my property but (except for one year when they went absolutely crazy) never enough. I've had some success just scattering the ripe fruits on the ground where I want plants next year, but when I've saved dried seed, I've never been able to get it to germinate. I haven't made a ton of attempts, but with several failures under my belt I can confirm that it's not straightforward.
I have one in a 6x8 greenhouse. I was going to move it outside. Didn't get it done. It produced a couple fruits, but they weren't very appetizing to look at, so I didn't even try them. Maybe they were over ripe. How do you tell when they're ripe and how do you eat them? I only planted one. I read later that they need a pollinator. I bought it from Oikos. It was a very small plant, but healthy and vigorous. Not very expensive.
Ken W Wilson wrote:How do you tell when they're ripe and how do you eat them?
This answer is going to be complicated by the fact that I have a color vision deficiency. Some of the color terms in what follows are cribbed from what my local wildcrafting guru said on a walk -- because it all looks different to me.
But as for when they are ripe, basically when the fruits have reached full size they are at first smooth like a large chicken egg, only green instead of brown. (To me they look very similar to brown chicken eggs of large size.) At that point they may or may not be edible, depending on how much water they have gotten.
Leave them on the plant for awhile, and they will lighten in color ("turn yellow" in my eyes, but I think it's really a shade change in the spectrum of greens) quite considerably. They will also become wrinkly. It is at this time that they are best for eating.
Break open the fruits at this time and you'll find them full of a seedy pulp. It's not really very appetizing in appearance -- sort of like frog eggs or tapioca beads in a mucous matrix. But it's yummy! I just eat it at this point. A teaspoon to scrape it out helps but is not required, your thumb works or you can just put the broken fruit to your face and slurp.
The individual "frog eggs or tapioca beads" have hard-ish seeds inside them -- the closest analog I can think of is the fleshy pips inside pomegranates, although the seeds in the passion fruits are more tender and less fibrous. I have seen people carefully chew and suck and spit the hard bits of seed out, but I consider this insane. Dietary fiber is good for you, and I just slurp and chew and swallow with great enjoyment.
If the fruit is unripe or didn't get enough water, when you break it open the seeds will be dry and there will be no fleshy pulp on or between them. Bummer. I do not eat these ones.
The flavor is tropical and unique and hard to describe, but very yummy.
The only prepared dish I know of to make with these is a sort of egg-based curd or pudding. I've seen it made and tasted it (very rich!) but do not have a recipe. It involves eggs and sugar and passion fruit pulp and possibly other ingredients I have forgotten. It cooks up into a rich and fruity sweet custardy thing that you eat with a spoon -- a little going a long way.
Here's a photo of some wild ones from our property. This was taken in October 2013. The lighter-colored ones with some dimpling are the ripest, but the darker-colored ones will ripen well enough in the bowl and turn color to an extent when ready to eat. Truly ripe ones are lighter in color and more dimpled/wrinkled than any in this photo.
Thanks Dan! That helps tremendously. Mine looked like the too dry ones, I think. It gets pretty hot in my little greenhouse. They were in a south corner and not shaded by the tomatoes. They grew so well that I thought they had enough water, but I guess not. Now I'm looking forward to trying them again. They were invasive in the greenhouse. Not sure if they are outside? They seem to spread from any of the roots.
Kris, I might be able to send you a start if I can figure out an easy way to mail it. It seems like a piece of root in zip lock with a damp paper towel might work?
the trick i use with maypop and other passionflowers from seed is to soak the seeds in lemon or orange juice. i dilute it with water, but about half and half and let them soak for a day or sometimes a bit longer. then i rinse them well and soak them in plain water for another day or 3.
the acids in the citrus juice breaks down the germination inhibitors that are around the seeds. the cold stratification is good too, and also has a similar effect, breaking down the germ inhibitors, but i usually do both!
anywho the refrigeration and the paper towels and all that, is just an alternate way to cold stratify, the easy way is to just plant outside to overwinter.
they take 2-6 months to sprout, very slow growing for the first year, but then get much bigger fast after a couple of years. some might say invasive, i say easy =)
Ken, I would certainly say yes to a cutting in the mail! In the meantime, pray for my seeds! I'm hoping they will be cold for long enough to "pop" in May. How much should I water them?
The more southerly cousin of maypop, grenadilla (passion fruit?), is so delicious. We lived at a very high elevation and people would bring them to the market from the more tropical regions to sell, so I never saw them growing. But I learned quickly that they were ripe when the skin sort of buckled. The inside is tough to describe. Tangy jelly blobs with crunchy seeds in the middle. When I was reading Gaia's Garden, I was curious and googled the plant. I could not believe my eyes when I realized I was looking at the grenadilla's cousin.
I also had the joyful discovery at the farmer's market a few years back that anona, another yummy Central American fruit I didn't think could be found here, also has a relative in the states--pawpaw.
It's snowing out, and I'm hibernating, so I have time to visit Permies again. The maypops grew, and I ended up with 4 maypop babies! I planted one in a large pot and trellised it up a bamboo pole, and the other 3 grew along a fence. All grew to 15 feet plus, and looked really happy and healthy. Two bloomed--and oh the flowers filled the whole yard with their aroma! They did produce some fruits, but they were the size of a small chicken egg, with nothing but dried up white fiber inside, and no seeds. None of the jelly fruit. I think they never got big enough. Any tips for getting bigger fruits (and some seeds to grow more) out of them? Or perhaps they just need a few years, as Leila suggests?
Ken W Wilson
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
posted 2 years ago
Mine died out in the greenhouse. I guess I cut them back too many times or maybe they got too hot.
I found the first wild plants that I'd ever seen yesterday. They were blooming and on my land that I am just starting to turn into a food forest. I'm kind of excited even though I've never eaten one. That's sad because my grandparents had a very productive vine they grew as an ornamental. My grandfather was an old farmer and knew they were edible but didn't like them. Since they don't look very appetizing I never tasted them.
I don't know if the ones on my land are native or feral. The land was all cropland when I bought it. I assume a bird brought a seed in from somewhere. I'm near a couple of native prairies. I hope I gets some fruit this year.
The maypop or passion fruit seeds can be stratified in a jar of sand put in the fridge for 30 days then scarify with an emery board just prior to planting.
This will allow them to germinate within two weeks. The plant prefers full sun for a minimum of 8 hours a day.
Buzzard's roost has in the neighborhood of 100 vines right now all with 20-30 fruits. some of the vines are 25 feet long but most are in the 15 to 20 foot range.
Fully ripe fruits are tan/yellow with wrinkles the skin should still feel soft to the touch if you want good viable seed let them go to a crisp paper feel (the wrinkles will be pronounced)
I usually take crisp paper fruits and break them open and spread the seeds where I want new vines in the spring, just stepping on the seeds will put them deep enough to overwinter and sprout when they should.
Our hogs like the ripe fruits and so do raccoons and deer.
i've discovered passionflowers are easy to ground layer, i think this is the best way to propagate them...
just take some of the chunky, bigger diameter, vines down to the ground, scratch up the bottom and sides a bit with your fingernail or tool.
dig a very small shallow trench, or just place the vines in close contact with moist soil, and stick a rock over it to hold it to the ground.
with passionflowers this only take a few weeks...to a couple of months from that part of the vine to re root, giving you a rooted cutting you can cut off from the mother plant and pot up.
growing from seeds is fun and possible, i think the key with it is you have to have fresh seeds and they lose their viability quickly. like most fruits actually.
i also suspect, also like most fruits, that they benefit from a fermentation process.
the simplest way, starting them by placing whole overripe fruits in the ground, rather than completely cleaned seeds that have been dried.
with some of the pulpy fruity goop still there, the rotting away of the fruit helps break down the germination inhibitors.
My experience of growing passionflower from seed usually involves: Attempting to grow them in pots for 6+ months and failing, then deciding to use the compost elsewhere in the garden and realising the seeds have finally germinated. So don't give up hope!
My passion vine finally fruited for the first time this year, and we were heartbroken to find that the fruits were completely empty inside their leather skins. I guess it's either because it's an ornamental variety or maybe because there are no other passion vines around to pollinate it. So I decided I'd have to grow some from the seed of the best edible fruit I could find and duly treated myself next time I found some suitable fruit in the supermarket.
The first place I checked online said that seeds don't store long, so choose a good edible fruit, wash the seeds, keep them dry for just a few days, then plant them. So that's what I did, and this is the result a couple of weeks later.
I try to grow maypop. I got seeds from the internet (bad choice but in Europe it's not so easy), one grew. After transplant it stopped really growing but the new leaves are funny. Wrinkled pale small etc.
Maybe it's not maypop? (the seeds looked pretty authentic)
Or is it struggling from some disease?
Or it's okay?
Maypop grows very well here in Virginia and produces lots of fruit. It is killed to the ground by freeze, but it always comes back the next year. It comes up in different places, and in greater numbers. It spreads underground a lot. Mine was planted by the back deck and now comes up in the yard too, but I just mow it there like the grass and weeds, and it doesn't bother me.
Assuming you have access to a yard or field that already has it, the easiest way to grow it is to dig up a few of the vines coming up in the summer and just replant them. Anyone that has had this growing on their property for a few years will have plenty to spare, trust me. You can just take one shovel full of dirt with each vine and whatever roots come up, then do a half-ass job of transplanting it, and it will almost certainly take. I've had almost 100% success with doing the bare minimum.
The bees love the beautiful flowers and the fruit is good, so I don't see any downside. It would be nice to have a practical use for the fruit, since they are awkward to eat. If anyone has any ideas, please share.
I purchased some Maypop (Passiflora incarnata) seeds from Prairie Moon Nursery earlier this year. I tried scarifying the seeds, but I couldn't figure out when the embryo was exposed. They seem to have a very thick seed coat.
It is currently the first week of February and the last spring frost hits by the first week of May. If I were to begin cold moist stratifying them now, would they sprout too early? Do I still need to give them an acid soak in vinegar before stratifying? The package only said to give the seeds a two month cold, moist stratification period before sowing.
Ken W Wilson
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
posted 8 months ago
I sold my land that had the maypops. I had one pod from 2017. I broke it open to make sure it had seeds last week. I put the seeds in the freezer, probably should have put them in the refrigerator. I wonder if it was too old anyway? The seeds pod was very dry.
I thought my greenhouse plant had died out and didn’t see any sign of it for a year or two. It started making a come back last summer. I’ve got a vine 3 ft long. I wonder if it came up from a seed or a really deep section of root?
I’d like to have one more for a pollinator.
I am in the Midwest, USA, Zone 5b. I have a patch of maypops that have grown on a perimeter fence for several years. I am not wild about eating them myself, due to the seeds. HOWEVER, my chickens go wild over them and eat the seeds too, which are supposed to be high protein. Therefore, the chickens get gallons and gallons of maypops, both in season and until about December when I feed out the maypops in storage.
I will be interested to see how they fare next spring, following our unusual Polar Vortex cold. My chickens will be sad if they don’t make it through.
Maypop passionfruit are incredibly vigorous. We have a ton of them in my area. I can state with certainty that the easiest method of growing them is from a sucker. I have planted one beneath a plum tree, and it grows up to 25 ft each year and dies back down to the ground. They easily sucker and you may find one up to 30 ft away from where you planted it. So rootguards would be advised if you want a tidey space. My suggestion is to keep trying with the seeds which could takes months, unless you plan to take a trip south of New England around May-June and look for them. Here where I live, they are everywhere.
On a side note, I have a commercial species of passionfruit I am planning to cross breed with the maypop to produce a potentially commercial variety for Kentucky. I also have similar other projects planned to make more tropical plants feasible to grow in ground here.
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