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How to grow Maypop

 
Kris Mendoza
Posts: 76
Location: New England USA, Zone 7a
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bee hugelkultur urban
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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.

Then I started googling and read this. It made me nervous. A lot of soaking and refrigeration between damp paper towels and other things I did not do because they were not on the seed packet: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/812069/#b

Are they fussy? Any advice about starting and transplanting them? I'd love to hear about your experiences.
 
Dan Boone
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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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.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 381
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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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.
 
Dan Boone
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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.

Hope this helps!
 
Dan Boone
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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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.

passion-fruit.jpg
[Thumbnail for passion-fruit.jpg]
maypops (passiflora incarnata)
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 381
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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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?
 
leila hamaya
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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 =)
 
Kris Mendoza
Posts: 76
Location: New England USA, Zone 7a
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bee hugelkultur urban
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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.
 
Kris Mendoza
Posts: 76
Location: New England USA, Zone 7a
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bee hugelkultur urban
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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?
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