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Growing Lilikoi – aka Passion Fruit – in Seattle

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Successfully growing passion fruit is exciting!

And we’re talking about growing passion fruit (aka lilikoi), not just lovely passion flowers. Those blooms are gorgeous. But passionfruit is an extra delicious reward.

growing passion fruit Passiflora edulus fruits

Passiflora edulus flower that will form passionfruit!

Why grow passion fruits and passion flowers?

Lilikoi fruit is unlike any other fruit. And, usually, you’ll find it in abundance in tropical locations like Hawai’i. But, if you don’t live somewhere tropical(ish), passion fruit may seem impossible to grow. However, we’ve proven you can grow this tasty fruit even in the Pacific Northwest.

So, what’s the trick to getting fruit on our vines?

  • First, choosing a variety that will produce fruit.
  • Then, be sure that variety is winter hardy in your areas.
  • But, if it gets too cold where you live for any fruiting variety, there’s still hope.
  • In this case, grow your vines in a big, moveable pot.
  • And, be sure you have somewhere warm you can stash during the cold.

So, why not grow something easier than passionfruit vines?

Passionfruit’s vigorous vine produces out-of-this-world flowers. And, those flowers are followed by an unparalleled slurpy, tangy, tropical-flowery, sweet-sour, crunchy delight passion fruit. And, bonus, the fruit is contained in its own reusable cup!

But maybe you want to learn how to grow other kinds of fruit. If that’s the case, be sure you sign up to be notified when our gardening programs open for enrollment now. That way we can help you learn how find success growing all sorts of food!

Why not just buy passionfruit at the grocery store?

Passionfruit isn’t readily available at the grocery store. And, if you do find it for sale in a non-tropical spot, it’s going to be very expensive. It’s one of those rare things we actually have to go to its place of growth to enjoy. It’s no lime or pineapple, mango or papaya, or any number of off-season imports we so easily find at the grocery year-round.

Plus, nothing made to taste like passionfruit actually tastes as good. Something is always lost in translation.

I’m growing a Passiflora plant, but the fruits are empty.

Passiflora edulus 'Frederick'

Passiflora edulus ‘Frederick’

We hear this a lot. That’s because in the Seattle area, the hardiest passionflower vines don’t produce viable fruit. Instead, they put on a lot of gorgeous flowers. And, those flowers may form pods, but those pods just don’t have anything inside. So, if you’re growing a cultivar like ‘Dark Knight’, don’t be surprised if you get pretty flowers and empty pods.

So, which fruiting Passiflora plants do perform in colder climates?

We’ve tried a couple of Passiflora cultivars over the years, and in our experience ‘Frederick’ is the best fruiting Passiflora for our area. That’s because it grew and produced fruits for us for several years. But, we did keep it in a large pot. And, we did keep it in an unheated greenhouse in winter. Moreover, when long freezing periods settled in, we moved the potted plant into our heated basement temporarily.

Where can you buy this passion fruit plant?

Raintree nursery often has ‘Frederick’ in stock. In fact, this is where we purchased our first plant.

As well, One Green World lists it among their Passiflora offerings too.

Learn about harvesting passionflower fruit when you’re growing passion fruit in your garden.

16 comments on “Growing Lilikoi – aka Passion Fruit – in Seattle

  1. Anne on

    Wow, this is amazing! I just realized I have these guys growing in the hard red clay of my side yard. I’l have to check on the green eggs!

    I have an acre here near Charlotte, NC. The darned red clay can break a shovel! But it’s so fertile, and I have these passion fruit, morning glories, trumpet vine, and other interesting “weeds” happening. We’re tackling the side yard as we can, piling on as much organic material as possible. My neighbors think I’m nuts ’cause I won’t bulldoze all the weeds and just pile on a ton of soil. Patience, grasshopper, is a virtue!

    Thank you for your blog – most enjoyable!!

  2. kevin on

    wow, my mouth is watering from just reading your article. I fell madly in love with passion flower in Mendocino, CA. I’m in southern CT and feel forturnate to coax my angel trumpet to flower which it has done nicely this summer thankfully. Always wished I had the space for a greenhouse. Cheers!

  3. Pam on

    Our soil on the Big Island has quite a bit of nitrogen due to the fallen leaves of the Monkeypod trees, and the lilikoi vines seem to love it.

  4. Jessy on

    I’m an avid flower grower in Seattle and I love lilikoi! Like you I first had it when I lived in Hawaii as a child. My question is…were you successful in getting it to bear fruit and if so, was it the Frederick variety. Have you had success with other varieties? I got here by a Google search and would love to hear back from you when you have a moment. Thanks!

  5. Margaret Gichachi on

    Thankyou soo much for sharing this. I cannot wait till next spring to get myself a plant. I have been craving passion fruits and I really do not like the price and taste of those offered in the supermarket. I am so glad to know that I can plant a passion fruit tree right here in the PNW.

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