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Successfully Growing Fruitful Lilikoi in Seattle

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Growing passionfruit in pots may help you get fruits.

By growing passionfruit in pots, we’ve been able to bring in harvests even in chilly Seattle. That’s because we can protect potted plants from winter deep freezes. But, just any old pot won’t do for this plant. That’s because Passiflora plants want to grow expansive roots. So, you’ll need a large container.

Freshly fallen Passiflora edulus 'Frederick'

Freshly fallen Passiflora edulus ‘Frederick’

Not every Passiflora will give you fruit.

In order to bring in a lilikoi harvest, you’ll need more than any old potted up passion flower vine. In fact, you’ll need to choose a fruiting variety of passionfruit grown in spaces like we discuss in this article.

You’re growing passionfruit in pots successfully, but when will they ripen?

Passiflora that produce fruit are slow to ripen. In fact, in our PacNW garden, our fruits generally aren’t ready until September. So, have some patience.

How will you know when your fruit is ripe?

It’s easy to know when passionfruit is actually ready. That’s because successfully ripened passionfruit falls off the vine when it is ready.

But won’t falling ruin the ripe fruit?

Fortunately, passionfruit is encased in a hard, waxy outer shell. So, when those egg-sized ripe orbs fall to the ground, they’re rarely damaged.

Delicious Passion Fruit

Delicious Passion Fruit

Growing passionfruit in pots didn’t yield as much as you’d expected?

Sometimes growing passionfruit in pots stressed the plant. That’s because it wants to put on a lot of roots to produce a lot of fruits. So, when you grow in a container, your harvest may not be jungle-sized. As well, sometimes pollination is an issue. So, consider using a small, dedicated paint or make-up brush to hand pollinate your plants. Don’t know what this means? Join our online Academy, and we’ll teach you all sorts of great gardening success tips!

Did you know those flowers and leaves are worth harvesting too?

Yes! When you’re growing passionfruit in pots or in your garden, you’re growing a powerful herb too. Consider harvesting flowers and leaves to dry from your Passiflora vines. That’s because you can use these in tea blends and other herbalist items. But, be sure to learn about the constituents of this powerful plant before you consume a bit. And, remember that if you’re growing passionfruit because you want fruits, harvesting flowers will mean less potential fruit to harvest later.

11 comments on “Successfully Growing Fruitful Lilikoi in Seattle

  1. david on

    Thanks for the article. Without a greenhouse, can any of tge passion fruit varieties survive western WA winter?

  2. Garden Mentors on

    David, there are passion flower vines that will survive without a greenhouse in Western WA, but we’re not aware of any fruiting varieties that will. Let us know if you find any, please!

  3. holly bine on

    Maypops or passiflora incarnata produces tasty fruit and does not need a green house in Seattle. The only thing is that it does not like its roots being wet all winter so its best to plant it in full sun, with excellent drainage under an eave next to a house. {Sales comment omitted by blog moderator.} They die back in the winter but come back in middle spring for me. If you ever see the white variety of this plant I highly recommend it!!!!

  4. Garden Mentors on

    Thanks for sharing Holly. Have you actually produced fruit on this passion fruit vine? We’ve spoken with many who grow ornamental passion vines in Seattle, but we have yet to find someone who has successfully harvested fruit outside a greenhouse on any vines. Since the vines tend to die to the ground and emerge pretty late in spring on plants grown without protection, those we’ve spoken with (and us) have found the plants don’t tend to flower early enough to produce ripe fruit. If you’ve had luck, please share your details!

  5. Jay on

    Can you please update us on what happened?

    I ordered a passionfruit vine from fastgrowing trees that was advertised for zone 8. I dont have a greenhouse for it and am really worried about what will happen to it during winter.

  6. Garden Mentors on


    I’m not sure what update you’re looking for, but I can say that it did overwinter just fine in the greenhouse for several years. We had one year with a sustained freeze, and I brought it into our heated daylight basement for part of that winter to help it through. Eventually, the plant did give up the ghost for reasons that did not appear to have anything to do with weather. Without a greenhouse, in too harsh a zone, you may want to bring yours inside for winter. Good luck!

  7. Jay on

    Did you plant the vine in a pot? You’ve mentioned that you brought it indoors during a sustained freeze -did you transplant it from the ground it was planted in? I am wondering if getting a greenhouse will work if I leave my gauava tree planted in the ground…

  8. Garden Mentors on

    Ours never went into the ground. And, yes, it came into the heated basement during the worst of winter. Our greenhouse wasn’t heated beyond passive solar, so when it got really cold out, the greenhouse protection wasn’t enough. Had to keep it in the pot in order to move it about. Not sure how much protection your guava will need. Good luck Jay!

  9. Michele Ray on

    So, I’m from Kaua’i, and finally have a little greenhouse here in Portland, and I’m growing Possum Purple, and am thrilled. I have it in a huge pot, climbing up the trellis and now it’s crawling along the ridge pole of the greenhouse … you talk about bringing it in in winter, and I’m not able to picture how that would work… it’s gotta be 10’ tall already, it’s almost September with no flowers yet, and I’m wondering what kind of trellis you are using.

    I had planned to leave it in the greenhouse through the winter, as this variety is supposed to be hardy… and the greenhouse (just a kit from Home Depot, 10’x10’, steel pipe frame and heavy white plastic cover. Big door in front and a window in back… I’ve got tomatoes growing up the sides as well, with the Lilikoi in the center.

    Are there pictures of your setup somewhere?

  10. Garden Mentors on

    Michele, Sounds like a fun project. Basically, when I would bring Frederik indoors, we would just drape the vines across the heated basement as best we could. This variety of passionfruit vine was fairly hardy, but when we had deeper freezes, that’s the time we would bring it indoors. An unheated greenhouse just wouldn’t protect it enough. Now, several years later, I have a different Panama Red variety that I keep in a sunroom year round. I’m finding this one is probably going to skip blooming in its first year. We have it trellised on wires along the wall. There’s a brief IGTV video from earlier this year on it here:

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