There are several passion fruit varieties for commercial purposes in the market. The most common of them are the purple and the yellow type. If you want something exclusive and unique, orange passion fruits exist as well.
Without wasting time, let’s take a look at these varieties one at a time.
Popular passion fruit varieties
The yellow passion fruit varieties
The yellow form has a more vigorous vine and generally larger fruit than the purple, but the pulp of the purple is less acid, richer in aroma and flavor, and has a higher proportion of juice-35-38%.
The yellow passion fruit is suitable for low altitudes such as coastal lowlands. It’s more hardy and vigorous as compared to the purple passion. The fruit is bigger with a diameter of 5-7 cm, relatively acidic and used for juice extraction.
- Produces higher yields at lower elevations due to relatively warm temperatures.
- The fruit is bigger than the purple variety, with a weight of 60 – 65 grams per fruit. The fruits are round in shape with yellow spots and turns from green to golden yellow when ripe.
- This variety is less susceptible to pests and diseases (High tolerance) and sometimes it’s used as a rootstalk for other varieties.
There are also other varieties within the yellow type specific to different regions across the globe.
I’ve listed them below:
'Yee Selection'–yellow, round, very attractive, highly disease-resistant, but fruit has thick rind and low yield of juice which is of very good flavor.
'University Round Selection'–Hawaiian crosses of 'Waimanalo' and 'Yee'–fruit smaller than 'Yee'; not as attractive but yields 10% more juice of very good flavor.
'Sevcik Selection'–a golden form of the yellow selected in Hawaii; a heavy bearer, but subject to brown rot and the juice has a peculiar woody flavor.
'Kapoho Selection'–a cross of 'Sevcik' and other yellow strains in Hawaii. A heavy bearer of large fruits but subject to brown rot; many fruits contain little or no pulp and the juice has the off-flavor of 'Sevcik.'
'University Selection No. B-74'–a Hawaiian hybrid between 'Pratt' and 'C-77', usually yellow, occasionally with red tinges; resembles 'Waimanalo'; has good juice yield and very good flavor.
The purple passion fruit varieties
- Produces better at higher elevations (cool temperatures). The variety is suitable for areas with an altitude of 1100 to 2500m above sea level. The fruit has an aromatic flavor with a diameter of 4-5 cm.
- The purple fruit weighs approximately 35-50 grams with a diameter of 5 cm and it has a round shape.
- They turn from green to deep purple colour when ripe.
- Average juice content of between 30-35%.
- It’s acidic but has a strong aromatic scent. It also varies in taste and juice contents.
-The variety has the best ever known nutrient and flavour content.
Other Variants of the purple passion fruit
Misty Gems - Known to be the tastiest of all the Passionfruit varieties, the pulp varies in colour from bright yellow to pumpkin colour and has many small, hard, black, seeds. The inside wall of the Misty Gem is white. The flavour is refreshing, guava-like and tangy.
Sweethearts – blackish in colour and very sweet.
Panamas - A hybrid passionfruit that is vigorous and more tropical than the black.
'Australian Purple', or 'Nelly Kelly'–a purple selection of mild, sweet flavor, grown in Australia and Hawaii.
'Common Purple'–the form growing naturalized in Hawaii; thick-skinned, with small seed cavity, but of fine flavor and low acidity.
'Pratt Hybrid'–apparently a natural cross between the 'Common Purple' and a yellow strain; subject to rot, but juice is of fine color and flavor, low in acid.
'Waimanalo Selection'–consists of 4 strains: 'C-54', 'C-77', 'C-80', of similar size, shape, color and very good flavor, and 'C-39' as pollinator.
KARI Passion Fruit Varieties
Over the recent past, a few more passion varieties have been developed and are set to be released into the market. These varieties possess superior qualities than their conventional counterparts. They are bigger, sweeter, juicier, and more tolerant to pest and diseases. The commercial breeds have been developed by Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). The varieties are;
1. KPF4 which is the sweetest among the three.
2. KPF11 – Yields much higher than KPF4
3. KPF12 – Also yield higher than KPF4.
Sweet passion fruit
Sweet passion variety is one of the best tasting passion fruit in the world. The hard-shelled orange-yellow fruit is of excellent quality and has a white aromatic pulp.
Production begins in 2 to 3 years. You can easily recognize the vine by their heart shaped leaves. Prefers sheltered conditions. Frost tender when young.
It prefers cooler conditions for optimum and elevations of above 1500m.
The fruit is of excellent flavor and turns from blue to orange-brown at the time of ripening.
The whitish, aromatic pulp is enclosed in a hard shell, which can stand transportation without damage.
Giant passion fruit
Giant green to yellow passion fruit reaching over one foot in diameter. Pulp is not as flavorful as the common passion fruit, but still tasty and often eaten or used in drinks.
It requires tropical climate and grows best from 1700m above sea level.
It grows to a length of 30m and fruits turn from green to yellow when mature. Fruits are eaten fresh and appearance resembles a vegetable marrow.
Almost always grown from seeds, but can be propagated by cuttings.
Bottom heating the seeds at 70-80F can result in germination at 1-2 weeks, at lower temperatures seeds can take up to 10 weeks to germinate.
It is recommended to pretreat Passiflora seeds before planting. They contain a hard seed coat and are very slow to sprout.
There are various pretreatment methods, but the simplest is to soak the seeds for 24-48 hours in warm to the touch water, just prior to planting.
Optionally, seeds can be lightly scarified with sand paper to provide some permeation on the seed coat.
Once pretreated, plant seeds 1/2-1" deep in moist, sterile soil. Keep soil temperature consistent at 70-85F, with some day/variation in this range.
Cool soils will significantly delay seed germination time if not inhibit germination altogether. Standard room temperature can be too cool for proper germination.
Banana passion fruit
Banana passionfruit is the fruit of several plants in the genus Passiflora, and is therefore related to the passion fruit.
They look somewhat like a straight, small banana with rounded ends.
Grows at higher elevations, colder conditions above 1500mm above sea level. It also has an edible pulp.
Banana passionfruit is used as rootstock for grafting the passionfruit varieties more commonly grown for food, especially in climates too cool for productive passionfruit growing.
Regrowth from beneath the graft is one means of its outbreak as a weed, so growers should be vigilant for sprouting low on the main stem or from around the base of the plant, and should pull up and discard the plant when (typically after 6–9 years) the grafted passionfruit is no longer productive.
You’ve just read about the most popular passion fruit varieties grown across the world. It’s now upon you to determine which of the many varieties will better meet your needs.
However, always remember that your choice should always be guided by your market. It beats logic to engage in a variety that nobody is willing to pay for.
Have I left any passion fruit variety out? Please let us know in the comments.