maypop fruit?

simba-njFebruary 13, 2006

Two years ago I planted a maypop outside which flourished (from Jackson & Perkins) The fruit was entirely hollow, to my disappointment. Last year it came up again in a few spots but only grew a foot or two, no flowers.

First of all where can I get a maypop plant (no seeds) which is not sterile?

Secondly, why didn't it grow? Root disease?


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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

You will need to plant 2 plants for cross pollination. and for better fruits you'll need to pollinate them by hand using an artist brush.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 11:10PM
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I had 3 plants, and one was from different source. All were planted on the same arbor. So does anyone know what the problem was? I believe the plants were sterile to begin with since I have much wildlife in the area.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 11:54AM
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mauch1(z6b PA)

I have grown maypop for a number of years in Pennsylvania, in zone 6(b). Never mulched or otherwise protected and most came back year after year. It does take two for cross pollination. Do you have carpenter bees in your area? as they are pretty much the exclusive pollinators where I live. Other notes: Were the fruits completely hollow? They tend to have a hollow in the very center, but the pod is lined with seeds surrounded by pulp. Also, not all maypop flowers are 'female'. They'll have all the parts (though sometimes whithered), but unless the female parts reflex down to be inline with the stamens, they are effectively male flowers. As the season progresses they generally make fewer and fewer female flowers.

What did your flower look like? Maybe one of the sources isn't sending you true P. incarnata. P. 'Incense' with very beautiful flowers, is an incarnata hybrid, that does not naturally set fruit, and will make a few seeds if manually populated, but the few seeds I did not germinate.

I grew all my Maypops from seed.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 11:18AM
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gswilkent(z3 Canada)

I grow maypops in the house (too cold outside), and this was the first year I got fruit, but I'm wondering if you left them on the vine long enough? Mine grew to full size in no time but felt like balloons they were so light. It took probably 2 months for them to get some weight. I didn't try them until they fell off the vine (I read to do that somewhere) they were full of pulp and excellent at that point.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2006 at 2:29PM
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Get on the web and purchase plants from either of these 2 nurseries: Raintree Nursery or One Green World. These 2 nurseries are mail order nurseries specializing in fruiting plants. The stock is exceptional and they do have special prices for 3 or more plants. I have Maypop from these nurseries and have hundreds of fruits on my vines each year. Plants are sold in well-established 1 gallon can't go wrong purchasing multiples for getting abundant flowers and fruit. Eventually you will have to prune them 2-3 times a year to keep them under control. Also, the key is a warm, sunny location with very good draining rocky soil if possible...avoid keeping them too moist and you will be rewarded generously. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2006 at 10:38PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

Redpassion, are yours planted outside? If so, that's great!


    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 10:26PM
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I don't know if I have carpenter bees in my area. Lots of bumble bees for sure. I'm in northern NJ about 45 minutes from the PA border. Lots of woods nearby. Anyhow, yes these are definately maypops, not some other variety. The fruit stayed on till frost but it was hollow. Like opening a gift box and finding it is empty. Boo hoo.
I'll try those other sources, thanks. Maybe my plants were defective.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 12:44PM
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sgeorgia(z8 SGA)

Do you remember if the seeds were black? Also, I have better luck with maypops if I've waited long enough for the fruit to be wrinkled or better yet for it to fall off by itself. Let me know, I have seedlings popping up and seeds from last season if you'd like them.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 7:29PM
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From what I recall, the inside did not have black seeds. The fruit did fall off, but it was completely hollow . No pulp at all.
I don't have carpenter bees either. Does anyone know how to attract them?

I'd like a seedling if you have one. Please email me so we can work something out. Thanks.
And thanks, everyone for your help thus far.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 9:00AM
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sgeorgia(z8 SGA)

I'd be happy to send some seedlings. I can't find your email. Use my forum email link to email me your address. Dee

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 8:29PM
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Down here in South Louisiana the maypop plant/vine grows wild along our waterways, drainage cannals and such, the best time to eat the fruit is after it has fallen to the ground and the skin has wrinkled, this is at it's ripest stage and very sweet:) also just about any type of flying insect will pollinate the maypop flower, beleave it or not, wasp are great pollinaters too, so if you have a few wasp nest hanging around just leave them be, they can be very helpful around the garden :)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 4:20PM
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I have passion fruit vines growing wild in my yard and enjoy them and the fruit very much. They are best if trellised though...they're a mess if left to grow on the ground because the grass grows up through them and you can't find the fruit or keep the grass mowed.

Occasionally, I find a fruit that is empty too. I think some flowers may get missed when the bees are pollenating, and sometimes they transfer pollen from flower to flower on the same plant. I believe I read that the plants are self-sterile. On one website it says that if it rains within an hour and a half after pollenation, that it will be unsuccessful. On a rainy day, a flower may open and not get pollenated at all. I think in your case with all of the fruit being empty, that your plants must have come from the same parent plant. If you start plants from seeds or use transplants, you need them to be from different parent plants.

In my area (North Mississippi), they grow, without any complaint, in hard clay soil, and in wet or dry weather alike. I am amazed at their tolerance. They seem to prefer the South and East sides of the house and flourish there. They fruit from about the first of August, until cold weather comes, but need hot weather for the fruit to ripen. As someone else stated above, wait to harvest until they fall off and start to wrinkle.

Recently, I dug some up to give to a friend, and discovered that they put up sprouts along the root system of the main plants. (That's why you see new plants coming up during the growing season, and if you'll notice, the largest of the new plants will be closest to the parent plant because they came up first. As the roots spread from the main plant, they continue to put up new sprouts. If you don't want it to spread, just cut or mow down the new plants). The sprouts do not have well developed roots of their own, but can develop more roots if put into a pot with moist soil immediately after being dug up. It probably would be a good idea to cut the plant back to about a foot in length, because part of it will die from the stress of being dug up anyway. Also, they need to be kept in a shady area until the roots develop well enough to provide the plant with sufficient water, and then hardened off before transplanting. I suggested to my friend that she cover them with laundry baskets for a week or two after planting. That would provide morning and afternoon sun, while protecting from the the broiling mid-day sun. I read that it is best to transplant them on an overcast day.

I have also had seeds to germinate successfully. A trick to speed up the process is to put the containers into a plastic bag and keep it on a heating pad until you see sprouts. If you're using a covered planting tray the plastic bag is not necessary, but make sure the soil stays moist. Low heat is fine unless you keep your house very cold. You may want to put a towel between the heating pad and plastic bag.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 10:24PM
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Reading through everyone's comments from above, I think I may have spotted the poster's problem--cold. I know I've read somewhere that low temperatures can mess with passion fruit ripening.

From Simba-nj 3/7/06: "The fruit stayed on till frost but it was hollow."

Is it possible that it was just too cold out for the fruit to ripen?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 12:48PM
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To suzy08 I am trying to get a garden started to attract butterflies and would like to have some maypop starts if you have any this spring. I would be happy to pay shipping and handling charges. Thanks, stickhorse.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 1:41PM
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I am fortunate to have them growing wild on my property, but I also cultivate them because I could never have too many : )
Passifloras are self-fruitful. I am not a botantist so I don't know about the male female flower thing. I do know Raintree advises hand pollinating for best fruit production, and I do know that its easy with a feather, (I've seen it done but have never done it, looks like fun). Since I have them "everywhere", there are two helpful comments I would recommend. One, ignore the empty fruit - mine do it every once in awhile. The other really important thing to know is that there is one specific butterfly that requires the Maypop for survival, its gorgeous... but remember, butterflies come from caterpillers...and they will decimate the plant. One year I had one potted on my porch and it was buried them!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 5:28PM
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jblaschke(8b TX)

>Passifloras are self-fruitful.

No. This is incorrect. While there are some species, such as p. subrosa, that can self-pollinate, and others that can be selfed via bud pollination, the majority of passiflora species are not self-fruitful. A single p. incarnata plant will not normally self. You'd need another incarnata or another compatible species, such as p. caerulea, in order to get mature fruit.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 12:40AM
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I have a wild passionflower I found growing on railroad tracks, it has rambled around my yard and rooted itself in many places, my question is, if the original plant was either male or female, are all the volunteers the same sex? I get lots of flowers and no fruit.
I wonder what varieties they use in Latin America where it is grown commercially for fruit production- you can buy passionflower juice there. Anybody know?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 12:19PM
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jblaschke(8b TX)

Maewest, you're mixing your plant types. There are trees and other plants that come in distinct sexes, yes. But the majority of plants--passiflora included--are hermaphroditic with both male and female parts. When the bud opens, the flower undergoes a hormonal change that prevents it from being fertilized by its own pollen. This is an evolutionary adaptation to prevent inbreeding.

If you've only one plant, sometimes bud pollination is viable. Essentially this involves taking mature pollen (from a presumably open flower) and then opening a bud you'd expect to open the following day and applying the pollen to the stigma.

The most common passiflora grown commercially are p. edulis (purple fruit) and p. edulis var. flavicarpa (yellow fruit). There are others grown commercially on a local scale (p. ligularis, etc.) but the two edulis types are most common.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 3:49PM
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we live in piemont of NC where is best place to plant maypops, around creeks? do they need plenty of water?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 9:02AM
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In central SC I see them growing wild mainly on pretty dry soil, right down to droughty sand soils. They may not need it but they certainly tolerate it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 10:08AM
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I tried a recommendation I read somewhere and soaked my dried saved maypop seeds in tepid tea for a day or two before planting. I ran no experiment with unsoaked controls but I can at least tell you the seedlings practically leaped out of the soil in just a few days with very few failing to germinate.

Also, has anyone ever seen in the wild or cultivated or for sale an exceptional eating maypop, say larger fruit or with less muskiness? I am planting about 40 seedlings from one with slightly larger fruit and will soon see the amount of seedling variability.

Finally, aren't there incarnata hybrids with other species for sale commercially? Do they fruit? Is it good to eat?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 10:27AM
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I have just begun to collect P.incarnata varieties, and though only two bloomed last year, hopefully many will this summer. The 'alba' I was not that fond of flavor-wise, but the regular one, I thought was very good, though it had very little juice even if hand pollinated. As for varieties sold, the market seems to not really distinguish P. incarnata as a fruiting variety like it does with P. edulis, therefore tasting notes seem to be limited to individual people you may chat with.

Hybrids with P. incarnata are numerous, but few if any are heavy fruit producers. For instance, the well known P. 'Lady Margaret' is difficult to obtain a fruit on, and when you do, it has very few seeds/pulp/juice. I do know, however, a person or two who are working on breeding P. incarnata with other tasty species to create a great hardy fruiting hybrid. It is likely a couple of years before they would be released to the public, however, so you may need to wait patiently, or better yet... create your own! Hybridizing is great fun.

Best of luck,

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 4:14PM
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"I do know, however, a person or two who are working on breeding P. incarnata with other tasty species to create a great hardy fruiting hybrid."

Excellent. I do look forward to that and wish them success. Are they amateurs or is it university or commercial?

I have access to some colchicine (sp?) and was thinking of experimenting a bit in trying to induce polyploidy in some buds to see where that went.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 6:45AM
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We are both definitely amateurs!

Have fun with the colchicine... just beware of polydactyly. :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 9:51PM
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Well this is an old thread but maybe it's worth a shot. I have ordered several plants from rain tree nursery as suggested. In the meantime I am looking for unripe fruit as a birthday gift for my husband. ( it's his absolute favourite). I am in NY so it doesn't grow around here. I'm willing to pay shipping and a bit extra in advance. Thank you!!
Jess.tibbals at

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:59AM
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Does anyone mind passing along any Maypop root cuttings to me? I could pay for shipping and your effort. Wanted to get some growing up this season. Feel free to shoot me an email. Maybe I can trade some cuttings with you.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 4:18PM
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i had one last summer.
i know its supposed to come back, but we had a REAL hard winter here.
i had 2 plants for a very short time, lng enough i guess for one to pollinate the other
i had 1 fruit, but it had to be one of the best fruits i ever ate in my life.
One died in the summer from a virus or ?

the other was eaten by caterpillars, then the cold hit.
I hope it comes back.

I have some seeds from it which i planted in trays 2 weeks ago. nothing yet.
i may just have to order a couple.

i do have a Possum Purple' (Passiflora edulis) i had bought. its about 8 inches tall right now.

i dont know if this will work as a pollinator for my Maypop ???

can i get fruit from either one ?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 5:04PM
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Any news about people breeding improved passiflora incarnata fruit?
I would love to get a few seeds to grow in my garden. I have a chain link fence that would be perfect for 2-3 plants. Otherwise I will just buy some from the online nurseries. I want fruit that tastes good and I think that even a few generations of selective breeding should taste better then a wild fruit form the nursery. Email me if you are interested so we can work something out. Thanks Greg

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:01PM
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My Incarnata would never pollinate, even with lots of bees here, until i hand pollinated it, then i got a VERY nice tasting fruit.

What some people think are Bumblebees are really Carpenter bees.
They look very similar. I thought mine were Bumble bees, until i saw the holes in the wood.

Your Incarnata comes back every year in zone 6 ?
I am in zone 9b, and i havent seen mine back yet.

Last year i had 2 very large Incarnata vines
we had a pretty cold winter, down to 27F a couple of days.

Will my Maypop come back ?
When should i see it ?


This post was edited by greenman62 on Wed, Apr 30, 14 at 6:31

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 4:27PM
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If anyone can spare a few seeds of any variety, please send them to 3255 shore pkwy apt 2J brooklyn NY 11235. I appreciate any and all help to start my own passion vine.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 3:05PM
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Maypops don't grow wild out here (Orygun) but I have a friend in KY who could probably send me some seeds next go with the one I bought, that was listed as self-fertile...hmmm.
On a lighter note, this is my first post on GW, but I've done a lot of looking and a lot of learning from this repository of very helpful resource people.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2015 at 2:58AM
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I wonder how the breeding of P. incarnata-based edible selections has gone?

I would love to try some.

(And I never relocated my small amount of colchicine.)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 12:48PM
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