Over the last few weeks passion fruit farming in Kenya have been asking questions about their crop. Why are the flowers of my crop falling over? Why are the leaves turning yellow and crinkling? Why are my customers complaining that my passion fruits have no juice? Today I will explain these common problems in the passion fruit orchard. Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya

Why do my vines flower but never set fruit?

There are several reasons for this, including:

  • poor pollination. This is the main cause and can be due to bees not working the flowers (for example, during heavy rain); temperatures being too low or too high for pollination (as optimum temperatures for pollen germination are 20-35oC); or rain directly reducing the viability of the pollen (as moisture causes the pollen grains to split)
  • boron deficiency
  • extended periods of overcast weather, which can cause flower drop regardless of pollination problems.

Why is my fruit dropping off the vine? Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya

Three possible reasons are:

  • irregular watering
  • fungal diseases
  • fruit fly and severe mite damage, particularly with young fruit.

Why are my leaves going yellow? Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya

The most common cause is passionfruit woodiness virus. Other possible causes are:

  • magnesium deficiency
  • nitrogen deficiency on sandy soils
  • ‘winter yellows’. This is brought on by cold weather, windy conditions, low humidity or a combination of these.

Why are there spots on my fruit and leaves? Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya

Spots on fruit and leaves are usually caused by fungal diseases. The most likely causes are:

  • Alternata spot
  • Brown spot
  • Septoria spot.
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Why is my fruit bumpy or malformed? Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya

There are several causes of bumpy or malformed fruit, including:

  • passionfruit woodiness virus, which would be the most likely cause, particularly if your vines are not growing well and mottled yellow leaves are present
  • boron deficiency
  • insect damage, particularly fruit fly.

Why is my fruit shrivelled? Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya

There are several causes of shrivelled, poorly developed fruit, including:

  • fruit fly damage
  • sucking bug damage
  • poor pollination
  • boron deficiency
  • insufficient irrigation when a heavy crop is set.

Why are my vines dying? Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya

Vines may be dying due to three possible causes:

  • Phytophthora blight, which shows first on the new growth, particularly after prolonged wet weather
  • Fusarium wilt, which is most likely if resistant rootstocks were not used. It normally causes rapid (within one or two days) wilting of the entire plant, especially in very hot weather
  • base rot, which is a dry corky collar rot at ground level.

Why are my vines growing poorly? Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya

The most likely cause is passionfruit woodiness virus. The disease is generally present at some level in most vines. When vines are growing vigorously, symptoms are not normally evident; however, when vines are under any sort of stress (such as cold weather, lack of water, lack of nutrients), the disease becomes evident and slows growth. Affected leaves are yellow and mottled, and affected fruit is bumpy and malformed.

How do I control fruit fly? Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya

The best way to control fruit fly is to apply a bait spray of an approved insecticide, plus yeast autolysate, at weekly intervals. Apply twice weekly during wet weather, during periods of high fly activity or when flies are seen stinging fruit. Fruit fly traps (one in the centre of each block) are useful for monitoring fly activity.

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If bait sprays are applied correctly at the correct interval, no other sprays should be necessary. Cover sprays of other insecticides are not recommended because they disrupt insect parasites and predators. They should be used only in an emergency if fruit fly populations get out of control.

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