Grafting passion fruit seedlings, how to do it yourself
Yellow passion fruit seedlings does not have to be grafted. It can grow on its own roots without significant infection by Fusarium. It can be planted directly into the commercial fruit orchard.
If purple passion fruit is being grown for the fresh market, it needs to be grafted onto the yellow rootstock before planting out. The two seedlings to be grafted together need to have the same thickness of stem to make the grafting easier. This means they may not be the same age, as the yellow passion fruit seedlings are usually more vigorous growers and may be bigger than the purple passion fruit seedling of the same age. Choose the same size of seedlings, each with stems about a ‘pencil thick’ to graft together.
The pink-flowered banana passion fruit (Passiflora millissima), appears to be resistant to root rot and, when used as a rootstock, also induced a measure of resistance in the purple passion fruit to grease spot (Pseudomonas passiflorae) a serious bacterial disease.
Grafting is an important means of perpetuating hybrids and reducing nematode damage and diseases by utilizing the resistant yellow passion fruit rootstock.
For grafting, you will need the yellow passion fruit rootstock and the purple passion fruit scion. The scion refers to a part of the stem that has been snipped from the parent plant. The scion will be attached to the stem section of the second plant so as to form a grafted union.
This grafted union will callus over gradually and morph into a single plant that grows normally. The new grafted plant will have the qualities of both its parent plants.
Here is a guide to grafting your purple passion fruit seedlings:-
- Make sure the rootstocks and the scions are well irrigated up to 2 hours before the grafting is done.
- Soak the blade of the grafting knife in a mixture of water and bleach for up to 10 minutes and allow it to dry before you begin using it to cut or splice the scions and rootstocks.
- Make a wide angled cut into the main stem of the yellow passion fruit rootstock using the utility knife. The cut should be 1 ½ inches long and should be made 10 to 12 inches above the soil. After making the cut, wipe the blade of your utility knife with a cloth dipped in a disinfectant.
- Remove a three to four inches of the main stem of your purple passion fruit seedlings. Make sure every seedling or scion has at least two leaf nodes. Make a wide angled 1 ½ inch cut on the stem of the seedling using your utility knife.
- Position the cut surface of your purple passion fruit scion against the cut surface of the yellow passion fruit rootstock to make a union. Wrap this union tightly using a grafting tape.
Cleft Grafting for Passion Fruit Seedlings
- Put an opaque plastic bag over the grafted plant. Secure this plastic bag on the rootstock just below the graft union. You can do this by tying it up with a piece of twine.
- Put the passion fruit grafted union in a shaded area with temperatures not exceeding 65F.
- The graft union will fully form after 10 to 14 days. Remove the twine after this graft union has occurred. Open the bag to allow the flow of air. After the buds have started forming on the purple passion fruit scion, get rid of the plastic bag entirely.