How to Grow Fruit Vines in Your Garden
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Published by TOP4 Team
Fruit vines such as grape, passionfruit and kiwifruit don’t take up much space and are easy to grow. Train them up a trellis, against a sunny fence or wall, or over a pergola.
Grapevines grow best in regions with hot, dry summers, cool-to-mild winters, low humidity and moderate annual rainfall, mostly in the cooler months.
- Choose a variety suited to your area. Popular table grape varieties include Carolina Black Rose, Lady Patricia, Muscat Hamburgh and Pink Iona. In subtropical regions, look for low-chill varieties such as Flame Seedless or Isabella.
- Plant grapevines between late autumn and early spring, making sure that the graft point is about 4cm above the level of the soil.
- Water well from late winter through to harvest time, but avoid wetting the leaves and fruit to help prevent fungal disease.
- To get plump, perfectly shaped table grapes, thin out the bunches when the fruit first appears by removing damaged, diseased or misshapen grapes with nail scissors.
- Before grapes ripen, protect them from wasps, birds and possums by carefully wrapping them in paper bags in which you have pierced holes.
- Pick grapes when the stem of the bunch starts to turn brown and always take the whole bunch, not individual grapes.
- Prune in late winter, removing all the branches that bore fruit the previous year.
Passionfruit grows well in subtropical and temperate climates.
- Good varieties for tropical and subtropical areas include Panama Red, Purple or Gold, Pandora and Supersweet.
- In temperate areas, good choices are Nelly Kelly (a grated, black passionfruit) or Banana (an elongated yellow fruit).
- Plant in spring in well-drained soil with added organic matter. Choose a warm, sunny position protected from strong winds. In cooler areas, try planting next to a north-facing masonry wall.
- Mulch well, but keep the area close to the stem clear. Fertilise at least twice between late winter and early autumn with compost, manure or organic fertiliser. Spread it about 2 metres from the main stem to cover all the feeding roots.
- Prune back after fruiting to encourage new growth, remove dead wood and keep the vine tidy.
- Passionfruit vines become unproductive after a few years, so you should start up another one in a new spot after 4-5 years.
Note: Passionfruit is best picked when its skin begins to wrinkle.
Kiwifruit prefers cool or temperate climates without late frosts or burning heat. Each variety differs in its chilling requirements, so choose one that suits your climate.
- The kiwifruit vine is a vigorous climber and can become quite heavy, so make sure the support is solidly built.
- Plant in winter in well-drained, slightly acid soil with plenty of added organic matter.
- Kiwifruit has male and female flowers, so you’ll need both a male and a female vine for pollination and fruit production. Female vines start to bear after about 4 years.
- Keep well watered from spring to early autumn when flowers and fruit are forming.
- Fertilise in spring and early summer with compost and blood and bone.
- In winter, prune back the laterals to a few buds beyond the previous season’s growth.
Note: Cats are attracted to the aroma released by kiwifruit roots and love to roll near the base of the plant. They’re only a threat to your plant if they sharpen their claws on the trunk, so it’s a good idea to cover its base with a protective sleeve.
For more gardening ideas, consult a gardening expert.