Today I did something I thought was rather extreme just a couple of weeks ago… I HAND-POLLINATED the flowers on my Passion Fruit vine. This may sound a bit fanatical to some, but at least the Passion Fruit blooms are open in the daytime so I didn’t have to lurk around in the dark (like my neighbor Steve did to pollinate his Dragon Fruit flowers—see 6/4 post). I feel like I am in the big league of “plant people” now.
The Passion Fruit flowers bloom in the late morning/early afternoon and last approximately one day. This variety of Passion Fruit (Passiflora Edulis) will fruit approximately 80 days from bloom. This is what I bought the plant for. Although the flowers are spectacular, the fruit is tasty and I want it too! Passiflora Edulis is supposed to be self-pollinating though it couldn’t hurt to have bees and/or Humming Birds help things along. I had bees in my yard when the mango trees were in bloom but those blooms and bees are gone now. To potentially increase the fruit production, I’m actually conducting a little experiment: I am hand-pollinating the flowers that appear on the right side of the plant and leaving the flowers on the left side to fend for themselves. I’ll report back once the fruiting starts and let you know if there’s a difference between what was hand-pollinated and what wasn’t.
Here’s how to do the deed: The Passion Fruit Flower has five anthers, with yellow/orange pollen on the undersides. Take a brush or Q-tip and gently swab off some of the pollen and then brush the pollen onto the three stigma (see picture). Since bees naturally go from flower to flower, to mimic this activity, you can brush pollen from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of another…
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