Time for last year’s update! This was my third year of growth. This was the year I began to see the downsides.
My primary vine, the one which fruited for me in year one, continues to produce generously and deliciously. I have no complaints about it, and the lawn mower keeps it under control well.
The other two are growing vigorously and even setting a good amount of fruit… but very little of it ripened before the killing frost. I’ve come to believe that I’m in a fairly marginal zone when it comes to getting fruit from maypops, and it just happens that the microclimate by my mailbox is perfect for them, while my backyard isn’t. My working theory is that the vines want a little more heat to ripen their fruit, and having asphalt on two sides provides that (I’ve also noticed that the parts of the vines which extend over the road are the best fruiters).
I did get a few fruits off my other vines, though. I learned that I do not like the flavor of the wild one I, although I still used it in juicing. The few that I got off my other Edible Landscaping-sourced vine reminded me a bit of guava. Hopefully it will develop out a little more next year; I think it really wants more sun. Both of these vines continue to be frighteningly vigorous when it comes to sending out runners.
A fourth vine has also joined the ranks, which is a cross between the wild and the mailbox plant. It set a lot of fruit, but nothing ripened. They have the larger oblong shape from the wild one, but if they have its flavor next year, I’m taking it out.
The main vine is still delicious. I snack on them when walking the dog and then juice the rest. It makes an excellent addition to orange juice or ginger ale.
I would still recommend them to newbies, but you have to make sure you have it in the right location, and I wouldn’t bank on year 1 fruit. Give it full sun, and hem it in with asphalt and a lawn mower.