I’ve sighted the first pop, just before May!
I’ve never seen them here before June…
Definitely nothing from them here yet. I do have a lutea which is showing growth, but it’s potted.
All my others went out this week and got cut back very hard.
The vine has grown. I stuck some things in a ground for it to climb. It has sent runners out much further into the lawn, which I just mow down. So far it hasn’t crossed the driveway.
Most importantly, fruit is beginning to form!
That vine will eat somebody!
I saw a wild passionflower vine out back. Maybe I’ll mow around it for awhile and see what happens. I’ve never seen fruit on them around here, but they show up in new places, so there must be seeds coming from somewhere?
… or they are popping up from underground runners.
I guess that was ambiguous. A passionflower vine will show up in a garden bed with no other plants within a hundred yards. I’ll fear for my safety if you tell me they can send runners that far!
Maypops hide their fruit. It stays green, and just drops off when ripe, so you really need to be looking for it to find it.
(They also need cross-pollination, but if you’ve really got seedlings popping up (easily tested by pulling one up and seeing if you get the whole thing, or if it is a runner), then you probably have that.)
The harvest has begun, and that vine is about twice as big as in the previous picture.
I think I need to find some other passiflora to cross these with just to get colored fruit, because it can be hard to find the ripe ones as they drop off the vine.
I suspect I’m too far north for gulf fritillaries to visit me, but a relative of its has stopped by! Here’s what I believe is a variegated fritillary caterpillar. A few hundred more and they might actually keep the vines in check.
My wild vine is finally dropping fruit. These are more oblong and the inside is yellower.
Unfortunately, I did not like it. There’s an off taste to it.
Luckily, my Edible Landscaping vine is raining fruit down on me, and it is delicious. I’m now at that awkward point where there’s too much fruit for me to just browse, but not enough for me to process into anything. Right now, I’m throwing them in the food processor every few days and just making juice out of them. Next year I’m going to have to come up with some proper recipes.
I’ll follow up with a fuller report at the end of the season.
Wow. The EL maypop strain tastes good, eh? Very encouraging.
Do all your other Maypops have off flavors?
@tjasko my wild maypops taste good when they are harvested before they get to the stage where everything inside is yellow. Once they get to that yellow stage, mine also develop an off flavor. They never taste great, though.
@haldog How do you know when to harvest them? My biggest problem with these things is that I can’t tell ripeness, and just have to wait for them to drop. I’m thinking of trying to hybridize them with other species just so I can get a fruit that changes color when ripe.
@Matt_in_Maryland Yes, the EL strain is tasty (and visibly different from my wild in a lot of ways: fruit is spherical instead of oblong, pulp is less yellow, it doesn’t get the “dimpled” look when ripe). I don’t have other strains (yet) to sample. I started with just the 2 EL vines and the wild one. My mailbox seems to be the ideal micro-climate for maypops; the vine there is much more productive than the other two, but what little I’ve tasted of my second EL vine tells me it’s pretty much the same as the other one.
Now, I do have a Wild x EL seedling that has taken off this year and has a lot of fruit. If any of it ripens, I’ll report in on how that worked out. Improving maypops is one of my long-term goals.
@tjasko I look at them every couple of days. When they stop getting bigger I give them about another 10 days and then start feeling how well attached they are to the vine. If I have to use a lot of force, it’s too early, but some very light force means it’s about right. They also get a slightly duller green color.
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.
My seeds are on the way. Did you plant yours right in the ground or start indoors?
For what its worth, my wife and I love the wild varieties in Eastern Kentucky. When left out on our counter to wrinkle and turn yellow, the flavor and sweetness improve dramatically. I actually think these could be my wife’s favorite fruit, and she is a fruit connoisseur.
I ordered one from Edible Landscaping, as I’ve got a little spit of land bordered by the street, my driveway, and a concrete lined section of my drainage ditch. Grass has been in retreat from that area for a while, as it simply gets too hot and too dry.
I’m hoping a passionflower vine will do well there, and chase out the weeds that colonize the spot every year.