Lilikoi is a vigorous vine that produces exquisite flowers and delicious fruit. Native to Brasil, Paraguay, and Argentina, lilikoi grows throughout tropics. The Hawaiian acquisition came by way of Australia in 1923. The common local name Liliko’i comes from the area of Maui where it was first grown.
The purple form Passiflora edulis F. edulis grows best at higher elevations where it is a bit cooler. Its flowers open at dawn, closing in the afternoon. The flavor and aroma are more pleasant than the yellow form, although the harvest is much lower.
The yellow form Passiflora edulis F. falvircarpa grows best below 2,500 feet. Yellow is the more common form grown and sold in Hawaii.
Crossbreeding does occur, although it’s rare as the flowers are open at different times. Carpenter bees are the primary pollinator, honey bees, to a lesser extent. Both forms are started by seed or cutting and are relatively easy to grow.
Always use caution when growing vines in the tropics. Even a pono vine can climb up a tree and out-compete it. Give it something sturdy to climb on like a chain-link fence — train lilikoi vines on trellis or arbor for a beautiful display.
Prune after fruiting. Too much nitrogen results in more vegetative growth and not much fruit. Harvest by picking up dropped fruit. Shriveled fruit is often much sweeter. Fruit lasts 2 to 3 weeks, unrefrigerated. Both fruit and juice freeze well.
- Privacy / screening
- No dangers