Passion pests and diseases and remedies

Passion pests and diseases and remedies

The passion fruit vine is a shallow-rooted, woody, perennial, and climbing by means of tendrils. Tropical tendril-bearing vines of the genus Passiflora, having large showy flowers with a fringe-like crown and a conspicuous stalk bearing the stamens and pistil.

Diseases affecting passion

septoria spot in passion

Septoria spot

Causative agent; septoria lycopersia


  • Light brown and slightly round neurotic spots on leaves.
  • Leaves fall prematurely.
  • Lesions on flowers similar to those on leaves.
  • Leaf and fruit abscission, twig wilt and eventual plant death.


Its spread by splashing rain water, insects and cultivation equipment.


Timely application of a systemic fungicide e.g. ransom and exempo curve.

Root and crown rot

Causative agent; phytophthora nicotianae


  • Injured leaf shows a burned appearance.
  • Foliar blight followed by drop of flowers.
  • Mild chlorosis followed by wilting, defoliation and death of leaves.
  • Large grayish green aqueous spots on the fruits.


  • Plant passion where there is excellent drainage of soils.
  • Use of effective fungicides.
  • Select root-stocks or tree species that are less susceptible to phytophthora.

Fusarium wilt

Causative agent; fusarium oxysporum


  • Green leaves of young passion fruit plants show a pale green colour and mild die back.
  • Drop of lower leaves, general plant wilting and sudden death
  • In adult plants, the disease causes yellowing of young leaves, followed by plant wilt and death.


  • Use mycostop which is a biological fungicide that will safely protect crops against wilt.
  • The farm should be free of weeds as many weed species host the disease pathogen.


 scab affecting purple passion

Causative agent; Cladosporium


  • Small round spots on the leave initially translucent later become necrotic showing greenish-grey centers.
  • High number of lesions on flower buds.
  • On small fruits, symptoms are slightly sunken with small dark circular spots. On bigger fruits lesions on fruit skin grow and become cork like, prominent and brownish. Lesions do not reach the inner fruit.


The fungus is spread through infected seedlings, by wind and sprinkler water.


  • Choose resistant varieties when possible.
  • Rake under trees and destroy infected leaves to reduce the number of fungal spores available to start the disease cycle over again.
  • Water in the evening or early morning hours (avoid overhead irrigation) to give the leaves time to dry out before infection can occur.
  • Spread a 3- to 6-inch layer of compost under trees, keeping it away from the trunk, to cover soil and prevent splash dispersal of the fungal spores.


Causative agent; Colletotrichum brevisporum


  • Results in leaf and twig wilt and leaf loss.
  • Can also cause rotten passion fruit, recognized initially by oily-looking spots.
  • The spots have a cork-like surface and may display dark lesions and a slimy orange mass that becomes soft and sunken as the fruit continues to rot.


The fungus is spread mainly by raindrops, infected seeds, seedlings and cuttings.


Woodiness virus


  • light or dark green mosaic pattern often with light yellow discoloration.
  • Infected fruits appear small and shapeless with hardy peel and small juice area. Sometimes the disease makes the affected fruit crack.


  • Ensure that you use sickness-free planting material from credible sources.
  • Use yellow passion fruit as root-stocks for purple passion fruit. Yellow passion is resistant to the sickness.
  • Uproot sick vines and destroy by burning.
  • Keep the field free of weeds.
  • During pruning, make the pruning tool germ-free every time you move to the next plant by dipping it into a disinfectant, e.g. bleach.

Pests affecting passion fruits.

The pests of passion fruit are mites, fruit flies, thrips, aphids, anthribid beetles, and mealy bugs. The major pests are broad mites, carmine spider mites; red and black flat mites, barnacle scales, and fruit flies.

Here is a summary of some common pests in passion fruit farming.

  1. Mearly bugs

Stationary oval shaped pinkish in colour and covered with waxy thread.

Prune and destroy affected parts at the initial stage of infestation.

Use an effective insecticide, e.g. prosper.

  1. Red spider mites

They occur on the lower surface of the leaf. Keep the field free of weeds as they habour these pests.

Spray effective insecticide.

  1. Aphids

These are green sap sucking insects which transmit virus e.g. woodiness virus. Use an effective insecticide e.g. karate.

  1. Thrips

Attacked plant parts shrivel, flowers and young fruits fall prematurely. Use an effective insecticide e.g. karate.



nematodes affecting passion roots


Are soil inhabitants causing formation of galls or knots on roots, yellowing of leaves, stunting and eventual wilting of the affected plants.

For effective control of nematodes use of yellow passion which is tolerant to nematode for root-stocks.

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