A Rich History

Clarence Walter Kelly began experimenting with grafting passionfruit vines in the 1920’s while running the Clarinda Nurseries in Moorabbin with his wife Florence.

Clary, as he was fondly known, perfected the technique of grafting the popular black passionfruit vine onto a hardier rootstock, creating a plant that was less susceptible to disease, pests and frosts while being more prolific in fruit production. Initial rootstock trials with the banana passionfruit vine were superceded by the European blue passionfruit, which became the official rootstock of all grafted Nellie Kelly Passionfruit vines in 1945.

Extensive press adverts in Melbourne newspapers during the 1930’s and 40’s informed the gardening public of the virtues of Nellie Kelly’s Grafted Black Passionfruit vines and by the 50’s they were sold and grown Australia-wide. Such was the vine’s success, in 1958 the name ‘Nellie Kelly’ became one of the first plants in Australia to be trade marked.

Nellie Kelly Passionfruit Nurseries relocated to Heatherton in the 1980’s, following the passing of both Clary and Florence. It has continued to expand since then with several passionfruit varieties added to the range as well as various fruiting plants. Nellie Kelly products are readily available across Australia through major chains and leading local nurseries.