How To Grow A Tamarillo Tomato Tree
Tamarillos are a type of citrus tree native to Mexico and Central America. They have small green leaves with yellow flowers that bloom in March or April. These trees produce fruits that taste like tomatoes but they’re not really tomatoes at all; they’re called tamarinds (pronounced TAH-mar-ee).
They’re similar to the orange variety except they’re smaller and sweeter.
There are several varieties of tamarillos, some of which are edible while others aren’t. The ones that aren’t edible tend to be bitter and sour tasting. The sweetest flavor comes from one known as “tamarin” which is native to Mexico.
You’ll need to grow these types of tamarillos if you want them to taste good when eaten raw or cooked.
The best way to grow tamarillos is indoors where they don’t get too hot and dry out quickly. If you live in a warm climate, then it’s probably better to plant them outdoors since they will thrive there.
Growing Tamarillos From Seed Or Seeds?
You can start your own seeds from any kind of tamarillo tree. The seeds can be obtained online if you don’t have access to an actual tree. Most of the trees you can buy are grafted, which means that they’re selected for special purposes such as higher yields or disease resistance. Grafting isn’t all that common for home gardeners so the seeds you find should work just fine.
The seeds usually need to be soaked for 24 hours in order to help speed up their growth. However, this isn’t a good idea for shorter varieties since the taproot can become malformed. Most of these seeds also need to be planted in a seed-starting medium that’s kept moist.
You don’t want to plant them too deeply since tamarillo trees have long taproots that grow deep into the ground. Most of them grow fairly tall as well so give them plenty of room when planting them outside.
The seeds should be planted in a well-draining soil. Most of the time you will see these trees planted near rivers and other bodies of water since they don’t like dry areas. In fact, they won’t produce as many fruits if they don’t receive adequate water.
Solarizing The Soil For Maximum Fertilization And Growth
You can always take the easier approach and use a soil solarization method. This is common practice for many types of plants that have deep taproots. All you need to do is cover your planting area with plastic until the sun bakes the soil for four straight weeks.
This will kill off most of the harmful bacteria and other organisms that could harm your plants. It’s a good idea to use soil that hasn’t been treated with any chemicals before hand so you don’t risk burning your plants as well.
This is good for those who want to plant their tamarillos in pots. Just make sure you bury the container about halfway into the ground. You might want to place a rock or something heavy on top of it so it doesn’t get knocked over by mistake.
You can also do a combination of both by starting your seeds indoors first. Then, when they’re at least 2 feet tall, you can plant them outside. You will probably still need to keep them watered every day for the first week until they’re able to get sufficient water from the soil on their own.
Fertilizing Your Tamarillo Tree
It’s best to start off with a fertilizer that has a higher nitrogen ratio. This is due to the fact that most plants, especially trees, don’t need a lot of fertilizer in the beginning. This is all the information you would need to plant and grow tamarillo trees.
It may seem like a lot of work but it will be worth it when you finally get to enjoy the delicious fruits they provide.
Your first harvest can take up to two years but after that, you should be able to enjoy fresh tamarillos every couple of months or so. Once you taste the sweet and juicy goodness of a freshly picked tamarillo, you’ll wonder what took you so long to try growing your own in the first place!
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
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Sources & references used in this article:
The tree tomato, or” tamarillo”, a fast-growing, early-fruiting small tree for subtropical climates by JF Morton – Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, 1982 – journals.flvc.org
Idiogram ofCyphomandra betacea sendt., the tree tomato or tamarillo by JAM van der Mey, GAM van Hasselt, DEM Elsevier – Genetica, 1969 – Springer
The tamarillo: fruit growth and maturation, ripening, respiration, and the role of ethylene by HK Pratt, MS Reid – Journal of the Science of Food and …, 1976 – Wiley Online Library
Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Sendtn. (Tamarillo) by ML Guimarães, MC Tomé, GS Cruz – Trees IV, 1996 – Springer
The Tamarillo (Cyphomandra betacea) A Review of a Promising Small Fruit Crop by J Prohens, F Nuez – Small fruits review, 2001 – Taylor & Francis
A New ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’ Species in Solanum betaceum (Tamarillo) and Physalis peruviana (Cape Gooseberry) in New Zealand by LW Liefting, LI Ward, JB Shiller, GRG Clover – Plant Disease, 2008 – Am Phytopath Society
Advancing the tamarillo harvest by induced postharvest ripening by J Prohens, JJ Ruiz, F Nuez – HortScience, 1996 – journals.ashs.org
Somatic Embryogenesis Induction in Tamarillo (Cyphomandra betacea) by ML Lopes, MR Ferreira, JM Carloto, GS Cruz… – … in woody plants, 2000 – Springer
Protocol of Somatic Embryogenesis: Tamarillo (Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Sendtn.) by JM Canhoto, ML Lopes, GS Cruz – … embryogenesis in woody plants, 2005 – Springer