Growing Tamarillo

Growing Tamarillo

Growing Tamarillo from seed to harvest. It is a small tree or shrub and is also known as the tree tomato. The plant is a fast-growing tree that grows up to 5 meters. The tree usually forms a single upright trunk with lateral branches. The flowers and fruits hang from the lateral branches. The leaves are large, simple and perennial, and have a strong pungent smell. The flowers are pink-white, and form clusters of 10 to 50 flowers. They produce 1 to 6 fruits per cluster. The fruits are egg-shaped and about 4-10 centimeters long. The flesh of the fruit is tangy and variably sweet, with a bold and complex flavor, and may be compared to kiwifruit, tomato, guava, or passion fruit.

Growing Tamarillo from Seed

  • In spring, place the Tamarillo Seeds in a freezer for 24 hours to speed up germination.
  • Then sow the seeds about 10mm deep in a tray of fine soil, in a warm propagator between 24-29 degrees.
  • When the seedlings are about 5cm tall, carefully transplant into 7-10cm pots.
  • Once the seedlings have grown to around 20cm tall, transplant again into a larger pot.
  • It should remain in this pot until the plant is strong enough to be planted in the garden and when there is no risk of frost.
  • The roots are shallow and not very pronounced, therefore the plant is not tolerant of drought stress and can be damaged by strong winds.
  • It can be successfully grown in containers.
  • Tamarillos need to be planted in a warm, sunny and sheltered site.
  • The roots absolutely hate wet feet, so the soil should be very free-draining.

Maintaining Tamarillo Plants

  • The tamarillo’s leaves are very large, resulting in a lot of water evaporation, therefore regular watering is very important. Do not allow the root ball to dry out.
  • Don’t plant any other plants around the base of the tree and apply a mulch to keep the area weed-free, moisture-retaining and nutrient-rich.
  • For pruning a young plant, take out the tip of the main leader when it is about 1m tall, which will encourage branching.
  • Not much pruning is needed thereafter, but if you do decide to prune the tree, complete all pruning after harvest, because fruit is produced on new spring growth.
  • Pests such as green aphids may attack the undersides of the leaves, so spray the undersides of the leaves with Neem oil in early Spring as a preventative measure. Green aphids also tend to attack any new leaf growth, as well as the flower buds. Therefore it is very important to check your plants at least once a week for pests and spray with Neem oil if you see any pests.
  • The average lifespan of a tree tomato is about 4 years in terms of bearing fruit, so make sure to propagate new trees from cuttings or seed, when your tree is about 3 years old.

Harvesting Tamarillo Fruit

  • You can expect the first fruits from the second year of growth.
  • The fruits of the tree tomato ripen in late summer to autumn, depending on the location.
  • When they have taken on their typical orange to dark red color, and they cave in slightly when pressed, the fruits are ready to harvest.
  • Tamarillos will keep in the fridge for around two weeks, or about one week in a fruit bowl.
Medical Disclaimer

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment offered by healthcare professionals.

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