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In the Garden – Tamarillos

546513_tamarillo_red_fruit

Native to South America, Tamarillos (or tree-tomatoes as my grandmother called them), were introduced to NZ in the late 1800’s.  The small, large-leafed trees thrive in moderate NZ conditions – and need shelter and light, well-drained soil.  The fruit have remained a popular seasonal treat due to their unique flavour, nutritional qualities and attractive colour.
When ripe, the fruit falls to the ground and it is a joy to go out and collect the glossy, deep ruby-red eggs from the grass beneath the trees.  They can be eaten fresh, stewed or made into deserts, chutneys or sauces.  The trees are fairly low-maintence, and have a long fruiting season.  Find a local nursery or garden centre at findaplant.co.nz and enjoy growing tamarillos in your own garden.
Native to South America, Tamarillos (or tree-tomatoes as my grandmother called them), were introduced to NZ in the late 1800’s.  The small, large-leafed trees thrive in moderate NZ conditions – and need shelter and light, well-drained soil.  The fruit have remained a popular seasonal treat due to their unique flavour, nutritional qualities and attractive colour.
When ripe, the fruit falls to the ground and it is a joy to go out and collect the glossy, deep ruby-red eggs from the grass beneath the trees.  They can be eaten fresh, stewed or made into deserts, chutneys or sauces.  The trees are fairly low-maintence, and have a long fruiting season.  Find a local nursery or garden centre at findaplant.co.nz and enjoy growing tamarillos in your own garden.

15 comments on “In the Garden – Tamarillos

  1. Pingback: In the Garden – Tamarillos – grow your own fruit - Gardening Advice - Winter Gardening - Indoor Gardening

  2. I have my Tamarillo in 2 tyres in my backyard. It has a sturdy stem and is a couole of metres high. I cut the centre out a few months ago and it has a bush of healthy green leaves at the top. The thing is how long can I leave it like that? I am scared to move it as it might die. Is it ok to leave like it is, it seems to b doin great. Wot do I feed it and when? Lyndy

  3. My question is i have a Tamarillo tree in my back yard, it is 12 months old, well drained soil, well wartered and fertilised it is covered in flowers but i have just noticed after some of the flowers have been in flower for a couple of days or so they fall off stem and all leaving no fruit behind.
    Can you help.

  4. Our tamarillo has developed brown edges to the leaves and it does not look healthy. Is this a sign of needing water ? Is Nitrophoska Blue a good fertilizer for tamarilloes? Our tree has flowers on for the first time but some have fallen off. HEEEELLLLPPPP!

  5. I have had a Tamaillo plant now for 3 months. It started growing really well. Approx. 12 inches in the first month of tranplanting. Then some of the leaves started turning brown around the edges like it was sunburnt or rusting. After a whilethe leave gets that bad it drops off. I have sprayed for white affids but that did not seem to make any difference. Can you offer any advice please. Thank you.

  6. Lynn Ebert on said:

    I posted a comment before about my tamarillo teree. Mine also had hundreds of flowers on it but they also died and dropped of. I have now pruned it and transplanted it out of the tyres and put in the ground, Its prob going ti die now. Who answers all of these questions posted. The public or the website, I need advise

  7. Hi Lynn & all
    I think.the site owner is busy. As a long time tam.grower I’llshare my wisdom. The good thing about tam’s is that they fruit earlyin life,however they reallydon’t like to have their roots too wet or too dry. If their leaves are drooping (as mine have been in this hot summer) give them twolitres of water around their roots. After an hour the leaves should perk up. (If the ground is penetrable,ie.) I don’t fertilize mine (except with mulch,if available). Those of you with leaves browning at the edges & falling off, may be over-fertilizing, &/or underwatering.
    Don’t worry about your tam.tree,just get to know it. In very hot weather it’s probably thirsty ;in very cold weather it’s probably too wet around the roots (& doesn’t like the cold.)

    There is good advice on tam.growing on some of the other tam. sites on Google page 1.
    Tam’s dolike deepsoil,but mine manage on a rather thin layer of topsoil,because I have the time to read what is going on by looking at their leaves, & then act quickly to save them.

    They are fairly forgiving & also don’t cost much & they grow true to colour from seed. (I have occasionally grown one froma bought fruit rather than buy a new tree.)

    Do not be too quick to pullyour ‘dead’tam.out. It may spring back tolife – given 2 or 3 months. I’ve had that happen after total loss of leaves from frost, & from ‘wet feet’ (waterlogged soil).

    When your tree is moist around the roots, put mulchof grass clippings, shredded trees,or whatever on topof the root area,starting 2cm from the stem & going out at least 30cmin each direction. All the best allof you. Sue.

  8. Chris Ball on said:

    Hi, Just reading about the Tamarillo trees. My garden shop man said to chop it off at knee height after the fruiting season. Do it every year for 4 years then pull the tree out and plant a new one!!! I did this the first year and only had the stump left. It sprouted five or six new branches. It is now about 2 metres high and has great fruit on it. It is the NEW wood that carries the fruit so don’t let you tree get too leggy. Keep it trimmed. Cut out some of the older branches and tip-prune to keep the size down. They seem to sprout new growth quite easily. MY tree is growing on a bank on a section which is reclaimed hillside (fill). It drops flowers, which just seems to be a self thinning process, particularly in the dry weather. I think the leaf edge browning is caused by wind damage. They certainly don’t like too much of it. Cheers.

  9. Thanks for your advice Chris, I have tried similar pruning in a coastal site – as it grew bigger each year it got bitten by salt air – but most was sheltered – it has great fruit on it now 5 years down the track.
    cheers

    Tim Durrant

  10. Hi there, seems alot of us have no idea what to do with our tam’s! we got given one for a birthday present as my husband loves them, however as i am NOT a fantastic gardener, i was a bit slow on the frost cover and it got a lil frost bite! all 3 leaves fell off (this is only 6months after planting) and the stem of plant got very browned. I have been mulch/composting it and the stem is strong, i am hoping it will come back to life…. is this gonna happen or is it a goner??

  11. Brian Moon on said:

    As with Ken’s problem above, the tamarillo tree grew beautifully then the leaves turned brown and dropped off and now some bug seems to be attacking the new leaves and there are great big rough edged holes. We spread vaseline on the trunk thinking it might be earwigs but the garden centre man said it was unlikely to be them as the leaves are too tough for an earwig. Any advice would be welcome.

  12. Take some foliage into the garden center or Fruitfed and someone there will be able to identify the bug. You could also try a large dose of pyrethrum if you want a natural solution or take their advice.

  13. Hey folks just be patient mine has been moved twice and been bitten by frost for the first two years and suddenly this year is loaded with fruit. SO don’t despair even when the trunk goes brown and it looks like it will die it bounces back again the following  year. Mine is now 3 years old and doing great’

  14. JaydesGranny on said:

    I have a tamarillo tree that is 12 months old and is growing well.  The problem I have is that there are hundreds of ants living on the underside of the leaves.  Can someone tell me of an easy and safe way to get rid of them please.

  15. Try using Pyrethrum spray initially to control the colony and then use natural ant bait. There are some ideas here 
    http://tipnut.com/ant-killer/ 

    They may also be a sign of other pests so keep a look out.

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