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Tree tomatoes, photo courtesy of Quentin Bacon/StockFood Creative/Getty Images
Tree tomatoes, photo courtesy of Quentin Bacon/StockFood Creative/Getty Images

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Zone
Zones 14-24, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Tree Tomato, Tamarillo

Solanaceae
Evergreen, Edible fruit, Shrubs, Semi-evergreen

Treelike Andean native knownbotanically as Solanum betaceum(Cyphomandra betaceae).Fast growth to 10–18 ft. talland two-thirds as wide. Pointedoval, 4–10-in.-long leaves; smallpinkish flowers in summer andfall. In winter, bears egg-shaped,2–3-in.-long red fruit (there arealso yellow varieties). Fruit hasacid flavor somewhat like thatof tomato—if you find it too tart,try stewing it with a little sugar.

Grow from seed like tomato.Harvest fruit when it is fully colored;pluck from tree by snappingoff, leaving stem attached.Bears on new growth. In latewinter, prune back branchesthat have fruited by one-fourthto one-third (this will preventfruit from developing ever fartherout from center of plant).Control sucking insects. Frostsensitive; give overhead protectionin Zones 14, 15, 18–21.Fruiting is more reliable inwarmer part of range.

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