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Red Tamarillo

Solanum betaceum

Red tamarillos, or tree tomatoes, are favoured for their sweet and acidic taste, primarily used in soups and stews. They also make superb tomato juice.

This small oval to egg-shaped fruit has a pointy end averaging six cms in diameter and about eight cms in length. The skin is smooth glossy and thin, ripening from an orange-gold colour to a muted red-brown when mature.

The flesh has a semi-firm, orange colour with a succulent consistency. Inside this flesh are two chambers filled with a soft pulp, housing many thin edible black seeds. Biting into the fruit will reveal a tart flavour with tangy acidic notes. The skin is sometimes discarded before eating.

Tamarillo plants do not like frost, please ensure you cover them with frost cover if planting in a cold winter climate.

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SKU: TRE002 Categories: ,

Position : Tamarillo Tree Tomatoes should be planted in partial shade, not direct sunlight. Dappled shade from a large tree would be ideal.

Fertilise : Apply a fruit tree fertiliser each summer. For the first two months after planting, fertilise once a month.

It is an evergreen semi-tree (up to 5 meters tall), although it can be deciduous in cool climates. It is fast growing and will reach peak production after four years with a life expectancy of 8-12 years. It grows as a single upright trunk with lateral branches and has large, heart-shaped leaves.

Fruit is borne on laterals, so once the desired height is reached, snip off the growing top(s) to encourage lateral formation. Laterals will carry clusters of white flowers and 3-12 egg-shaped fruits per cluster. Laterals that have fruited must be removed and replaced with new branches, as they will produce fewer fruits in the following year.

Your Tree Tomato, Tamarillo, should start to produce fruits after about 18 months.

Should there be no fluctuation in temperature, Tamarillo’s are likely to fruit throughout the year.

Pests: Aphids, leafhoppers, and whitefly are a big problem and can amass huge numbers of new red growth. Building up plant resistance through regular fertilising is vital, and when pests are noticed (usually when leaves curl at their tips), the culprits will be hiding underneath. Spray the tree regularly with a Neem Oil solution or EM Control to remove pests.

Pruning : Pruning is necessary to ensure good fruit yield and to limit uneven ripening.

Harvesting : They are harvested by pulling in a snapping motion or preferably using scissors, leaving 2-3 cm of the stem still attached for more extended storage.

Fruits can be refridgerated for up to 10 weeks; however, discolouration may occur should temperatures dip below 3 degrees. As Tamarillo fruits containa lot of pectin, making for easier preservation.

They are versatile and can be eaten raw, made into the most delicious tomato juice, jams, stews, etc.

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