Tamarillo – Cyphomandra betacea
The seeds and also the young plants grow best in a lightly compacted soil with good drainage.
We germinate by filling the tubestock base with coarse potting mix then layer seed raise mix that is 50-60% sand, deposit 2 seeds and cover lightly with the same mix.
The roots will not tolerate standing water, which may kill the plant at any stage, in a matter of days.
The optimum soil temperature for germination is 20 – 25 C consistently, and as we do not sow in a controlled environment that requires sowing to happen in October when temperature fluctuation has ceased.
We have better germination in a controlled environment but the follow on seedling success rate was only 50%.
These are still quite ‘primitive’ plants and are best sown to try and match their original environment.
C.betacea is a subtropical plant that is usually found at from 300 to 3000 metres elevation in its native environment.
Germination time is usually 14 – 27 days if sown in mid to late Spring.
Care must be taken that drying out does not occur during the germination or emergence periods. One missed watering will kill the seed before it has a chance to emerge.
At the seedling stage as well as to maturity, tip cuttings will tend to produce a stronger, more compact bush, better suited to potted sale.
As the bushes mature, regular tip pruning will produce much more vigorous fruiting.
Just like Tomatoes, they are self fertile but do seem to benefit from insect interference. This is based on observation but we do not know why.