Tomato Tree (Cyphomandra Betacea) Or Tamarillo

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The tomato tree (Cyphomandra betacea syn. Solanum betaceum) also called tamarillo or tomato de la Paz belongs to the same family, those of Solanaceae, as our garden tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) but it forms a small perennial shrub, a shrub with a trunk and a crown tree slightly spread like a parasol.

tree tomato (Cyphomandra betacea syn, Solanum betaceum) tamarillo or tomato from La Paz

Given its region of origin, South America, and more particularly Bolivia, but also Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, the tree tomato fear frost and can not resist not a thermometer falling below 0° C, or -2° C to -3° C maximum. However, if it is grown in a large pot, it can be returned to a greenhouse during the winter, in our latitudes.

Its broad, heart-shaped, rather dark green leaves can reach up to 30 cm long and are slightly downy. They give off a particular smell but beware, they are toxic.

During the summer, starting from the second year, the tree tomato is adorned with clusters of small white to pink, star-shaped flowers with a pleasantly sweet perfume that will turn into oval fruits resembling a big plum or an egg. of chicken. Maturing when they are orange or dark red, these tamarillos have a refreshing flesh sweet and sour taste that lies between the passion fruit and currant.

  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Type: perennial
  • Origin: South America
  • Color: white to purple-pink flowers
  • Sowing: yes
  • Cutting: yes
  • Planting: spring
  • Harvest: November to January
  • Height: up to 4 m

Ideal soil and exposure for tree tomatoes

The tree tomato is grown in full sun, with shade because it does not like sunburn, in a warm environment and sheltered from the wind, in a rich soil, fertilized and well drained (especially not stagnant water especially in the saucer of the pot). In a tank, the mixture can be composed of equal parts of loam, compost and compost.

Date of sowing, cutting and planting tomato tree

It is between February and April that you will sow tamarillos seeds at 25-30° C. When the emergence is started (about 3 weeks), you will wait until the plants are a little developed and you will transplant them in pots of about fifteen centimeters, keeping them at the shelter until the risks of jellies are discarded. So you can install them in bins or in the ground depending on the region where you are.

Stem cuttings in summer can be done to renew the plant.

Advice of maintenance and culture of the tree tomato

Watering must be important especially during the summer if the drought and heat are at the rendezvous: plan a daily watering, avoiding wetting the foliage. In a container, as soon as the surface of the substrate is dry, water, but do not leave stagnant water.

The pot must be out outside between May and October and then returned to the greenhouse or veranda before the cold, during which watering will be less.

Make additions of compost, the plant is greedy.

After harvesting, the plant should be folded down to 1.5 m. Otherwise, it is better to renew it after a decade.

Harvesting, conservation and use of the tree tomato

The fruits are harvested when they are a little soft to the touch and they have a beautiful orange or burgundy color. They keep for a week in the refrigerator, and if you have picked them up before full maturity, they will continue to ripen.

To eat, it is best to remove the skin which is a little hard and unpalatable. They are eaten fresh, raw, in fruit salad, in jam, in juice, but also as a side dish for a sweet and salty effect.

tree tomato (Cyphomandra betacea syn, Solanum betaceum) tamarillo or tomato from La Paz

Diseases, pests and parasites of tree tomato

The tree tomato is not susceptible to pests and diseases.

Location and favorable association of the tree tomato

It is a plant that is grown outdoors in regions with mild winter (Mediterranean region and Atlantic coast), along a wall or hedge that protects it from the winds.

Elsewhere, the tomato tree will be installed in a tray of 50 to 60 cm wide minimum (not necessarily very high given its shallow root system).

There are 2 species Cyphomandra betacea and Cyphomandra corymbiflora.

Cyphomandra betacea It has the most common red fruit with orange flesh and black grain, and an orange-yellow fruit variety with orange flesh.

Cyphomandra corymbiflora is a species that has the advantage of being more hardy (-10° C) with blue to purple flowers and yellow-green fruits with darker vertical streaks.

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Video: How to Prune Tomato Tree - Tamarillo - Tomate de Arbol - Maintenance - TvAgro por Juan Gonzalo Angel.

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