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Tiny Dwarf Tamarillo flowers.

 
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I started some Dwarf Tamarillo (Solanum abutiloides aka Cyphomandra abutiloides) in little cups and they made flowers!  If they make tiny little fruit my head will explode.  This one is about four inches tall.
IMG_0786-(2).JPG
A tiny dwarf tamarillo with a tiny flower.
A tiny dwarf tamarillo with a tiny flower.
 
Simon Forman
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It did make a fruit, and it's not a Dwarf Tamarillo!

It's Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry (Physalis pruinosa).
 
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Nice!
I grew both of those this year for the first time and they haven't disappointed. The ground cherries went strong until late July when the highs were triple-digits and it got too dry. The tamarillos have been growing like crazy, and started flowering in the summer, but didn't make many berries. Now that the temps are lower, though, they are starting to get covered in berries.
In the reviews on the Baker Creek website, multiple people said the first-year fruit is often bitter, but the taste gets better each year. I have 4 or 5 planted in the ground, but kept a few seedlings in containers that I hope to overwinter in the greenhouse. I'm in zone 8a/b, and we typically get just enough frosts to keep us from growing "true" tropicals outside during winter, but we'll see how they do.
IMG_20201025_100856244-3.jpg
Dwarf tamarillo fruit
Dwarf tamarillo fruit
 
Simon Forman
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OMG that plant is gorgeous!

I tried both too this year but forgot which was which.  I started them
way late (in late July) and it's too cold here, so the ground cherries
(as you can see in the photos) are only a couple of inches tall.  The
dwarf tamarillos sprouted and then steadfastly refused to grow.  Only one
has second leaves on it, the rest have stayed the same size as when they
first sprouted, with just two leaves, for a couple of months.  My hope is
that they're just waiting for Spring to do their thing.
 
Simon Forman
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Some photos of the berries.  These plants are 4" - 6" tall.
IMG_0860-(2).JPG
Ground cherry lanterns.
Ground cherry lanterns.
IMG_0863-(2).JPG
Ground cherry lantern and flower.
Ground cherry lantern and flower.
 
Kc Simmons
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hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
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Simon Forman wrote:OMG that plant is gorgeous!

I tried both too this year but forgot which was which.  I started them
way late (in late July) and it's too cold here, so the ground cherries
(as you can see in the photos) are only a couple of inches tall.  The
dwarf tamarillos sprouted and then steadfastly refused to grow.  Only one
has second leaves on it, the rest have stayed the same size as when they
first sprouted, with just two leaves, for a couple of months.  My hope is
that they're just waiting for Spring to do their thing.



Thank you! That's the biggest of my tamarillos and it's probably close to 5 feet tall, started from seed in late spring. I had an unexpected surgery in March, which kept me from actually planting the seedlings until mid May. The ground cherries seemed to do better before it got hot in July, but the tamarillos didn't start picking up growth until June when the temps were in the upper 90s. The big one in the picture has developed a woody trunk, so I plan to mulch it and see if it can survive the winter. I also have a few smaller ones in pots that I plan to put in the greenhouse. Truthfully they grow so quickly from seed that I could probably just grow them as annuals each year but I've read the fruits get better as the tree gets older, so hoping to keep some alive to see for myself next year.
I have a few volunteer ground cherries that recently came up after one of the rainy days a few weeks ago. They're about a foot tall now, but I haven't seen any blooms on them yet. Our average first frost date is like Nov 21, so not sure if they will have a chance to fruit before it freezes. At least now I know they will grow in fall, so I might try planting seeds for a second crop next summer and see if they will produce. After my surgery there were a lot of ground cherries that I didn't get to harvest or were damaged by stink bugs, so I kind of expect to see lots of volunteers next spring in the asparagus bed and strawberry bed from all the berries that fell from the plant and didn't get picked.
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