Fruiting Plants that Grow in the Central Coast Area
Our members share information about the fruiting plants they grow in the Central Coast area.
Please help contribute to this effort! You do not need to be an "expert!" Share your personal experience about growing any type or variety of fruiting plant in your area on the Central Coast.
Fruit growing on Cherimoya tree
Mark Twain called the cherimoya "the most delicious fruit known to men." The creamy texture of the flesh gives the fruit its secondary name: custard apple. The cherimoya (Annona cherimola), is thought to be native to Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Today cherimoya are grown in tropical regions throughout the world. If you can grow Avocado then you should try the Cherimoya.
Young plants are susceptible to frost but trees become more cold tolerant with age and do well in coastal areas of Central California. Cherimoya have a long growing season: February thru September. With 9 months of flowering your “Custard Apple” can produce a succession of fruit. My favorite way to eat the Cherimoya is to harvest it when it is soft- place it in the refrigerator and eat it with a spoon the next day.
There are named cultivars of Cherimoya but excellent fruit trees can be grown from seed. If you find a fruit that has been on the ground for several days, you might find a seed already sprouting inside that fruit. The trees are similar to Avocado in that you have female flowers opening at one time of the day and male flowers opening at another time. When a tree is small, you might try hand pollination. A larger tree has enough crossover that hand pollination isn’t necessary.
Both seedling and grafted trees can produce tasty fruit when 3-5 years of age. They tend to hit their stride at about 5 years. Smaller trees may require hand pollination to set fruit, older and larger trees seem to set fruit without being hand pollinated, likely due to a combination of wind and various pollinators doing the pollinating.
Cherimoya trees are somewhat drought tolerant. They are fast growing and require aggressive pruning to keep them small enough to avoid the use of orchard ladders. To keep your tree at a manageable height you can prune several times throughout the year. (Trees bear fruit on new wood only.)
Information provided by Larry Hollis, and from Lori Bright's write-up of Larry's presentation at our September 2017 meeting.
Flowering Feijoa tree
Acca sellowiana, a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, is native to the highlands of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, northern Argentina, and Colombia. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree.
The variety we grow in Shell Beach is Coolidge. The bush is about 20 years old and grows fruit up to about 12 cm long x 4 to 5 cm in diameter. The bush is growing within a hundred yards of San Luis Bay.
Feijoa flowers, also edible
Information provided by Marv Daniels.
A bowl of tasty dried jujube fruit
Ziziphus jujube is in the Buckthorn Family, and is originally from Central Asia. With the Jujube you can eat the fruit fresh or let it dry on the tree for a more intense sweet flavor. They taste great either way. Jujubes are an excellent source of Vitamin C and iron and contain 22 Amino acids as well as many other nutrients. There are many ways to enjoy them but eaten in Oatmeal seems to be a big hit.
The tree loves heat and tolerates both poor water quality as well as poor soil. The trees are drought tolerant but fruit best with regular water. The flowers are tiny but smell sweet. The fruit of the Jujube are harvested from the beginning of September, and then finish before Halloween. Don’t try to grow them from seed however, that is a most difficult feat. The Winter pleasure of this tree comes in admiring the tree’s beautiful silhouette. The tree itself can handle temperatures well below 0 degrees. If you are coastal, you might have to locate that perfect micro-climate for your Jujube (such as up against a south-facing wall) to give it the heat it needs. If you are planting your trees in an open aspect, place your Jujube trees on centers of 15’- 25’.
Information provided by Alisha Taff, owner of Rock Front Ranch. Rock Front Ranch is in a beautiful open location near New Cuyama.
Macadamia tree on Jack Swords' property
Macadamia (Macadamia tetraphylla) trees are in the Protea Family and are from Australia. Macadamia trees are cold sensitive but a mature tree could take temperatures as low as 19 degrees. At maturity they are very drought resistant large tree. These trees are deep rooted and tough. No need to use mechanical means for harvest, the nuts fall to the ground once they are ripe. A named cultivar is a “Sure thing” but they can be grown from seed as well.
Do put your trees in the ground as they don’t like being container grown. Macadamia trees like an acid soil 5.5 to 6.5 is ideal.
The tree is resistant to Armillaria fungus but do have one pesky pest. The “Tree Rat” or “Roof Rat” is the trees' worst enemy. Jack has devised a most amazing “Rat-Trap-on-a-Stick” contraption. Baited with a macadamia nut he has great success with his trap. (See pictures in our April 2019 newsletter.) Macadamia are self-fruitful and can be planted on a 15’ center.
Information provided by Jack Swords and Lori Bright.