The Q&A Archives: tomato tree

Question: I have been growing a tomato tree from seed for over a year. How long does it take before to get any tomatoes? It has been ou side for 3 months. Do I have to bring it in the house when the weather gets colder?

Answer: The plant known as a tree tomato is Cyphomandra, a tropical plant that grows about 10 feet tall. It will bear tomato-looking fruit, which is edible, but doesn't taste anything like real tomatoes. The fruit can be eaten fresh, but is usually stewed and made into jelly. This plant is more of a curiosity than anything else, so you'll probably be disappointed in the quality of the crop. But, after a year of care, it would be nice to get to taste one! The capacity to bear fruit is more a function of overall health than a calendar age, so you'll need to do the best you can to keep the plant growing vigorously.

Since this plant is from the tropics it needs warm temperatures and full sun so a summer outside is great. Once temperatures begin to dip near 50 you'll need to bring it indoors. Do this gradually so it can adjust to the lower light intensity. The potting soil should be rich, coarse and well-drained; fertilize while the plant is in active growth from spring through fall. Be sure it receives copious amounts of water during the growing season but cut back on the water when growth slows for the winter. Once indoors you'll also have to provide it with extra humidity with either a humidifier or possibly a pebble tray of water.

Good luck with your crop!

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