Care of Tomato Trees - Knowledgebase Question

Mesa, AZ
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Question by arnell
June 28, 1998
Please help us with info on Tomato trees. We recently bought two and don't know enough. How much water? How much sun? How much heat? Why are the leaves curling a little? Food, and how much and when? etc...Anything you can tell us will be very much appreciated!! It's getting really hot here and we don't want to hurt them! Thank you! Arnell

Answer from NGA
June 28, 1998
The only plant I know of that is called the Tree-Tomato is
Cyphomandra, a tropical plant that grows about 10 feet tall. It will bear tomato-looking fruit, which is edible, but they don't taste anything like real tomatoes. The fruit can be eaten fresh, but are usually stewed and made into jelly.

Fortunately, it's easy to care for. It may be tough in your climate, though, because they require high humidity. You can acheive this by misting them a few times a day or placing a humidifier nearby (indoors). Or you can place their pots on trays of stone; fill the trays with water, but don't let it come in contact with the pots, or the plants might drown. As the water evaporates from the trays, it will humidify the area around the plants.

In gardens, any ordinary, slightly fertile, well-drained soil will support it's growth. It prefers full sun, but in Mesa, I'd make sure to protect them from the most intense sun in the afternoon. If you're growing yours in containers, they require a rich, coarse, well-drained soil. Fertilize these from spring through fall, and it's best to top-dress established container plants with a rich soil or compost mixture in early spring before growth begins. They need lots of water while they're in active growth (keep soil moist, but don't waterlog it - roots need water AND air!). In winter months, where temperatures dip to 45F-50F at night, Tree-Tomato should go semi-dormant, and need less moisture. Hope this helps!

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