Container Grown Jujube Trees: Tips For Growing Jujube In Pots
By: Amy Grant
Hailing from China, jujube trees have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. The lengthy cultivation may be a testament to many things, not the least is their lack of pests and ease of growing. Easy to grow they may be, but can you grow a jujube in a container? Yes, growing jujube in pots is possible; in fact, in their native China, many apartment dwellers have potted jujube trees on their balconies. Interested in container grown jujube? Read on to find out how to grow jujube in containers.
About Growing Jujube in Containers
Jujubes thrive in USDA zones 6-11 and love the heat. They require very few chill hours to set fruit but can survive temperatures down to -28 F. (-33 C.). They do need lots of sun in order to set fruit, however.
Generally more suited to growing in the garden, growing jujube in pots is possible and may even be advantageous, as it will allow the grower to move the pot into full sun locations throughout the day.
How to Grow Potted Jujube Trees
Grow container grown jujube in a half barrel or another similarly sized container. Drill a few holes in the bottom of the container to allow for good drainage. Place the container in a full sun location and fill it half full with a well-draining soil such as a combination of cactus and citrus potting soil. Mix in a half a cup (120 mL.) of organic fertilizer. Fill the rest of the container with additional soil and again mix in a half cup (120 mL.) of fertilizer.
Remove the jujube from its nursery pot and loosen the roots. Dig a hole in the soil that is as deep as the previous container. Set the jujube into the hole and fill in around it with soil. Add a couple of inches (5 cm.) of compost atop the soil, making sure that the trees graft remains above the soil line. Water the container thoroughly.
Jujubes are drought tolerant but need water to produce juicy fruit. Allow the soil to dry out a few inches (5 to 10 cm.) before watering and then water deeply. Fertilize and apply fresh compost each spring.
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Jujube seedlings were brought into the United States in the 1830s but very few improved jujube selections were available until Frank N. Meyer, researcher at the Chico, CA., research station began importing commercial cultivars in 1908. The Chinese cultivars were given simple names like Mu, So, and also the Li and Lang that are important commercial jujube tree producers in California, New Mexico, and Arizona, mostly desert areas where jujubes thrive for fresh jujube products and dried jujube fruits.
Jujube trees are one of the rare, exceptional fruit trees that will grow well in salty soils and are salt water tolerant when planted in coastal areas. Jujubes also grow well in extremely alkaline soils, such as in soils with high pH's of 8, like those in West Texas. Very good yield results come from Eastern and Southern U.S. plantings. Few fruit trees are as easy to grow in such wide, variable conditions as jujube trees that are so cold hardy they have thrived in states like Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana for over 100 years.
Some mature jujube cultivars may reach 30 feet tall, but pruning is preferable to make large crop production and easier harvesting possible. In Israel and Mexico jujubes are pruned back to 7-8 feet where single tree fruit production can reach up to 100 pounds per tree.
Jujube trees are necessarily grafted, because the seed on most cultivars are sterile, and unless root cuttings could be obtained from the original mother tree in China which is impracticable and virtually impossible doing that is unproductive. Grafting jujubes is performed on seedling rootstock to clones of preferred cultivars.
The jujube wild seedling rootstock produces small fruits in clusters by the hundreds that taste sour and widely sought after, as a medicine in China, and the fruits produce viable seed, used to produce more rootstocks. These plants are excellent pollinators, even though most jujube cultivars are self fruitful, and horticulturalists recommend planting two different cultivars for cross pollination for the maximum fruit production.
Jujube flowers are fragrant, small and green, and fruit production usually begins in July and extends into October in Georgia. The fruit becomes tasty, sweet and commercially ready to harvest when it changes from green to yellow in color, and then the picking of the jujubes begins after the red blotches begin to appear. The sweetest fruit forms when allowed to ripen on the tree and then to turn completely red, but the grocery store shelf life is a very short, few days when picked in the yellow-red blotch stage, and in the South the jujubes should be picked before turning completely red in color. Very few animals will bother jujubes, if the fruits are picked before the red stage is completed, and if left on the tree to ripen in the South, the high concentration of sugar that is formed within the jujubes attracts fire ants, bees and yellow jackets who will make the harvesting painful to you, if you fight them for the fruit.
If jujubes are picked at the proper stage of yellow-red blotches, then afterwards, the sugar development intensifies, and can dramatically increase the sugar content to 85%, especially in some cultivars like the cultivar called, “sugar cane”.
The wild seedling jujube rootstock is covered with thorns, some shaped like hooks and others like dagger thorns, the Lang and the Sherwood jujubes are thornless. Thorns on most cultivars of Jujube trees will usually disappear on jujube trees as the trees age, and the heavy bark increases in size and dislodges the thorns.
Jujube trees in the Western States and have been commercially productive for over 50 years, and the production records in China show that the jujube tree called, “Jujube King” that is growing in a southern province is over 1000 years old.
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Cool! It is a really healthy-looking plant. What is the size of your pot? Your jujube is a grafted plant, right? I am looking for a jujube variety which bears olive-sized fruits. Do you know what varitey it is?
By the way, I am Hong Kong. I know a lot of people plant kumquats in their balcones.
Bass, I have read that they don't do well in pots due to the long tap root. Thanks for proving "them" wrong!
Scott, This is only in a 1 gallon pot, but I resized it to a 3 gallon last fall. This is a grafted tree ofcourse, I have few seedlings in containers that never produced for me.
There are many that will bear olive sized fruit, One variety that I have would be Abbeyville.
Kiwinut, There are many myths and theories about growing trees. I say experiment to find out yourself if it can be done or not.
One thing I've noticed that for the flowers to be pollinated, you want to keep water away from blooms. That washes away the pollen and keeps fruit from setting.
Unfortunately most of the Jujubes you see in the photos were bitten by a squirrel when they were ripe. I still ate them after cutting off the bitten side.
10 Fruits to Grow in Containers
#1. Lemon Tree
Although lemons are a tropical fruit, most gardeners have had amazing luck growing them in way colder regions directly in a pot! You’ll need fertile potting soil as well as natural fertilizers, such as compost. Grab a seedling pot that is about 24 inches wide and 12 inches deep. Later on, you’ll also need a pot that is about 6 inches wide and 6 inches deep. Lastly, make sure you have a sunny indoor location set up! During the warm summer months, leave your lemon tree outdoors in a sunny spot.
Strawberries are one of the most fun and easiest fruit bushes you can grow, and they’ll give you the sweetest of fruits! First, purchase a small strawberry plant from your local nursery or even order one online. Make sure that the plant is an everbearing strawberry because that way it will continuously keep making strawberries. You will also have much higher success growing strawberries from plant than from seed.
#3. Apple Tree
Apple trees don’t just belong in an orchard: they fit right into a pot in your small garden as well! Make sure to choose a dwarf or semi-dwarf variety and it’ll grow in no time! In central and northern areas, plant in the spring. In areas where fall and winter are mild, plant in the fall.Not all apple trees grow successfully everywhere. You’ll need to visit your local nursery and to see which variety of apple tree is recommended.As a general rule though, if a tree is termed hardy, it grows best in USDA zones 3-5. If a tree is termed long-season, they’ll grow better in USDA zones 5-8.
You’d think pomegranates would be difficult to grow, but believe it or not, they’re quite adaptable and can be easily grown in pots even in cooler climates. Pomegranates enjoy warmer climates and do not like frost. Therefore, although you can start your pomegranate indoors, it will need to be moved outside so make sure you live in USDA zones 7-10 or you have a greenhouse! Alternatively, you can grow pomegrantes in pots and provide them with enough sunlight. They may be moved outdoors once all danger of frost has passed.
Even if you live in a cooler area, a fig tree will happily grow quickly during warm summers. Simply plant them in the spring, and they’ll reward you with their sweet fruit in early fall! If you’re planning on growing figs in a pot, use a soil-based potting mix and add fine bark chips. Keep your fig plant in full light, preferably a south facing window. Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer once a month and water your fig tree moderately.
#6. Raspberries & Blueberries
Raspberries and blueberries are a bushy fruit variety that grow well in warmer and cooler areas. Perfect for container growth, raspberries and blueberries don’t require too much care. Use acidic soil to grow the best raspberries and blueberries! Alternatively, you can also grow blueberries or raspberries in a hanging basket to save space.
#7. Cherry Tree
You’d be surprised to learn that you can actually grow your very own cherry tree in a pot pretty easily! Just make sure to choose the right variety and you’re well on your way to growing delicious red cherries! Put 2 or 3 pits into a small container that is filled with potting soil and water well. Make sure you use drained soil. Keep the soil moist at all times. Once the seedlings are about 2 inches tall, go ahead and thin them to remove the weakest plants. Leave the sturdiest seedling in the pot. Keep the seedling in a sunny spot, indoors, until all danger of frost has passed.
Watermelons make growing fruit oh-so-fun! Just like pineapples, watermelons take longer to grow, but are well worth the wait! If you live in a warmer area, you can sow seeds directly into the soil. Make sure the soil temperature is at least 70F. If you live in a colder climate, start the seeds indoors about a month before transplanting. Before transplanting, make sure ALL danger of frost has passed as watermelon vines are very tender and sensitive. Amend the soil with aged manure, seaweed, or compost before planting. Watermelon love to feed, so make sure to keep them happy! Space the seeds about two feet apart, and, if, possible, plant on a hill as this will retain moisture and heat.
Grow your very own tangerine tree with our easy to follow guide!Purchase tangerine seeds from your local nursery or use seeds from a tangerine. If you decide to do the latter, make sure you wash the seeds thoroughly and then dry them. Use a good quality potting mix that contains either compost, peat moss, or perlite. Fill a pot or container with that soil and make sure the pot has good drainage. If planting directly into the ground, follow the same procedures! Give your soil a good amount of water before planting and let it dry in the sun until the soil is just moist. Plant 2-3 seeds in the middle of the pot and cover with 1/2 inch of soil.
Pineapple is another tropical fruit that is easily grown directly in a pot. Although it may take a while (patience is key here), there is no greater satisfaction than harvesting a beautiful pineapple fruit! Remove the rooted pineapple from water and transplant into a large pot or container that’s filled with moisture retaining soil. If you live in a tropical or subtropical climate, you may plant the pineapple directly outdoors. Add soil around the roots, making sure they’re completely submerged in soil and tamp down with your hands.