Becoming a Grower
Find the thought of growing tamarillos tempting?
Growing tamarillos commercially can be rewarding, however as with all horticultural crops there are pros and cons. On the positive side tamarillo trees are fast growing with the trees producing their first small crop when the trees are 18-24 months old, a long harvest season (3-6 months during winter), and relatively low labour inputs. On the negative side tamarillo trees are susceptible to frost, and to the tomato-potato psyllid fly which can infect the trees with liberibacter. This disease will kill the tree within a few weeks to months. A fortnightly, year round insecticide spray programme can mitigate losses, however annual replacement of 5-30% of the trees due to infection is still typical. Failure to spray may eventually lead to up to 100% losses within 12 months.
Choosing the location
The tamarillo prefers a sub-tropical climate, disliking both frosts and extreme heat. Temperatures below freezing are likely to damage growing shoots and green foliage. Moderate or worse frosts (< -3°c) during the picking season can result in total fruit and foliage loss from the trees.
The right site
Your proposed site should have good drainage to prevent trees getting wet feet.
The plant prefers a light well-drained soil. It is highly intolerant of excess soil moisture and rapidly succumbs when the soil is water logged. It’s important however to provide ample moisture during summer as tamarillo plants have large, soft leaves and shallow rooting systems, making them susceptible to drought conditions.
Shelter must be provided to protect the plants from wind damage.
Plants can be grown from seed with best results obtained by planting seeds in a tray containing seed raising mix and placed on a heat pad until the seeds have germinated.
If you would like more information about becoming a commercial grower email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the New Zealand Tamarillo Growers Association for support
If you’re a tamarillo grower in New Zealand we hope you will join the New Zealand Tamarillo Growers Association. You’ll join more than 30 other members with common interests and a desire to network for mutual benefit.
The role of our friendly group is to promote the interests of tamarillo growers by:
Improving grower returns through quality in growing, shipping, retailing and exporting
Increasing awareness of, and demand for, tamarillos to both trade and consumer markets
Stimulating inter-grower communication
Improving the acceptance of the crop, its yield and productivity, through knowledge and research
Gaining the best possible value from growers’ research and promotional investments.