Looking for something exotic to grow in your garden this year? Then why not consider growing jujube trees. With proper jujube tree care, you can enjoy these exotic fruits right from the garden.
The Chinese red date was domesticated in South Asia by 9000 BC, and over 400 cultivars now exist. The exact natural distribution of the plant is not known, but is believed to be southern Asia, between Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Korean peninsula, and southern and central China.
Jujubes (Zizyphus jujuba) are a tree fruit, often called Chinese dates, you can eat when ripe and red -- they have a crisp flesh and sweet, applelike flavor -- or try dried and candied in baked goods and preserves.
Common name: Chinese dates, red date, Jujuba
Height: 40 to 50 feet
Difficulty level: Easy
Planting & Care
This medium-sized tree can grow up to 40 feet, has glossy green, deciduous leaves and light gray bark. The oval-shaped, single-stoned fruit is green to start with and becomes dark brown over time.
Similar to figs, the fruit will dry and become wrinkled when left on the vine. The fruit has a similar taste to an apple.
Sunlight: Full sun.
Soil: Preferred soil pH is 5 to 6.4, but the Chinese red date can handle alkaline soils as well. The tree tolerates a range of soils, but does best in sandy well-drained soils and least well in heavy poorly draining soils.
Water: Water the trees once a week, as weather conditions require, in the first year as they become established. Give the trees a good soaking, about three minutes with a 1/2-inch hose and one-and-a-half minutes with a 5/8-inch hose, according to Urban Harvest. After that, cut back to about once a month during the growing season. These trees are drought tolerant once established.
Temprature: It can tolerate temperatures down to about -30°C during winter dormancy and high temperatures in summertime.
Fertilizer: The trees do not appear to require much fertiliser to do well, though a light broadcast of a balanced fertiliser during the growing season will increase growth.
Harvesting: It is extremely easy when it comes times for harvesting jujube fruit. When jujube fruit has turned dark brown, it will be ready to harvest. You can also leave the fruit on the tree until it fully dries. Cut the stem when harvesting rather than pulling the fruit from the vine. Fruit should be firm to the touch. The fruit is best stored between 52 and 55 F. (11-13 C.) in a green fruit bag.
- A single application of nitrogen prior to the growing season helps with fruit production.
- Although this hardy tree will tolerate drought, regular water will help with fruit production.
- There are no known pest or disease problems with this tree.
- Unripe fruit will not ripen once picked.
- Ripe fruit will keep for a week at room temperature, and tree-dried fruit will keep indefinitely without the need for a sulphur preservative.
- Red dates are highly nutritional, containing vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 (raw only), vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
- Carbohydrate content is 20.
- 23% by weight when raw and 73.
- 60% when dried.
- Protein content is 1.
- 2% by weight when raw and 3.
- 7% when dried.
- Fat content is 0.
- 20% when raw and 1.
- 10% when dried.
Claimed properties include stress relief, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, and sedative relief.
- They are also attributed to aid hypo-tension, cardiac health, stimulation of the immune system, and wound healing, and to counter a lack of fertility.
- There is clinical evidence that red dates help relieve chronic constipation and neonatal jaundice, while a leaf extract showed anti-obesity activity in rats.