How to Propagate Tamarillo Successfully: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Propagate Tamarillo Successfully: A Comprehensive Guide

Looking to expand your tamarillo garden? Propagating tamarillos is a great way to bring new life to your garden and increase your yield. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of successfully propagating tamarillos. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to successfully propagate tamarillos and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Understanding the Tamarillo Plant

Tamarillo Plant Description

The tamarillo plant, also known as the tree tomato, is a fast-growing subtropical tree native to South America. It is a member of the Solanaceae family and produces egg-shaped fruits that range in color from red to yellow. The tamarillo plant can grow up to 15 feet tall and has large, dark green leaves.

Tamarillo Plant Requirements

To successfully propagate tamarillo plants, it is important to provide them with the right growing conditions. Tamarillo plants thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It is also important to water tamarillo plants regularly and provide them with a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth.

Tamarillo Plant Varieties

There are several varieties of tamarillo plants available, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular varieties include the red tamarillo, which has a sweet and tangy flavor, and the yellow tamarillo, which is milder in taste. Other varieties include the orange tamarillo and the purple tamarillo, each with its own distinct flavor profile. By choosing the right variety for your climate and growing conditions, you can successfully propagate tamarillo plants in your garden.

Preparing for Tamarillo Propagation

Selecting Healthy Tamarillo Seeds

When propagating tamarillos, it is crucial to start with healthy seeds. Look for seeds that are plump, firm, and free from any signs of damage or disease. Selecting high-quality seeds will increase the chances of successful propagation and ultimately lead to strong and healthy tamarillo plants.

Gathering Necessary Propagation Supplies

Before starting the propagation process, gather all the necessary supplies. This may include pots or trays for planting, a well-draining potting mix, a spray bottle for watering, and any additional tools such as a small shovel or trowel. Having all the supplies on hand will make the propagation process smoother and more efficient.

Creating the Ideal Growing Environment

Tamarillos thrive in a warm and sunny environment, so it is important to create the ideal growing conditions for successful propagation. Choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day and maintains a consistent temperature. Additionally, ensure that the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogged conditions, which can lead to root rot. By providing the ideal growing environment, you will give your tamarillo seeds the best chance for successful propagation.

Methods of Tamarillo Propagation

Seed Propagation

Seed propagation is the most common method of propagating tamarillo plants. To propagate tamarillo from seeds, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the seeds from ripe tamarillo fruits.
  2. Wash the seeds to remove any pulp.
  3. Plant the seeds in a pot with well-draining soil.
  4. Keep the soil moist and place the pot in a warm, sunny location.
  5. Germination usually takes around 2-3 weeks.

Cutting Propagation

Cutting propagation is another method of propagating tamarillo plants. Follow these steps to propagate tamarillo from cuttings:

  1. Take a cutting from a healthy tamarillo plant, around 6-8 inches long.
  2. Remove the lower leaves from the cutting.
  3. Dip the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone.
  4. Plant the cutting in a pot with well-draining soil.
  5. Keep the soil moist and place the pot in a warm, sunny location.
  6. Roots should start to develop in 2-3 weeks.

Grafting Propagation

Grafting is a more advanced method of propagating tamarillo plants. Follow these steps to propagate tamarillo through grafting:

  1. Select a healthy tamarillo rootstock and a tamarillo scion (the part of the plant you want to propagate).
  2. Make a diagonal cut on both the rootstock and the scion.
  3. Join the two pieces together and secure with grafting tape.
  4. Keep the grafted plant in a warm, humid environment until the graft takes.
  5. Once the graft has taken, the plant can be transferred to a pot with well-draining soil.

By following these methods of tamarillo propagation, you can successfully propagate tamarillo plants and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Caring for Tamarillo Seedlings

Tamarillo seedlings require proper care to ensure healthy growth and successful propagation. A few key aspects to focus on include watering and fertilizing, protecting seedlings from pests and diseases, and transplanting them to larger containers as they grow.

Watering and Fertilizing Seedlings

Proper watering is essential for tamarillo seedlings, as they require consistent moisture to thrive. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged, and ensure good drainage to prevent root rot. Fertilize seedlings with a balanced fertilizer every 2-4 weeks to provide essential nutrients for growth.

Protecting Seedlings from Pests and Diseases

Tamarillo seedlings are susceptible to pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies, as well as diseases like powdery mildew and fungal infections. Inspect seedlings regularly for signs of infestation or disease, and treat promptly with organic or chemical controls as needed. Consider using row covers or companion planting to deter pests naturally.

Transplanting Seedlings to Larger Containers

As tamarillo seedlings grow, they will eventually outgrow their initial containers and require transplanting to larger pots or containers. Choose a container with good drainage holes and fill with well-draining potting mix. Gently remove the seedling from its current container, being careful not to damage the roots, and transplant into the new container at the same depth. Water thoroughly after transplanting to help the seedling adjust to its new home.

Troubleshooting Common Tamarillo Propagation Issues

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves on a tamarillo plant can be a sign of nutrient deficiency, overwatering, or pest infestation. To address this issue, check the soil pH levels and adjust as needed. Make sure the plant is receiving enough sunlight and water it only when the topsoil feels dry to the touch. Additionally, inspect the plant for any signs of pests such as aphids or spider mites and treat accordingly.

Stunted Growth

Stunted growth in tamarillo plants can be caused by poor soil quality, lack of sunlight, or overcrowding. To promote healthy growth, ensure the plant is in well-draining soil with a pH level of around 6.5 to 7.5. Provide adequate sunlight for at least 6 hours a day and space out plants to prevent overcrowding. Consider adding organic fertilizer to the soil to boost growth.

Root Rot

Root rot is a common issue in tamarillo plants and is caused by overwatering and poor drainage. To prevent root rot, make sure the plant is in well-draining soil and water it only when the topsoil feels dry. Check the roots for any signs of rotting, such as mushy texture or foul odor, and trim off any affected areas. Consider repotting the plant in fresh soil if root rot persists.


After reading this comprehensive guide on how to propagate tamarillo successfully, you should now have a clear understanding of the different methods available to propagate this unique fruit tree. Whether you prefer using seeds, cuttings, or grafting, following the steps outlined in this article will help you achieve success in growing your own tamarillo plants. Remember to be patient and consistent in your efforts, as propagating tamarillo may require some trial and error. With proper care and attention, you’ll soon be enjoying the delicious fruits of your labor. Happy propagating!