NOW IS THE TIME
by Eunice Messner
Remember a few years back when we had experts from Australia talk about these elongated shaped limes at our Fruit Festival? It seems a few people were able to get some seeds from overseas and have successfully propa-gated them. Albeit, they are a very thorny, small tree but the fruit appears to be quite desirable. I saw on the internet that USDA has now released these seeds and CRFG member, Norman Beard (805-968-0985) has 130 plants with 105 already spoken for. These will not be salable, however until June 2006.
If you are limited in space this is one fruit easily grown in a container.
To propagate, twist or cut off the crown of a store-bought fruit. Remove the bottom leaves and let the crown dry for a couple of days. You may start them in water but probably a very well draining potting soil is safest. Place the rooted plant in a 2 to 3 gallon pot in a sunny frost-free location. Since they are a bromeliad, they like to be watered in the center well off their leaves. Although drought tolerant, it is best to maintain some moisture in the soil. Fertilize organically every few months.
For maximum sized fruit, transplant to a 5 gallon pot in about 9 months and then into a 15 gallon black plastic container for attracting heat. It takes about two years before your plant will fruit.
I read of one local grower who used lava rock. I checked this out but found the cost prohibitive, about $35 for a small bag.(ed.note: Home Depot carries lava rock for about $5/cu.foot) Not long ago Gary Matsuoka wrote in his Saturday column in łThe Register˛ that another one of our members was successfully using pumice with a bit of added peat moss. This method produced a full sized pineapple.
There are foliar sprays that can hasten fruiting. I believe Elva West used 'Florel' (surprisingly, this is the same product used to prevent fruiting in olive trees).
Syzygium jambos is a large, weeping, evergreen tree; at-tractive enough to be a front yard specimen tree. This year the ivory colored fruits were especially large maybe 2" balls. Perhaps they liked all the rain we had. If you tasted one at our last meeting, then you know they taste like roses smell. I started mine from seed of the tree at the Fullerton Arboretum. I also have one planted on the north east corner of the Silo Building on the fair grounds. Besides the reddish color of new leaves, a bonus is the light chartreuse colored blossoms in a pom pom of 2" stamens.