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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Idiot-proof grafting tool?
« on: December 19, 2017, 08:27:56 PM »
I've never grafting anything before in my life, but this looks interesting:

$29. Is it worth a try? I still need to try grafting my passionfruit vine this coming spring . . . .

Tropical Fruit Discussion / How to open a mango seed. . . .
« on: October 20, 2017, 07:58:44 PM »
I've watched some videos and read some sites recommending that people use scissors, or a knife, or even a screwdriver. <shudder>

I use a spoon. Easy and safe:

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Does self-pollen compete with cross-pollen?
« on: October 12, 2017, 06:47:15 PM »
I'm asking because I have dragonfruit varieties that need cross-pollination, but I suppose the question is valid for other plant species as well:

If a plant cannot be pollinated by its own pollen, but its own pollen gets brushed onto its stamen stigma, will the incompatible pollen then prevent successful pollination if compatible pollen is also brushed on?

e.g. will the bad pollen be "ignored" by the flower, or will it compete with the good pollen?

edit: fixed error

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Pineapples--The Half Pot Experiment
« on: September 08, 2017, 05:57:11 PM »
Los Angeles is cooler and considerably drier than the regions where pineapples normally grow. Mine grow, but they don't get very big (the plant or the fruits), and they take a long time to fruit (2.5 - 3 years). I'd been growing them in terra cotta pots, filled nearly to the rim with soil.

A friend suggested that I use black plastic pots, filled only halfway with soil. His theory goes as follows: the black plastic collects heat and creates a "humidity well" near the base of the plant, which keeps it happy. Pineapples are allegedly shallow-rooted (despite my photographic evidence to the contrary!), so having a half-filled pot doesn't hurt them.

I decided to try this, so I took 4 propagules of approximately equal size from Kona Sugarloaf plants, and I put two of them in half-filled black plastic and two of them in filled terra cotta. Here's a size comparison, with one cu ft of soil in each:

And here are 2 of the 4 propagules, planted. I added more soil to the terra cotta pots to top them up:

All 4 plants are on a timered watering system with a fertilizer injector and Spot Spitter waterers. Check back in 2 years to see how this goes!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Planting avocado tree on a slope?
« on: August 29, 2017, 06:45:41 PM »
I keep hearing drainage, drainage, drainage is key for avocado trees, and I've read two separate guides that recommend "building up" instead of digging down.

But how does this work on a slope? There's really no practical way to build up that big a mound on a steep slope, especially on the downhill side.

My parents have had a really nice plum tree in their Los Angeles front yard for 40 years, but it's finally done. It'll make a small handful of fruit this year, but the trunk is rotted out, and branches are just falling off. It's time to call it a career.

We're thinking of replacing it with a grafted cocktail tree with plums, peaches, nectarines, etc. Where can one buy such a tree in California? A lot of places that sell these trees online are prohibited from shipping into CA.


Citrus General Discussion / Watering a lemon tree with A/C condensation?
« on: August 07, 2017, 04:37:00 PM »
I put a small lemon tree (really a bush) in front of my house, and it happens to be right next to the condensation drain from my air conditioning system. So I re-routed the drain pipe so it fed directly into the tree's well. I figured it would be a good match, since I'll get condensation when it's really hot and the A/C is running most often.

Are there any significant downsides to using condensation for water? I know it's going to be semi-distilled, so it'll lack minerals, but that can be remedied by appropriate soils, mulches, and fertilizers, right?

The tree seemed to like it for the first week; I have a new flush of growth!

Then I found out that I can get up to gallon per hour of condensation 😱, which is way too much for one little tree. So I also need a way to use this source to water other plants in the vicinity. I'm not sure if I can use a classic drip-watering system (as I use for my garden) because this water source has no pressure and very low flow. It's a drip or dribble when it's running, but it will run up to 15 hours a day when it's really hot outside.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Kona Sugarloaf is Fruiting!
« on: August 02, 2017, 10:00:40 PM »
I bought 4 of these from wellspring100 via eBay in January of 2015, and they're finally fruiting:

All 4 are fruiting at the same time, and are at approximately the same stage. It sure took them a long time to get going. For the first year or so they hardly grew at all.

I know a lot of people have been disappointed by their purchased plants being of a different variety than promised.

Based on the leaves and coloring, do these look like genuine Kona Sugarloafs?

How big do they get, compared to Smooth Cayenne (which is what I assume all my other plants are, since they're propagated from store-bought fruit)?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Is this mango foliage?
« on: December 30, 2016, 04:12:09 PM »
I bought a Kent tree from Plant-o-gram 2.5 years ago, and it died, probably due to poor care.

But there are shoots coming up from the ground, and I'm thinking they might be from the rootstock:

I didn't want to dig down too far and kill it.

Do those look like mango leaves? Does anyone know what rootstock Plant-o-gram uses?

If that's not a good variety I could try grafting on a Keitt scion once my Keitt gets further established.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / December Keitt Mango in Los Angeles?
« on: December 16, 2016, 07:34:52 PM »
I bought this Keitt tree from Plant-o-Gram 2.5 years ago, and it's done a lot of nothing since then, partially due to my own neglect. So I've been ignoring it for months, and a few days ago I stumbled up on this:

Whoa! I wasn't expecting fruit for another year, at least, and certainly nothing this size (I have big hands). Had I seen this earlier I'd have plucked it off, but now that it's this size I feel like I should just let it ripen.

Or will it? It's in the high 60s/low 70s here in our Los Angeles December. January might get slightly colder, but not by too much.

How does one determine when to pick a Keitt?

If this tree will produce Keitts of this size, then I'm going to stop neglecting it (e.g. clear out the weeds, support it better, kill the gophers, etc)!

My specific question is about cross-pollinating dragonfruit, but I'm sure the general question is applicable to all flowering plants.

If B requires cross-pollination, and can be successfully pollinated by A, does that imply anything about the ability of B to pollinate A?

Or is there no relation?

My friend has an avocado tree of unknown origin in her backyard. Here it was, in full bloom, back on April 20, 2013:

She says it was there when she bought the house ~10 years ago, and it had never fruited until just last year. This year, on Hallowe'en 2015, I stopped by her house, and it was full of fruit! I took a few and let them ripen on my counter for a week. I ate one a few days ago, and then this morning (13 days from picking) I opened another one. It looked and tasted substantially the same as the one I opened on Day 7:

It's roughly the size and shape of a medium Hass, but greener. The skin is thinner, but still barely stops a knife when I hold a half in my hand to cut slices in the shell.

This particular fruit had this odd cavity right above the seed.

The flesh is nearly fiberless, and has the right color. Texture was almost right, but slightly under-ripe. But it wasn't rubbery.

It's watery (you can see liquid on the cut surfaces) and just tastes like nothing.

Can anyone guess at the likely lineage? Based on what you can see, did I just pick it way too early?

Or is this cultivar just a waste of space?

I have Hass, Reed, and Holiday trees in my yard and my neighbor's. Should I top-work her tree later this year and make the world a better place?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Date Palms for Coastal Los Angeles?
« on: October 23, 2015, 05:54:15 PM »
So I was at my local Wal-Mart (of all places) to buy some pineapples, and here's what I see in the parking lot:

I picked up the one fruit I found on the ground. It smelled like a date, and it was sticky. It was also covered with bugs, so I didn't taste it. But it sure seems like we have a date palm, here. The parking lot has quite a few of them, and they're all bearing right now.

So what cultivar might this be? And what good tasting cultivars will do well in this climate? I'm about 7.5 crow miles southwest of this Wal-Mart, in a little valley near the coast, but facing inland. I saw this post about Medjool dates in Coachella, and I'm tempted to order a few, but they don't have anything for less than $35/box (including shipping).

Anyone else in Los Angeles growing dates?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Pineapple Roots?
« on: October 04, 2015, 03:02:35 PM »
I know pineapples are supposed to have shallow root systems, but this one looks pretty robust. I planted the crown from a store-bought pineapple about 3 years ago, and then in February of 2015 I harvested my first fruit:


It was pretty good! I twisted off the slips and suckers and left the ratoon shoot to grow.

6 months later the mother plant still hadn't died back much, but the ratoon plant was pretty big, so I figured it needed a bigger pot. I pulled it out, and here it is:

That's a size 11 shoe there, for scale. Yes, the pot was very undersized for the plant, but that's a lot of roots! Moreover, I'd been noticing recently that, when watering this plant, the pot would hold almost no water. Whatever I poured in the top started leaking almost immediately out the bottom.

So I frayed the rootball a bit and put it in a 19" pot from Home Depot with some fresh cactus mix. We'll see how it does!

edit: added YouTube link

I have a store-bought Frederick purple vine that's producing some nice-looking fruit, but it's all still green right now. On Friday I was walking by, and I saw that two had fallen off. They look like they shed normally--the stem looks like a clean break at the abscission line. But they're clearly not ripe:

The cat hair brush is there so I can calibrate for color if I compare later photos. I guess that's kinda gross, in retrospect. Sorry!

Anyway, will fruit that green have any chance of ripening and sweetening up? Everything else on the vine is still glossy and green, green, green.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Replace Magnolia with Avocado or ????
« on: September 27, 2015, 09:30:31 PM »
This tree is right in front of my front door in suburban Los Angeles. Based on the seed pod it looks like Magnolia Grandiflora.

It needs shaping, but it's probably about 25-30' tall right now, and it looks quite healthy. But I'm not really a big Magnolia fan. After all, if it doesn't produce anything edible, why keep it?

Would an avocado do well, here? It gets reasonably full sun, but the root area is somewhat constrained:

Then again I learned at this weekend's CRFG's meeting that avocados are shallow rooted.

Are the needs of a magnolia compatible with the needs of an avocado? I'd love to put a mango here, but it's probably too close to my sewer piping for comfort.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Worst deal ever?
« on: September 18, 2015, 05:11:26 PM »

Tommys. For $18.99 a box.

I'm just gonna leave that right there.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Bananas flower after 44 leaves?
« on: September 17, 2015, 05:01:13 PM »
Here's an interesting tidbit from CRFG:

Approximately 44 leaves will appear before the inflorescence.

I am very curious to see where that datum comes from, and whether the folks here have verified it. I googled "banana '44 leaves'" and nearly all the search results seem to come from the same source, because they're all worded nearly identically.

Searches for "40 leaves" and "43 leaves" etc. show much more diversity in their citations. One writer said he/she marked the leaves with a black marker and kept count.

Has anyone here done that? I'm considering doing that with this little pup, since I know exactly how many leaves it's ever had (3, as of today):

Tropical Fruit Discussion / USDA rules in importing new plants?
« on: June 01, 2015, 05:44:18 PM »
Let me preface this by saying that this is mostly just a hypothetical discussion, as I don't have the means, expertise, or connections to do any of this. I'm just wondering what it would take, were someone to undertake it for the betterment of humanity:

Suppose China were to allow export of their cold-adapted Hainan Tall coconut trees/fruits/germplasm/????, and someone in the U.S., north of Newport Beach :D, wanted to import them and try growing them.

What's involved? What agency/ies need to get involved, and how would the materials need to be prepped, inspected, tested, sterilized, etc.? How long does the application process take, and it is transparent or political?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Is my passionfruit self-fertile?
« on: October 17, 2014, 11:19:23 PM »
Hi! I have a passionfruit vine of unknown species. I grew it from a seed from a fruit off my mother's vine about 5 miles away, and she probably bought the vine from Home Depot or Lowes or a retailer like that around here in Los Angeles more than 10 years ago. The parent fruit look like this:

The parent vine like this:

and the seeds like this:

It sure looks like Passiflora Edulis, but I don't like to assume anything! Anyway, I didn't get the cuttings to take, so I sowed the seeds in April 2013, got a  seedling a few months later, and transplanted it into the ground in January 2014. It grew vigorously this summer, and now it's about 35 feet from end to end. I've had a few bursts of flowers:

but it's never set any fruit. Are all purple passion fruits self-fertile? CFRG says "Purple passion fruit is self-fruitful", but this article says of p. edulis that "The flowers contain both male and female parts but are self-sterile".

I'm inclined to believe CFRG over SF Gate, but it has me worried. Posts here on TFF are conflicted.

Do I have to hand-pollinate? If I do hand-pollinate, can I use pollen from the same flower?

I only have the one vine, so I can't cross it with anything right now. My mother does have  a few seedlings from her (expired :() vine that I could plant for next year if that would help.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Anyone growing vanilla orchids?
« on: October 12, 2014, 11:11:38 PM »
Does a vanilla pod qualify as a tropical fruit? I see only one reference to anyone growing this, so here's reference #2. Vanilla Planifolia 'Variegata', for the search feature.

I bought two of these 5" hanging pots from Hirts via, and when I received the USPS box I was doubtful that I'd find two plants in 5' pots in such a small box. But there they were, crammed into the box with lots of newspaper and loose soil everywhere! They looked like they'd just been repotted for shipment.

So I was skeptical, but I untangled all the vines, dumped the soil back in, tamped it down a bit, straightened out the plastic hanger/hook thingy, and hung them over my kitchen sink. 3 months later, and both plants are doing well. They've each put on 3-4" of growth on each of their 4-5 vines, and they look lush and green.

During the first 2-3 weeks I just watered them thoroughly about once a week. After that I noticed that the aerial roots were shriveling up, so I've taken to misting the plants any time I'm standing in front of the kitchen sink. They seem to like that.

The vines droop down from their little pot and then try to turn back up into the sunlight, and sometimes the aerial roots will adhere to a leaf from above. So I just tease them off and pull the vines straight back down so they hang:

I repotted the near one into a container with a redwood post in the middle, in the hopes that it would climb. It doesn't by itself. I've tried tying it up against the post, but the roots don't try attaching themselves to it. It's growing, but one of my cats likes to chew on it and sleep on it, so it's struggling against that.

The other one is still in its original pot, and most of it's doing well. There is one vine that took a big step backwards when I shot several flies off of it with my Bug-a-Salt. As it turns out, most plants don't like having salt injected into their leaves at high velocity. The base of the vine was dying, so I just pinched it off and pushed the healthier part back into the dirt. We'll see how it does.

Has anyone here grown these successfully? Has anyone gotten flowers or pods yet? Am I doing anything horribly wrong, other than letting the cat get to it?

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