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Messages - W.

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Are there any seed vendors you can totally endorse?

If they still exist, Silverhill Seeds. They were great. The owners were killed by terrorists a few years back, so I'm not sure they're still around. But when the original owners ran the business I had so many good purchases from them. They were one of the few I recall that were honest about the viability of their seeds. Once I inquired for a certain species of Tabernaemontana and they told me that the seeds they had were already too old, and they would have to take another botanical excursion to collect more. They explained they would need to be express shipped, since they were recalcitrant seeds. I ordered a ton Sclerocarya birrea ssp. caffra seeds from them once, and the huge box of seeds made it to California without any hiccups. Excellent germination rates. Lots of other things from them that I ordered seemed to always have good germination rates.
Oh God, killed by terrorists??  Where did this happen?

They were killed by an ISIS terrorist gang during a plant hunting expedition in KwaZulu-Natal in 2018. Silverhill Seeds is still in business and is owned by one of their long-time employees:


Now, I have some bird damage each year to various fruit crops: blackberries, tomatoes, etc. The usual suspects of cardinals, mockingbirds, catbirds, etc. are responsible. But, I try to grow everything in such abundance that it really does not matter what the birds do, they never make a dent in my crop, and I always have more than enough fruit after the birds take their share.

But... squirrels and chipmunks are a completely different story. They did up potted plants. They chew up plants, potted and in-ground. They waste fruit by pulling off unripe fruit and partially eating it. If my yard was the Old West, there would be posters hanging up everywhere stating, "Wanted: Dead or Alive. Squirrels and Chipmunks. Shoot on Sight."

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Got some fresh rambutan seeds
« on: August 02, 2022, 04:57:40 AM »
I never had the slightest bit of yellowing with my rambutan seedlings, and they grew about eight inches in three months. There must have been something about my compost that they loved. Perhaps the key was oak leaves, which probably (given my yard and what I put in my compost) were a major component of that batch of compost.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: please identify this eugenia
« on: August 02, 2022, 04:52:47 AM »
It reminds me of Eugenia observa. It looks similar to other photos I have seen identified as that species. I could be wrong, though.

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Just Someone Else Selling Plants
« on: August 01, 2022, 10:07:52 PM »

I think scientists are starting to discover this is more common than previously realized, though really it is pretty self-evident. Someone, long ago, finds a tree, bush, or other fruiting plant that has really good fruit, better than he or she has ever tasted from that species. That person takes the seeds or cuttings from that plant to propagate. Seedlings, cutting-grown, and/or grafted plants begin to be spread around. Since this new fruiting plant is better than the old fruiting plants, those old plants are not grown anymore or only grown in very small quantities. After a while, all the plants grown of that particular species are descended from that single, original plant. That is fine, until some pest or disease inevitably discovers that we have created a genetic monoculture of plants very susceptible to pests and diseases.

The process is ongoing as we speak. After all, one can only look a few decades into the future and extrapolate how Zill-developed varieties are likely to become the dominant ones for mangos, sapodillas, Surinam cherries, etc.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Why no Subtropical folder/category?
« on: August 01, 2022, 09:53:12 PM »
Rather than divide it into Sub tropical or Tropical, I would vote to add regional forums so we could better share local tips and importantly, develop better links locally. Nothing better than getting people to come visit or visiting someone else's property! I would love to link up more with growers in CA. Brad is doing great stuff with this local Fruit Parties in SD.

I could not disagree more. The masthead of Tropical Fruit Forum says "Uniting Growers Worldwide!" I cannot see anything that regional sections would do other than to divide growers and make the site harder to use. Someone from Florida might miss out on avocado growing tips because the thread was created in the California regional section and vice versa. Fruit parties and other get togethers are able to be posted on the site already, for everyone to read and to attend if they are close enough and have the desire to do so.

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Got some fresh rambutan seeds
« on: August 01, 2022, 01:15:20 AM »
It looks like most of the seeds germinated.  Unfortunately, again most of the sprouts died shortly after germination while still under an inch tall.  The pulasan seedlings I got in the spring did the same.  Not sure if this is a soapberry thing, lychees seem to have a much higher survival rate

Anyway I got two healthy plants out of this batch so far, and possible more will survive given time.  I am curious what others' experience with rambutan is.  Every one of the seedlings from my previous batch that survived seems to have yellowing leaves that go necrotic quickly, though so far they have been replaced by new leaves.  I tried acid soil, high potassium fert, high humidity.  Not sure what it is they are wanting.

I grew some rambutans from grocery store fruit last year. Apparently, the fruit was not irradiated. But, since I had never had any success when I had tried to germinate rambutan seeds in previous years (probably because that fruit was from a different company and had likely been irradiated), I did not try and germinate those rambutan seeds. I just threw them into a compost bucket. In less than a month, I had a dozen or so rambutans. They grew excellently for about three months until summer ended and fall started settling in. I could not bring in my compost bucket for the winter; it is filled with insects and other things I do not want indoors. But, transplanting those rambutans killed them almost instantly. They were all dead within a couple of weeks. Although I had tried to take care not to disturb them too much during transplanting, I had apparently still disturbed their roots too much.

So, if I were to try and grow rambutans again, I would put them in an extremely rich potting medium: basically put the seeds in pure compost. I would keep them in part shade. The environment would be one matching an Alabama summer: very hot and very humid. Compost readily retains moisture; I do not remember watering them much since I think it rained every few days, but I would water them as needed.

Maybe try some of those tips and see if they work for you.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Why no Subtropical folder/category?
« on: July 31, 2022, 09:29:24 PM »
There was a thread a while back on tropicals vs. ultra-tropicals and whether there should be a separate section for each of those. Separating subtropicals and tropicals would run into the same issues pointed out back then. Creating a subtropical section would just be a mess, adding needless confusion to the site. The sections we have work well, though they would work better if people used the citrus and temperate sections properly instead of just posting everything in the tropical section. The only new section that would make any sense to add would be one on mangos, given that fruit's enormous popularity and the number of threads created about it. But, it would be an incredible headache for the moderators to move all the pre-existing mango threads into a new mango section, a huge undertaking that would be even more difficult to accomplish if one was to split tropicals and subtropicals.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Growing under LEDís
« on: July 29, 2022, 09:03:15 PM »
With my own plants, my only goal over the winter is to keep them alive - they get weak light from a window with indirect exposure, and that's all.  They don't grow, but they don't develop deficiency problems either.

That is my goal with my citrus. I never expect them to grow; I just apparently give them the environment and nutrients where they will put on some growth indoors. It is much more important to me that I do not lose any citrus over the winter.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: New tropical fruit gardener
« on: July 29, 2022, 07:00:37 PM »
Grumichamas can get rather large in comparison to other Eugenia species. It is not the best for container culture, which is why I have never added one to my collection. You can grow one in a container but be prepared to stay on top of it to both keep its growth in check and give it the nutrients required for it to successfully fruit for you. Surinam cherry (Eugenia uniflora) and pitangatuba (Eugenia selloi) are better for beginners to try to grow as container plants, in my opinion, at least among the common Eugenias. Pitangatuba is an especially good plant as it does not grow large and can be kept in a container for a long time. Seeds for all of these Eugenias can be easily found online, both on the Forum and elsewhere, and are inexpensive to purchase.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Growing under LEDís
« on: July 29, 2022, 06:48:19 PM »
I grow mine under fluorescent lights in the winter, and they put out nice, new, green foliage in the winter, usually in February or March, about a month or so before they are put outside for the growing season. They do not have any signs of deficiencies in their new growth like yours show.

I think this is the 3rd thread you've created asking the same question. The other threads were answered for you.

Agreed. Quit cluttering up the Forum with threads asking the same question.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Superior Lemondrop Mangosteen?
« on: July 27, 2022, 05:39:20 PM »
The leaves are looking dry, and it appears to be growing inside a house. While Garcinias can be overwintered indoors in colder areas during the winter for a few months (as I do with mine every year), they do better when grown in places with more humidity than is usually found inside a house. That lack of humidity especially affects smaller Garcinia seedlings before they become well established. This is the time of year for it to be outside in the heat and humidity. Put it outside, in a shady location or in a sunny location under shade cloth. Very lightly fertilize it. Keep it watered but not waterlogged. It may not grow much more this year, but you will want it to be in peak condition before it has to endure a long Michigan winter indoors.

PM sent.

I've had a ton of small plants mailed to me all times of year, from the heat of summer to the freezing winter.  Even the most sensitive plants, ex. mangosteen in winter when its freezing outside.  I have personally never had issues with the weather as long as I receive them as soon as delivered.  I have also bought plants in person at nurseries in CA and FL and mailed them back to myself or boxed them up and packed as checked luggage on planes. 

By far, the most important factor seems to be the amount of root disturbance.   Some trees I had barerooted pretty much all died.  Plants that were poorly shipped where dirt was everywhere tended to die. 

I have seen some sites mention lychee trees do not ship well, but I boxed up a 3gal and put it on a plane and it is doing just fine still.

Bare rooting is fine for temperate trees that go completely dormant. But, for tropical and subtropical plants, it seems to be nearly an automatic death sentence. I have not had many plants sent to me bare root, but only one ever lived, an imbe. I believe that is because it has thicker leaves and fleshier roots. The other plants had finer roots.

Congratulations are in order for you successfully fruiting a jaboticaba farther north than anyone has (probably) ever done before. At least, I have never heard of any other Canadian growers fruiting a jaboticaba before. It is rare enough for someone to do so in a greenhouse or other protected space in the temperate areas of the US.

Well I donít know how this thread derailed into fl be ca citrus, but thanks for the help everyone!

I love how this thread, started by a teenaged citrus hater, about selling jaboticabas to fund a Florida trip to buy mangos, has turned entirely into a citrus thread of adults talking about how it was "back in my day." That'll show you, you whippersnapper! ;D

Glad your trip went well.

In all seriousness, I agree with Francis_Eric. It is quite difficult for a home grower to root muscadines and basically impossible without the right set up. You have to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. The leaves have to have enough humidity in the air around them so that they do not transpire too much but not too much humidity that they get fungus or powdery mildew. I have tried on a couple of occasions to root muscadines. I simply ended up with dead sticks in potting soil after a couple of weeks. Unless you have the right set up for them, you will not have any success rooting muscadines. Besides, considering the effort required for a home grower to root muscadines, unless you want to propagate a unique vine unavailable from any source, than it is worth it just to buy the variety you want from a commercial nursery. I was trying to propagate a unique wild muscadine, but for most other growers, Ison's has thirty-plus varieties of muscadines and scuppernongs, which is plenty.

Just warning you Muscadine grapes are hard to start from cuttings
most people air layer

Maybe if someone has a grape they can air layer now.

It is actually easy to root muscadine grapes from cuttings. You just have to have an industrial greenhouse, climate controlled to optimal conditions, and an irrigation system in place and set to provide the right amount of water at regular intervals. Like I said, easy. Anyone can do it. ;D

I've been selling plants for 35$ that sell for 300$ on Bellamys ebay auctions...haha. I think it's all about visibility or something.

It is. I remember when Jonathan first started selling plants on eBay; he got very few bids and people (including myself) were able to get plants at incredible deals. But, once the word got around on his auctions, by the third or fourth round he was getting prices commensurate with their rarity and value. It happens with all rare fruit plant sellers who sell on eBay. It happened with me when I did auctions last summer. I sold plants for next to nothing the first two or three weeks. By the time my fourth or fifth round of auctions concluded, the prices were more than high enough to counter the low prices I had received for the first ones.

I probably need to do some eBay auctions myself to clear out my remaining extra plants. It is just that eBay auctions take more time than a sale page on the Forum, and eBay customers can occasionally be a pain to deal with. Also, eBay is taking an ever increasing percentage of the sale amount in fees.

I noticed that Bellamy Trees sold a Brazilian guava during his latest round of eBay auctions for $34.00 plus shipping. Now, I am not saying that he should not have gotten that much for his Brazilian guava; he is a great seller who I have bought several plants from in the past. I am simply saying that to any growers who want a Brazilian guava, I still have one left; it is less expensive, and you do not have to worry about being outbid.

Also, my Plinia phitrantha Branca and Escarlate jaboticabas need to be up-potted very soon. They are putting on new growth but are root-bound and have been for a while. Their sale prices and shipping costs will go up once I re-pot them. Order now if you want them at their current prices.

Yes, your jaboticaba can be revived if, as other growers have stated, its cambium layer is still alive. You will be able to see if you scratch through the surface of the bark and see green beneath. Check an area on the stem a little above the soil line. Do not scratch too much or scratch completely around the tree, you do not want to girdle or otherwise damage it any further. If it is still alive, keep it well watered and do not allow it to dry out. Keep your jaboticaba in a shaded, warm, humid area away from strong sun, high heat, cold, or any other extreme conditions.

Most jaboticabas, or at least the species or varieties most commonly grown by collectors, really like to be wet. They can get root diseases if left standing in water too long, which causes their soil to become anaerobic. But, that condition comes after months of continually standing in water without ever drying out even slightly. Allowing a jaboticaba to completely dry out and stay dry for even a few days leads to a quick death sentence. Jaboticabas seem to be one plant that it is better to over-water than under-water, the opposite of most container plants.

Here is a photograph of a Plinia phitrantha in my collection. Through a bit of neglect coupled with dry conditions in my area, I allowed it to get too dry this spring, about three months ago. It completely defoliated and did not have any leaves for over a month. I kept it watered and placed it in a location where it was shaded from the sun, particularly harsh afternoon sun. It has come back, though not to the level of growth it previously had, at least not yet. It will need a bit of pruning to re-shape it once it is back to full strength. It also has probably been set back a year as to when it will fruit, since all the growth it has done this spring and summer is simply to recover to where it was before I let it get too dry.

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