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Old 12-13-2017, 10:59 AM
 
4 posts, read 139 times
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Hello, all!

Has anyone had success in growing the "Strawberry Tree" in the Houston, TX area? For reference:

[url=http://www.thegardenhelper.com/arbutus.html]Strawberry Trees, How to grow and care for a Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo - Garden Helper, Gardening Questions and Answers[/url]

I'm thinking of starting it indoors and transplanting outside once it is about a year old.

Thoughts?

I appreciate your help!
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:20 PM
 
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FWIW, this plant is not that hard to get from mail-order sources and with a potentially larger plant you might be able to get it into your garden much quicker than trying to raise it from seed. if interested PM me for some suggested sources. the concern for growing this plant in your area is not cold hardiness but tolerance of the hot and humid summers your area has that are different from it's native summer dry "Mediterranean" type climate. if you grow one, suggest you provide it a site with very good drainage (possibly on a berm or mound or on a slope) and afternoon shade to moderate high summer heat. have seen pictures of plants that are apparently growing in Atlanta, GA so it is not impossible. you might also consider the Texas native arbutus xalapensis (aka a. texana) from the hill country which should naturally be more tolerant of your conditions or a. arizonica from Arizona which has similar growing requirements coming from an area with hot summers but periodic summer moisture. BTW, several other plants like some of the taller crepe myrtles (lagerstroemia species and hybrids) can have very similar looking smooth "peeling" bark ("Choctaw, "Osage", and "Tuskegee" for example) and are already well-adapted to many parts of the "south"---they are deciduous but they have a long season of flowers and they may be easier to find and grow. the one particular crepe myrtle to look for a lagerstroemia faueri especially the cultivars "townhouse" and "fantasy" have strikingly beautiful reddish brown bark. hope this helps.

Last edited by georgeinbandonoregon; 12-13-2017 at 08:51 PM..
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Somewhere, out there in Zone7B
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I saw 2 not too long ago. Very nice tree, interesting bark. Wanted to try the berries but the ones that were on ground were past their prime and the ones in the tree I couldn't reach. These trees were very old. These trees are in Oconee County, NC. which is Zone 7, I believe.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldemila View Post
I saw 2 not too long ago. Very nice tree, interesting bark. Wanted to try the berries but the ones that were on ground were past their prime and the ones in the tree I couldn't reach. These trees were very old. These trees are in Oconee County, NC. which is Zone 7, I believe.

well, in many cases the "strawberries" while luscious looking are in fact not especially tasty. the name "unedo" literally "I eat one (only)" as they are often full of seeds and rather insipid in most cases---rather similar in look and taste to those of cornus kousa (Japanese dogwood) also not especially famed as a desert fruit.
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Old Yesterday, 12:59 PM
 
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Thank you for the response! I appreciate all of the suggestions.

I know it's not the best plant for the humidity in Houston, but I fell in love with it when I went to Portugal. I know most people don't like the fruit, but I loved it! Was hoping that it would do well enough here that I could grow my own.
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Old Yesterday, 02:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MroseJohnson9 View Post
Thank you for the response! I appreciate all of the suggestions.

I know it's not the best plant for the humidity in Houston, but I fell in love with it when I went to Portugal. I know most people don't like the fruit, but I loved it! Was hoping that it would do well enough here that I could grow my own.

you can certainly try growing it (and I would strongly suggest considering some of the ideas I put forth on drainage---especially if the soil is heavy clay) and exposure and/or the native arbutus species that might be naturally more adaptable to your area. in any case, good luck and happy growing.


as for the fruit your results may vary depending on the particular plant you are growing as to how tasty it is---one of the reasons it has not been widely domesticated as a fruit tree is the wide variation in fruit quality. FWIW, believe in Portugal the berries are used to make wine and liquors.
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Old Today, 12:38 PM
 
4 posts, read 139 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgeinbandonoregon View Post
as for the fruit your results may vary depending on the particular plant you are growing as to how tasty it is---one of the reasons it has not been widely domesticated as a fruit tree is the wide variation in fruit quality. FWIW, believe in Portugal the berries are used to make wine and liquors.

You're right - that's exactly what they use it for in Portugal, which is how I fell in love with the fruit. I had a lot of it when I was in Portugal. It's not worth growing/having here if I can't get the fruit in comparable quality & taste here.

Thanks again!
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Old Today, 12:40 PM
 
4 posts, read 139 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldemila View Post
I saw 2 not too long ago. Very nice tree, interesting bark. Wanted to try the berries but the ones that were on ground were past their prime and the ones in the tree I couldn't reach. These trees were very old. These trees are in Oconee County, NC. which is Zone 7, I believe.
Yeah, I get it. The taste is unique and not everyone likes it. But I've eaten them off the ground when they are very tender and soft, and that's the best flavor. Since I have experience with the fruit itself and enjoy it, that's the reason I was asking if anyone had success themselves growing the tree here.

Thanks for the response!
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Old Today, 12:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MroseJohnson9 View Post
You're right - that's exactly what they use it for in Portugal, which is how I fell in love with the fruit. I had a lot of it when I was in Portugal. It's not worth growing/having here if I can't get the fruit in comparable quality & taste here.

Thanks again!
it might be worth considering that (assuming you get the QUANTITY of fruit you want in the first place), you MIGHT be able to improve the QUALITY of the fruit by adding other ingredients like sugar or citric acid and/or the application of heat (cooking) for example---just like some folks change the taste of rather tart/sour cherries and wild plums to make them more palatable.


again, good luck in your experiments both growing the trees and using the fruits.
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