sister wants to grow NZ tree tomatoes (tamarillos). Can you tell
me their botanical name and also do you need 2 plants for them to
bear fruit? Also, my acmena hedge is plagued by a purple vine. It
has heart-shaped leaves and seems to grow very prolifically despite
my best efforts. It has runners and grows around the trees strangling
them. It also has a very pretty purple flower. Do you know what
it is and how do I get rid of it?
tree tomato or tamarillo (Cyphomandra betacea) is a frost-tender
subtropical warm temperate member of the potato family. It
is actually a native of the Americas, although it has been grown
and developed in New Zealand for some time. You do not usually need
two plants for them to bear fruit, although it can improve seed
and therefore fruit set. There are a number of colour variants available,
including the usual dark-red and oranges and yellows. Trees will
reach 3 metres in height, and are relatively short-lived, rarely
lasting more than 5 years. Unfortunately, tamarillos can be affected
by a virus disease, which causes blemished fruit (there is no cure).
Try to choose healthy looking plants if you can.
It sounds like your acmena
hedge is being strangled by common or blue morning glory (Ipomoea
indica), a relative of the kumara (Ipomoea batatas).
This can be quite hard to get rid of. As you say, it does produce
runners and its stems twine very closely around other plants. I
had a lot of this in my garden, and unfortunately, if you want to
get rid of it without killing other plants you will have to do as
I did, which is to remove it by hand, cutting the stems at ground
level, and digging up the roots. If parts of the morning glory are
free of other plants, you may be able to carefully apply herbicide.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH