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Why won't my pepinos ripen?

WE have had a lovely 'Incredible Ruby' pepino growing in an ideal spot for the last few months. It has been very healthy until recent weeks, when it has got quite scraggly-looking. Does this bush need pruning right back to tidy it up?

The bush has produced a lot of fruit.

However, after one or two pepinos ripening while they were small, the rest of the large crop has continued to grow larger and larger, but with no sign of ripening. I even picked one and put it on the kitchen windowsill to see if that would ripen it, but it is still as hard as a rock. Have you any ideas as to why these fruit haven't ripened? They look so lovely on the outside.


THE 'Incredible Ruby' pepino is an exciting new edible that needs a warm, frost-free position to do well. Pepinos come from Peru and Chile, where they are eaten as veges, rather than fruit. They are ideal for pots on deck or in your garden beds.

The small, vigorous plants flower during spring and summer and fruit heavily from December until the first frost.

The medium to large egg-shape fruit turns yellow with purple stripes when ripe. The weather may simply have got too cold to ripen your large fruit - you could try the old trick of storing them in a plastic bag with an over-ripe banana to see if that helps.

Pepinos will start to look a bit scraggly by the end of summer. For the best results, feed with a low nitrogen-based fertiliser early in spring. You can also cut back the tired stems in spring. Wait until all danger of frosts has passed before you prune your plant back.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 127, 2003, Page 27

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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