May 30, 2024


Read Time:8 Minute, 50 Second

  Tamarillo is easy to grow and manage and has egg-shaped edible fruits very rich in most nutritional components, It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, and is also high in minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus and magnesium


The common varieties are

  • Ecuadorian orange
  • Gold mine
  • Inca gold
  • Red Oratia
  •  Roth came
  • Ruby red
  • Solid Gold
  •  Yellow

Note: Red Oratia type is popular is because 97% of it is edible and it’s a favorite in the market due to its shape and size.


Propagation is done by

  • Seed: develops into high-branched erect shrub while cuttings develop into shorter bushy plants with low lying branches.

Cuttings: it should only be from plants that are 1 – 2 years old with a thickness of 1.5 to 2.5 cm (3/8 to 1 inch) and a length of 45 to75 cm (18 to 30 inches).

Factors considered when growing tomarillo

The establishment of an orchard is a long-term investment and deserves very critical planning. The primary consideration before setting up an orchard is to analyze the available resources in the context of those, which are essential for successful fruit production. Careful planning results in optimum production, high returns, and long tree life. Poor initial decisions can be costly and difficult to correct later. All available pertinent information should therefore be sought out before final commitments are made. Site selection is one of the most important decisions a grower will make over the life of an orchard. Virtually every aspect of production and marketing is, to a degree, affected by the site. It affects cropping consistency, fruit quality, pest pressures, and marketing success.

  • Water: Choose a site where there is ready access to a water supply. This can be a permanent river, spring, reliable water project, or borehole. Since tree tomatoes cannot withstand prolonged drought. An even distributed annual rainfall of above 600mm is suitable. Irrigation should be done in low rainfall regions.
  • Soil: the crop does well in well-drained sandy loam, well supplied with humus (over 2% organic matter). Heavy clay soils that are usually poorly drained encourage disease development and impede field operations including weeding. For clay soils, it is advisable to use organic matter in the ratio of 2 parts to one part of the soil to improve fertility, reduce leaching of nutrients below roots level. Does well in optimum pH of 5.0-8.5.
  • Temperature:  thrives in warm to hot regions of the temperature range of 15-20 degrees centigrade. Fruit is sweeter when grown during the warm sunny season.

Field operations

Land preparation should be done early to allow for weeds to dry and decompose before planting. Harrowing is later done to break soil hard pans and attain a fine tilth.

Transplanting:  8 weeks grafted seedlings are transplanted. Transplant when 1.0 – 1.5m high While transplanting, careful handling is important to avoid disturbing the roots.

To prevent transplanting shock, seedlings should be sprayed with OPTIMIZER 10ml/20l.

Transplant procedure as follows;

  • Prepare planting holes 2m *2m.
  • Mix topsoil with manure and DAP and fill the holes with the mixture. To improve on nutrient uptake, root development, stimulate plant growth among other benefits, mix manure (1 debe ) or fertilizer
  • Newly transplanted seedlings should be watered regularly until they are established.

Management practices for tomarillo orchard

  • Weeding: Weeds are plants growing in undesired places. They compete with the target crop for growth factors like nutrients, sunlight, space, and water, as well as harboring pathogens that directly the performance of the crop.
  • De-budding: De-bud trees when they are 1.5-2m (3-4ft) to promote multiple branching.
  • Pruning:  helps to control plant and fruit size and harvesting. If timed properly pruning can extend the total bearing period of the tree. Newly grown tree tomatoes should be pruned to a height of 90-120cm (3-4ft) to encourage branching and makes them stronger to carry the weight of fruits.
  • Mulching: helps in the suppression of weeds and moisture conservation. Decomposed mulch materials release nutrients into the soil which are absorbed by the plants.
  • Irrigation: done especially if rainfall is inadequate to ensure a steady supply of moisture and especially during flowering and fruiting stages. In the productive stage, the plant requires a consistent supply of water; an average of 30litres per plant per week. Irrigation has been shown to increase fruit production by increasing fruit size when applied during fruit development
  • Inter-cropping: While the tomarillo is not yet fully productive, inter-cropping of cash crops like vegetables, legumes, root crops, and other annual crops are recommended. Aside from added income, it will also prevent the growth of weeds and loosen the soil in the orchard. However, this inter-crop should be stopped once the main crop becomes too crowded.

Pest and disease management


-the most common disease in tomarillo are ascochyta disease, powdery mildew, blight, mosaic When this attacks the yields is affected adversely.

Powdery mildew: Infection is characterized by the development of gray-white powdery growth majorly on leaves and stems, which causes them to become distorted. The plant may eventually wilt as disease severity increases.

Remedy; apply SCORE fungicides.

  • Ascochyta disease: characterized by dry circular and concentric rings which are black or dark brown, mainly on older leaves.   

Remedy: apply COPPER-based fungicide.

  • blight Initial infection occurs in older leaves with concentric dark brown spots developing on the leaves. As infection advances, infected leaves turn yellow and fall off. On stems, spots without clear contours are seen. The lesions enlarge as severity increases

Remedy: apply MANCOZEB based fungicide

  • Mosaic:  a viral disease and the virus is mechanically transmitted and also spread by several species of aphids in a non-persistent mode. Attacked leaves have reduced size and patches of dark-green tissue alternating with yellow-green. Generally, the plant becomes stunted and the quality of fruits is greatly reduced.

Remedy: control vectors by applying LEXUS

*pests: the most common pest are fruit fly, weevil, scales, and thrips

  • aphids: are small black or greenish soft-bodied sap-sucking insects and members of the superfamily Aphidoidea. They feed by piercing and sucking sap on tender shoots, especially on the lower leaf surface. The attacked shoots become stunted and the leaves are curled and twisted.

Remedy: apply PRESENTO

  • Thrips: are sap-sucking insects If the population is high leaves may be distorted; leaves are covered in coarse stippling and may appear silvery; leaves speckled with black feces; the insect is small (1.5 mm) and slender and best viewed using a hand lens; adult is dark brown to black in color and female has red pigmentation on abdominal segments.

Remedy: Spray LEXUS

  • White flies:  are tiny sap-sucking white-winged insects that cause damage by inserting their stylets into leaf veins and extracting nourishment from the phloem sap. The affected plant loses its vitality resulting in yellowing, downward curling, and an eventual drying of leaves

     Remedy: Spray PENTAGON

Nutrition and nutrition deficiencies

Nutrition is key for a yearlong high and quality fruit production. Both basal and foliar fertilizers should be applied to ensure that the plants are supplied with both macro and micronutrient elements. Basal fertilizers are absorbed by the plants through the roots and include DAP, CAN, NPK, UREA, among others. Farmyard manure could also be added, depending on the organic matter of the soil. Foliar fertilizersare absorbed by the plants through the foliage and include OPTIMIZER, DIMIPHITE, ZINC GOLD, LAVENDER, GOLD CHANCE SERIES, and VITABOR GOLD. Sufficient nutrient supply prevents deficiencies that weaken the plants making them susceptible to attack by pathogens.


  • Potassium deficiency
  • Symptoms only develop on young leaves in the case of extreme deficiency. Some of the leaves show marginal necrosis (tip burn), and at a more advanced deficiency status show inter-veinal necrosis. This group of symptoms is very characteristic of K deficiency symptoms. As the deficiency progresses, most of the interveinal area becomes necrotic, the veins remain green and the leaves tend to curl and crinkle. In contrast to nitrogen deficiency, chlorosis is irreversible in potassium deficiency, even if potassium is given to the plants

Correction; spray DIMIPHITE

  • Nitrogen deficiency
  • Older leaves gradually change from green to paler green. As the deficiency progresses these older leaves become uniformly yellow (chlorotic). Leaves approach a yellowish-white color under extreme deficiency. The young leaves at the top of the plant maintain a green but paler color and tend to become smaller in size. Branching is reduced resulting in short, spindly plants. The yellowing in nitrogen deficiency is uniform over the entire leaf including the veins.
  • Correction; spray LAVENDER
  • Boron deficiency
  • Show light general chlorosis. Boron deficiency results in necrosis of meristematic tissues in the growing region, leading to loss of apical dominance and the development of a rosette condition. These deficiency symptoms are similar to those caused by calcium deficiency. The leaves are unusually brittle and tend to break easily. Also, there is often a wilting of the younger leaves even under an adequate water supply, pointing to a disruption of water transport caused by a boron deficiency.
  •  Correction; spray VITABOR GOLD
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Show necrosis around the base of the leaves. The very low mobility of calcium is a major factor determining the expression of calcium deficiency symptoms in plants. Classic symptoms of calcium deficiency include blossom-end rot of tomato. Symptoms show soft dead necrotic tissue at rapidly growing areas, which is generally related to poor translocation of calcium to the tissue rather than a low external supply of calcium. This ultimately results in the margins of the leaves growing more slowly than the rest of the leaf, causing the leaf to cup downward. Plants under chronic calcium deficiency have a much greater tendency to wilt than non-stressed plants

Maturity, Harvesting and Post-harvest handling

  • Tree tomatoes usually start to bear fruits (matures) within 18 months of planting.
  • They usually come into full production within 3 or 4 years.
  • Fruits are ready to harvest when they develop the red or yellow color.
  • To harvest simply pull the fruits from the shrubs with a snapping motion leaving the stalk attached. Well-nourished plants can produce up to 66 kg per year.
  • You can pick fruits twice a week for the whole year except when you spray them to control pests and diseases
  • Post-harvest: The picked fruit should be placed in a cool dry place away from the sun. To maintain quality, it is best to process the fruits soon after harvest

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Team OxfarmAg

We assists fruit farmers produce market fit produce and connect them to the market.
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  1. Am so gland to u giving us this information am looking forward to visit UA demonstration yard at kigwa to learn more

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