I myself bought a Jujube tree (Li cultivar if memory serves) at an Asian grocery for $45 in a none-too-large pot, late last spring. Planted it out, where it sat all summer holding on to the same leaves it had when I bought it, but putting on almost zero new growth. It still looks like a live tree so I'm hopeful it will take off this summer.
Meanwhile I am interested in planting more from seed. "Everybody says" that the good eating varieties don't come true from seed, but I don't much care since I wouldn't mind having lots of root stock if my seedling trees turned out not to be tasty.
However, getting viable seeds is tricky. This source says that most fruit sold for eating doesn't contain viable seeds, because it comes from self-fertilized trees:
California Rare Fruit Growers jujube page
My experience so far is in accord. I bought several different types of dried eating Jujubes at various Asian groceries over the last year, and found them typically to contain seeds that were empty; when I would crack open the outer husk the inner cavities that should contain seeds were just full of air. (This source has a nice picture of a cracked-open Jujube seed pod with no seeds inside.)
I recently bought some seeds from eBay that were promised to be viable, but I have yet to crack them open to see if they have actual seeds inside.
Day before yesterday I was stunned to see some fresh fruits labeled "Jujube, Thai" at an Asian grocery, but I snapped up an expensive package on the off chance that they would have viable seeds inside. There's a risk they might be "Indian Jujube" (Ziziphus mauritiana) which is more tropical than temperate, but oh well:
As you can see from the photograph, some of the smaller fruits have broken seed husks inside them that fall apart into two haves when you cut open the fruit. And of course there's no actual seed inside. Currently I've eaten about half that package and found two whole seed husks, much fatter and larger than the broken ones from the smaller fruit. Once I've got all the seed pods I'll break them open (carefully!) and see if any viable-looking seeds are inside.
Viable Jujube seeds must exist, because here are three different Youtube videos showing people germinating them:
As you can see in the videos, a viable jujube fruit "seed" is a hard-shelled pod or nut that contains two seeds similar to healthy-looking apple seeds.
If I find any actual viable-looking Jujube seeds from any of my sources this spring and can get them to germinate, I'll update this thread.
I bought the seeds from ebay and it was rather expensive to buy only 5 of them, however they came with very detailed germination instructions which went something like this:
-place the seeds in a shallow bowl with hot salt water (it was a specific dilution but I winged it)- discard whichever ones float after 12 hours. (immediately 3 of 5 floated and conitued to float.. leaving me with only two MAYBE viable seeds)
-plant seeds 1 inch deep in a deep pot with rich compost 2 inches apart, water well, and leave for 2 (or 3?) months (I put my pot in a ziploc bag to create a humidity tent)
- then the next steps are fuzzy, because I haven't yet executed them and I am starting several difficult seeds all with ridiculously specific instructions… I think I'm supposed to put them in a cool dark place for some more months and then bring them outside…
If anyone is interested let me know and when I am home I can go look up the source they came from as well as the detailed instructions and leave them here. However I haven't had any results yet so who knows if it's credible...
According to the video, it's rather useless to try to grow them from seed. You are better off using their suckers as rootstock and then grafting your favorite variety over them if you want to expand your or
I have 10 jujubes growing in my orchard (2 each of 5 varieties). We grew 2 that we planted last year, and they produced fruit in the first year (Li and Lang). My family loved them so much, that I added 2 sugarcanes, 2 coco, and 2 GA866 to finish out my collection. The key to jujube is to let them ripen on the tree!!! Also, I suggest dangling old CDs on the tree branches to keep the birds away. As soon as they ripened, and start getting red, the birds seem attracted to them.
However, when it comes to growing jujubes from seed it seems to be the same basic story as any other fruit that doesn't necessarily come true. Seedlings are likely to prove disappointing, but then you can use them as root stock for a known good variety. I'm not letting that deter me from trying to grow any kind of fruit trees from seed, because it's really my only alternative; I just don't have the budget for a substantial quantity of nursery trees, especially when I have to pay shipping on them. Fortunately I have a lot of space, and jujubes are said to fruit fairly fast. It's the business of seeds being empty if they weren't pollinated properly -- and nobody much wanting seeds on a commercial basis because of the not-coming-true issue -- that have complicated my seedling-growing scheme so far.
Fortunately after most of a year of anxiously watching it do almost nothing, my Li tree finally is showing signs of being quite happy:
I think the secret to getting jujubes started well is to do everything "wrong" -- assume they're actually something else so you don't follow the correct seeding/planting directions; forget you planted them and then lose them entirely for a couple of years; rediscover them grown about 2 feet tall in old plastic pots, with the bottoms broken out and the roots pushed through into the ground exactly where you would prefer NOT to grow them; intend to transplant them somewhere more favorable but then forget to do it for a couple more years (while they grow about 6' taller and start fruiting); and finally end by cutting away the containers -- which are really of no use at this point -- and decide they may as well stay where they are. That's how we did it.
The ironic thing is we didn't even order jujube seeds but raisin tree seeds. The seed company (Tradewinds Fruit) screwed up and sent the wrong thing and we were too inexperienced with either species to realize the mistake for several years (when the trees never looked "right" and started producing fruits that in no way resembled raisin tree fruits). Fortunately, these little guys (4 of them) are producing like crazy, so it was a good mistake in the end. We ordered more raisin tree seeds from Tradewinds today, so it will be interesting to see what we get this time!
As I mentioned upthread, I've had really bad luck with seeds from Tradewinds. So far nothing I've had from them has germinated. Granted that I'm only just learning how to stratify stuff, so it may not be entirely their fault. Their Raisin Tree seeds have done nothing for me. Half of them I planted using the instructions on the packet and the other half I worked harder at stratification. I'm still hoping something will happen in those pots after the soil really finishes warming up, but the first batch I planted last summer are probably long dead by now.
Jane Reed wrote:J.L.Hudson Seedsman has jujube seeds. They recommend stratifying them, so obtain seeds now and not in the spring, like I did. I was lucky, however, and two of the several seeds I started did germinate.
I live in LA, too and have started a tiny nursery with trees I've started from seed, although I haven't tried sprouting jujube seeds or checked to see if any I have are viable. I got a bunch of sun dried jujubes from my cousin in Utah, who collects them off the ground in her neighborhood. I sent you (Jane) a PM through FB, if I succeeded in finding your profile, that is
My jubube story prior to today, summarized: I have one tree sourced from a Chinese grocery store, that's now been in the ground for three summers and two winters. It flowered last year, but has been very slow to put on growth. Finally this summer I got a lot of new foliage, but no flowers.
I have bought seed (expensive, just 10 or so seeds per packet) from two different sources: no germination. I have tried the seeds from fresh grocery store jujubes and several different dried jujube food products from China. No germination; rumors that commercial jujubes tend to have sterile seeds due to self-pollination seem possibly true.
So there I was today, going to visit a friend who lives a couple of counties away. You might call him a doomsteader; he's burrowed into his land like a tick, he's got earthworks and ponds and goats and hugels and trees from Stark Brothers. But he doesn't fully share my interest in wild edibles and native fruit trees. In the past he's let me dig up wild persimmons that he was planning to brush hog, if that helps give you the picture. (However, I noticed today he hasn't brush hogged all of them; I might be wearing off on him a smidgeon.)
I was driving down his driveway when I noticed that there were some sort of fruity bushes or small trees on both sides of the road. They were sized about like our local sand plums, and the leaves looked familiar, and they had fruit all over them about the size of table grapes or smaller olives, but I could not figure out what they were.
Of course there's no drama to this story considering the thread we are in. But here's how it went down.
I asked him what the fruit bushes were at the top of his driveway. "I think those are sand plums", he said. "But they have a lot of prickers on them, so I had my guy spray some poison on them last week."
My heart sank, but I ignored the poison. "I don't think those are sand plums", says me, "they aren't the right color and it's the wrong time of year, at least for the sand plums that grow up my way. But there are five kinds of wild plums and a bunch of hybrids here in Oklahoma, so maybe. You say they are really thorny?"
About that time his wife walks quietly up beside me and hands me a plastic beer cup full of little olive-sized fruits. "I picked these before they sprayed the poison," she said real quiet, "if you want a closer look." She's a good woman. I don't think she was entirely keen on the poison plan, but she's not going to say so outright. She picked some fruit in advance of the spraying, bless her. And now here she is handing me the fruits, which I very much wanted a closer look at. "They're a little dried out and mushy", she said, "but they should be OK."
I took one out. It was dark and wrinkled and not too promising. But I ripped it apart and it smelled good, so I took a nibble.
Very distinctive taste flooded my mouth. Sweet, sugar, tasted exactly like a date. I'm like "I know that taste" because the dried jujubes I bought at the Chinese store and laboriously gnawed the pits out of tasted like that. "That's a jujube!" I exclaimed in wonderment. Then I ripped it all the way open and exposed the pit. Sure enough! The same distinctive long pit with sharp ends that was in every Jujube seed source I ever found.
So then we talked about the possible sources. This land has no history of being a home site prior to five years or so ago, but the rather substantial patch of jujube bushes are clearly spreading down the slope from the neighbor's land, where there is an old barn but no modern house. Perhaps there could have been a jujube planting there, back when there was also a house, decades before. Or perhaps this patch began from a bird-delivered seed from a Jujube tree somewhere miles away.
And then we talked about the poison. It's not the first time he's had his handyman spray poison on these thorny bushes, and it wasn't too effective the first time. We both figure he'll still have plenty of live Jujube bushes next spring, and I have a standing invite to come and dig some then, which I fully intend to do. I won't bother this fall, though, because I don't know which ones are doomed by the poison spray and I don't want to waste my time digging up dead trees.
Meanwhile, his wife gave me the cup of unsprayed fruit, so I have some seeds to play with. I think they'll be fertile; I think his patch is spreading at least in part by self-seeding, since it seems to be growing primarily in the down-slope direction.
The fruits themselves are very small compared to modern jujube cultivars, but they are very sweet and sugary. From what I can gather, when a Jujube cultivar has fertile seed, the seedlings tend to revert to something closer to the sour jujube wild ancestor species: small, thorny, shrubby. And that's what these are, so I am thinking they must be descended from a "good" Jujube tree somewhere in the neighborhood, that may be long dead.
Got to looking online and found an article about Jujubes that included this photo and caption. My friend's patch looks just like this except for he doesn't have a visible "original planting" tall tree in the middle (or anywhere near). And we have a lot more rain than they do in Tucumcari so his patch is considerably more dense and lush:
These trees are fruiting prolifically on a piece of well-drained cow pasture that's not been irrigated or fertilized in living memory. They taste good, they're as sweet as a date from a palm tree, and they thrive without any care whatsoever through the heat of an Oklahoma summer. I don't care if they're shrubby and thorny and small; I want them in my food forest. Finding them today completely made my day. I even managed not to give my friend too much shit about the whole "oh, yeah, I just had my man spray poison on them" thing.
Wild and feral jujubes. In Oklahoma, in a pasture. I never would have looked for that!
Well I live in the Deserts of Utah, my lovely home. I am wanting to create a drought tolerant/cold tolerant food forest. I love permaculture plants are amazing. haha anyways I am looking to obtain cold tolerant jujubee seeds from someone who maybe growing Jujubees in a similar climate as mine or just has some great plant genetics that they would being happy to give to another Permy. Obvioulsly my thinking is they will be my best choice for survival. Would anybody be willing to trade or sell me some of their seeds please?!?!?
I found multiple online nurseries listing the same varieties but with different hardiness some as hardy to zone 6, some zone 4, some zone 5...Does any one have experience growing and harvesting fruit from a Jujube tree in zone 5 or zone 4?
any good place to find jujube plants/seed near New York
I'm afraid I have to disappoint you.
Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) is bred and cultivated since about 4000 years.
The Chinese eat more jujube than apples.
It turns out that the longer a species is bred the more unlikely it is that you get a seedling close to the mother plant or even better.
Apples and Jujube are probably an equal time in cultivation. And you probably know what you usually get from an apple seedling ?
Mr. Floyd Zaiger, the leading fruit breeder these days said that he has to plant 25000 seedlings to get one seedling better than the mother plant.
That is your chance too to get a good or even better jujube from seed.
Not impossible, but very unlikely.
You have to root or graft a cutting if you don't want risk wasting 4+ years for a tree which fruits you don't like to eat.
and now i LOVE this fruit.
So much, i bought several more plants.
Now i have 2 Sherwoods, a Coco, a Li, and 2 of the original plants
which i never got a name, but they taste great.
and i am running out of room, or , would get more.
Ive planted several from seed.
and as long as the seed husk is removed, and the seed nicked,
they will germinate, however the percentage might be low.
You can also find some of its cousins at Top-tropicals and Tradewinds
Buffulo thorn, Indian Jujube, and Z Nummilaria (not sure if that is spelled right).
Normally, i have found that if you buy them on ebay
or from someone not knowledgeable about Jujube
the seed husk will be empty.
If the parent tree was not cross pollinated
often the husk contains no seed
or, the seed is not viable.
I didnt find this to be the case with Indian Jujube
as i have a couple that have germinated for me
although the percent was a bit low.
I did have a large plant die on me.
It was my first tree. It got about 12ft tall, and full of fruit
absolutely delicious !
I think it was planted in a low spot, and after a series of rains
it just gave up.
The roots did not look like root-rot, but, im no expert.
its possible it was that i had planted it an inch or so too deep.
it wasnt much, but i had mulched it very heavily, and the mulch was sitting against the trunk,.
coupled with non-stop rain for days didnt help.
Make sure they have good drainage.
and if you much them, keep the mulch a couple of inches away from the base of the tree.
Dan Boone wrote:Pearl, will do!
My friend kept saying "well, if you do plant them, make sure you put them somewhere they can't escape, they have those thorns and they get everywhere!" And here I was thinking "Escape? Let'em take the whole 40 acres, if they do I'm in the Jujube business!"
I came across your thread while looking up info on Jujubes.
I am in California and have been blessed enough to have a backyard full of jujube trees, I'm not sure what variety. They were planted long before I moved in and have yieled an enormous crop of awesome fruit.
The seeds of these particular cultivars appear to be capable of sprouting and growing into full-fledged jujube trees, some quite thorny, others with a minimal amount of thorns, but all with fruit.
Do you have any update on the trees you spotted in Oklahoma?
Do you still need some seeds?
Here are some photos of my plants:
Also, here is a rather lengthy video showing off some of mine:
I have 3 young jujubes I've grown from seed and am looking forward to the day when I can harvest some fruit. I was heartened to see in your video that a tree grown from seed was producing fruit.