I'm in Zone 10b, in Los Angeles county (about 10 minutes north of Disneyland). The spot would be in the full-sun with a block wall nearby that would radiate a lot of heat, as it gets baked all afternoon in the sun. The varieties I'm considering are Beaumont, James or Cate.
Has anyone grown macadamias from a nut? What was your experience? What was the germination rate? Any insight you could offer someone attempting to grow from seed?
Will they do OK in a hot, dry environment? I know they are native to Australia, so I assume that they'd do OK here once established.
I read an old Los Angeles Times article on Macadamias but can't find it. I have no direct experience, maybe this article will be helpful.
They grow moderately slowly. It will take years before they offer any significant shade or get tall. I planted mine about 10 years ago and they are perhaps 10 foot high now.
Once established they handle dry conditions ok. But in order to produce a decent crop, they need moisture during flowering time. The orchards here that are in dry locations will run drip irrigation during the flowering season. I have a friend living in a dry location and has a dozen trees. She directs her grey water to the trees during flowering time, thus getting an abundant crop each year.
Hope this info helps.
Just thought I'd add two cents - I grew up in the Macadamia's original habitat in Australia (though I know there are a lot more varieties now adapting to more conditions). It's hot but not really dry: our Winter is quite dry but Spring and Summer are very humid and can get relatively wet (when it's not in drought), with big storms every few days and occasional coastal lows that bring in rain, and then Autumn is flood season that usually sees at least one weakened tropical cyclone (hurricane) come down. So I'd also suggest having a method of keeping up quite a bit of moisture to the tree in those seasons.
And yeah, it will take quite a number of years for a seed-grown tree to become mature and productive, I think a decade or more.
They yes, if you want shade sooner, start with a tree already tall from nursery. After 7 years I still have no nuts and little shade. Also, they grew more high than large. I do not see them as giving thick shade.
I can also give another idea for shade > eucalyptus citriodora, also from Australia. After only 5 years, one I did from a tiny seed is HUGE! It is beautiful and gives medicine. And such a smell for a shade tree...
Then I also have a lili pili and it grows super quick, is thicker, can be trained as hedge or to any form by cutting it, and gives an edible berry. It has the consistance of apples, so is not too messy on the ground. Not very sweat and good in salads, decorative as it has pink berries, and nice burgundy sprouts.
Xisca Nicolas wrote:...I also have a lili pili and it grows super quick, is thicker, can be trained as hedge or to any form by cutting it, and gives an edible berry...
Hi Xisca, any advice on where to get lilli pilli trees in the canary islands? do they need a lot of water in our dry climate? Are they ok when it hits 40C+ ?
Xisca Nicolas wrote:
I can also give another idea for shade > eucalyptus citriodora, also from Australia. After only 5 years, one I did from a tiny seed is HUGE! It is beautiful and gives medicine. And such a smell for a shade tree.
Is it allelopathic? I'd hate to grow something that ultimately would sterilize the entire area from growing all the other wonderful stuff that grows there now.
Xisca Nicolas wrote:I can also give another idea for shade > eucalyptus citriodora, also from Australia. After only 5 years, one I did from a tiny seed is HUGE! It is beautiful and gives medicine. And such a smell for a shade tree...
I live in a eucalyptus area and eucalyptus grow so high that you'll never be able to get rid of them because it would cost a fortune to pay a professional to go so high up to trim them. Once planted they're a permanent fixture to your yard. I consider them quite ugly too as they don't have many leaves either, so they don't provide very much shade. On the other hand people from many streets away will know exactly where your house is because they'll see the tree. haha
Just a warning.
My favourite Australian tree is the Port Jackson Fig, but it'll ruin your plumbing and foundations, and Illawarra Flame Tree whose red leaves look like fire.