Eriobotrya japonica aka ‘Gold Nugget’ Loquat

I fell in love with this random find. Turned out they were loquats and easy to find locally

So I grabbed 3 at Houston Garden Center. I put one in a full afternoon sun, some what damp place ( my neighbor over waters), 2 in full afternoon sun in a bit drier location. The first doesn’t look so good the others are putting out new leaves. I’ll let the first one sit a couple of weeks just in case.

The tag says:
Full sun
15′-20 spread
15′-20′ tall
drought tolerant
hardy to 10’F, but will drop flowers/fruit at 32’F
fertilize in Feb with time release fertilizer

A bit of digging says they are quite prolificate, producing dozens of yellow/orange fruit but usually only fruit every few years in Houston

More details and photos as I learn about them and they grow…

Full sun does not mean full sun in Houston. So far morning sun through mid day is working out well. The ones that received all day full sun shriveled up. Moderate water, not nearly as drought tolerant as expected. They will require a good soaking at least once a week in dry times.

Since mine were just settling in I dug them up and stuck them in the garage for the big freeze. I’m told they would’ve dropped their leaves and recovered just fine outside.

Nov 2020

Olive Tree

Just home from the store and plopped into the ground (late summer 2019)…

Native to Middle East
Drought resistant

I know little about them yet. I planted it in a spot that gets morning and mid afternoon sun. Despite the lack of rain it seems to be settling in okay. I’ve been watering heavily this week, I’ll taper that off and we’ll see how it does. This is truly drought tolerant and can handle full sun morning through afternoon, it only receives a bit of shade mid day.

… a few months later after its first pruning…

Properly pruned olive tree

Pruning trees
– remove dead branches
– remove the weaker of any branches rubbing up against another branch
– remove inside branches so all branches get plenty of light
Later as the tree grows we’ll trim down its height, suckers, and branches the grow straight up, they seem to sap the strength from other limbs

It’s been pruned again, it’s happily growing like a weed.

This survived the big freeze with temps down to 9’F. The leaves dropped. About 2 weeks after the temperatures warmed up it put out new buds and is recovering

Nov 2020

Carissa Macrocarpa Natal Plum Shrub

Natal Plum Shrub
Natal Plum Shrub
Natal Plum Shrub

Native to South Africa
White flowers
Fruits in summer to fall
Does well in coastal areas, salt tolerant
Propagate by seed or cutting

Attracts night flying insects

These are in pots, receive full afternoon sun and it’s been awfully dry this fall. Still they are happy and even produced a few plums.

Since they’re in buckets we put them in the garage during the deep freeze. I don’t think they would have survived outside. The garage stayed close to freezing

Meyer Lemon Trees

This year I collected my first crop of lemons from my Meyer Lemon tree. The tree’s been here three years. The first two years it bloomed early and I lost the flowers to a late winter chill. I find it’s not uncommon for newly planted plants to be a bit confused about flowering times for a few years.

Lemon and all fruit trees need hours of full sunlight. If the tree isn’t getting full sunlight the fruit may not reach maturity before the cold weather sets in. That said I’ve seen lemon trees covered in healthy fruit late December.

Pruning fruit trees is very important for good fruit production. Light needs to reach all the fruit growing on the tree. When I prune the lemon tree I first remove any dead branches. Then I remove any branches that cross other branches. These will rub in the wind and create wounds that may get infested. Third I remove branches growing down, or growing straight up. Branches growing down get shaded and tend to be weak, ones growing straight up at 90′ angles to the branch they will take all the energy from the branch they are growing from. Lastly I thin out any branches preventing light from reaching into the tree.

In time the tree can reach 18′ tall. You’ll want to prune it to keep it low enough to easily reach the fruit.

Meyer’s Lemon trees are named after Frank Meyer who brought the tree here from China in 1908. The trees quickly became popular until the Meyer Lemon Trees came under attack from a virus in the 1940s. Banned in an effort to save the rest of the citrus trees a new version was bred that was virus free and brought back in the 1970s.

Meyer lemons have thicker skins and are sweeter than most lemons.

Once settled in the tree will often bloom twice a year and provide year round lemons.

Meyer Lemon Trees also make good balcony plants and will grow well in pots.

( also known as Valley Lemon in Texas )

Reasons your tree might not fruit:
– Too little sun
– Late frost kills blooms
– Lack of pollination, flowers but no fruit

Warning: No one told me lemon trees have very large, very sharp thorns. Wear thick leather gloves or tread carefully when pruning.

Easily grows from cuttings.

– scale – treat with insecticidal oils
Citrus greening

Meyer lemons are not considered true lemons being a cross between lemon, orange and mandarins.

Note: This and all the other fruit trees survived the extreme summer of ’11 none bore fruit

2016 I removed this tree. It grew, had a bumper crop of lemons every few years, but the lemons don’t taste very good and the tree was high maintenance. I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

Young tree may die back to ground during a cold winter, then grow back from root stock that is different than original tree. Many fruit trees are grafted onto sturdier root stock. If you’ve cut your tree back to the ground or let root suckers grow you may be getting fruit from the root stock, not the Meyer Lemon Tree. Some one told me that the thorny side has bad fruit. There are thorns on my Meyer Lemon Tree

Papaya Tree (Carica papaya )

This has to be one of the easiest plants I’ve tried. I stuck in in the ground last spring. Then it didn’t rain for 4 months, and we were on strict water rations. Didn’t even phase this papaya. As you can see it grew itself up and just now in mid August has begun to fruit. That said it needs warm weather, it died during the first frost it experienced.

Papaya trees can reach 20′ tall, I’ve yet to see one over 6′ in the Houston area. Leaves can be 2′ across, mine are about a 1′ in width and 18″ in length.

The stem is soft, rings are from previous leaves, much like a palm.

I’ve read fruit and flowering occurs year round, I’ve only seen fruit late summer to fall locally.

There are male and female plants, male flowers are on short stalks, female on the trunk. You need both. I guess I just got lucky.

Grow in full sun. Loves lots of water I’m told, this one seems to have been just fine with out it this summer.

Like many tropical plants it has a white, milky sap, which should make you think it is toxic and it is toxic. Unripe fruit must be cooked and don’t eat the leaves.

Close relative of passion vine.

South American Native used as an important food source in ancient times. Many grow wild near the Mayan ruins. Interestingly papaya contains an enzyme which helps to dissolve raw meat. In Africa papaya leaves are wrapped around raw meat before it is eaten. The meat is then cooked in the leaves. ( see note about toxin and don’t try this at home ) Some believe the juice of the fruit aids stomach problems.

Several viruses can attack papaya, watch for rings on leaves and destroy plant if found. Also cotton root rot can attack papaya.