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Jujube

Pot, 6-12" JUJU_6-12 $14.20
Pot, 12-18" JUJU_12-18 $16.20

The Chinese Date-Jujube

Jujube is probably one of the most widely distributed fruit plants in the world found in various forms and species even in South America.  People have been eating this fruit since 9000 BC. Because of its high energy date like consistency and its ability to grow untended in rocky dry locations the jujube was soon cultivated and many named selections exist.  We have seen and tasted this plant in Iowa. There it is highly fruitful and true to its name, it tasted a lot like a date. Picked in December, the fruit reminded me of dried apple in flavor. This is where Oikos Tree Crops came in. The named selections are mostly if not entirely all warmer zone 6 ish plants and growing them in Michigan does not work really. (But I do hope someone proves me wrong.) However there are some very northern strains and varieties from Northern China and elsewhere that could grow here if given a chance. So we started over again this time producing seedlings from a zone 5 ish cultivar as well as known selections that have survived through some brutal winters.  We now offer these for sale. 

2 year plants grown in pots-  This ensures good transplant success as well as providing our good organic soil mix made with Espoma fertilizers. 

Plants usually are self fertile but having more than one may aid in fruit production. Jujube grows fast and will fruit  in 4-6 years from seedling. Jujubes are kind of expensive to buy grafted often twice to three times what we charge. These offer a chance to at least grow the plant without the loss during a cold winter. For sure these will take minus 15 F and likely minus 20 F. They have already and there was no damage to the trees. Other less than cold hardy plants we were testing in the same location died to the ground. The jujubes did not.  Jackpot! It worked.


Our experience growing Jujube in Michigan:  Starting in the late 80's we began germinating and growing jujube from several different commercial seed sources. We also grew one other species just for grins.  One of the plantings we made contained a row of over 25 seedlings on a steep and rocky slope. We found out that winter was no friend to the jujube in Michigan. Every now and then we still see the rather alfalfa looking foliage deep in the grass reaching a height of 6 inches after 30 years. It was much later we discovered that seed source did make a difference and found a northern seed source from another retail supplier who had access to a jujube collection. It was just luck but now-no die back when exposed to minus 20 F once and minus 15 F the second winter. There wasn't even tip die back. Good news, now we are going back to replant but this time just to be sure we are quadrupling the seedling planting to finally get a good selection going. Seed source reflects the large geographical range of the jujube and what should be called the human energy vector to distribute the delicious and healthy fruit.  It might also be quite accidental as people pitched the seeds along the route they were traveling making traveling easier and more enjoyable for future generations. hmm an early food mart off the highway exit?

Plant Specs
Genus & Species Ziziphus jujuba