Chinese mulberry growing tree or shrub of the genus Maclura, also known as Che mulberry or Melonberry, Mandarin melon berry, Chinese mulberry tree is perennial deciduous plant and also used as ornamental plants sometimes with thorns, can grow in subtropics, mediterranean or temperate climate and growing in hardiness zone 5-10 and with the right care in hardiness zone 11a.
Leaves color green in oval shape.
lowers small and the color is white, flowers grow in groups that connected to each other in round shape, the trees are separate to female and male flowers that grow on separate trees.
Chinese mulberry tree edible fruits (Melonberry)
Fruit edible and actually a lot of little fruit that connected and create shape of ball with a lot of angle the size of the fruits 2-5 cm.
Seeds black small and edible, some of the cultivators are seedless and the tree is only a female and don’t need male.
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How to grow Chinese mulberry growing and care:
Female and male tree, some cultivator don’t need two trees just female
How to care:
Add water in the fruits season, better to remove the last fruits of the season, fertilizer in the spring, keep the male tree small and after the bloom prune
What is the best way to start growing?
Plant / Rootstock / Seeds / Vegetative Reproduction (cutting or suckers)
How to propagate:
Propagation by cutting or suckers, cutting in the late winter to early spring before the tree start to grow, use growth hormone, moist soil, in half shade and high humidity, suckers better to take out in the winter but possible all the year, need to take care for the roots when take it of the soil.
Is it necessary to graft or use vegetative reproduction?
Yes, it’s important to graft to have male and female trees, also to ensure the quality of the fruits, size, taste, without thorns and better to use male stock and female of the top, also to keep the male tree suppressed, another option it’s to use cutting for female and then the suckers will fill the garden with those trees
Difficulties or problems when growing:
Fruits attacked easily, big thorn, the plant sending basal shoots from the ground and cover big area (aggressive)
Winter, spring, summer (better not in the summer in hardiness zone 10b-11)
How to plant:
Dig a hole as deep as the current root ball plus extra 100-200%, put in the hole organic matter, hummus and dried leaves and mix it with some soil, put the tree and loos little bit the root ball above the hole, plant the tree and cover it and don’t push the soil too much strong but not too much lightly because it won’t be stable, after this put mulch to keep moist on soil, put water, for the next two weeks put every day (better in the morning) , better to take that the tree will be stable, and if not support it with bamboo or a stick that it won’t fall.
Pests and diseases:
Aphids, mealy bugs
Winter, possible in the autumn after the fruits
How to prune:
Open the growth of the branch
Size of the plant:
2-6 m, 6-20 feet
Growth speed in optimal condition:
Medium growing, some cultivars grow fast
Average amount of water
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Full Sun, possible a little bit less
Is it possible to grow indoor as houseplant?
Growing is also possible in a planter, flowerpot, containers:
Yes, in containers need to keep the plants small, start with pot that will be 70-100% more than the root ball, bigger the plant smaller the percentage, every time that the tree arrive to full capacity need to switch to bigger until arrives to desirable size, better to use this method because the soil lose the viability over time and it’s efficient of care for the tree, when the plant big need to switch part of the soil, be aware that you can just put the soil and not change it for years the tree is not spoil and mostly will grow in the condition that given, , drainage it’s important and need to make holes and to use peat soil, put a bottom for the container and when water the plant let it fill the bottom but also need to dry in the same day
Spring – summer
General information about the flower:
Small white flower that grow on round shape, there are female and male trees
Thinning the bloom:
First year need to thinning the blossom
Pollination is done by:
Bees and fly, some cultivars self-pollinate
Fruit harvest season:
Summer – autumn
Fruits pests or diseases:
Birds, mediterranean fruit fly, aphids
What can be done with big quantities of Chinese mulberry fruits?
Eaten raw, jam, juice, cakes
Work requirements on the fruit:
Cover with a net
How long does it take to bear fruit?
3 years for small quantities, but for big amount of fruits at least 6 years
How to grow Chinese mulberry from seeds
Moist soil temperature 15-22C (59-72F), full sun to half shade, not recommend starting from seeds although it’s easy
Saving seeds until sowing:
Clean the seeds from fruit pulp, dry, cold area
End of the winter to spring
Pot/container, for transplanting 30*40cm (12-16 inches), directly on the soil for dwarf 3*3m (10*10 feet), regular 5*4m (15*12 feet)
Depth of Sowing:
1 cm (0.5 inch)
Conditions for seeds germinate:
Moist ground, full sun
Watering requires for Seeds:
Average amount of water, keep the soil moist and don’t let it dry
Condition of seedling:
Moist, full sun, big amount of water
Do the seeds require burying?
3-5 weeks of cold, don’t have too much time, maximum temperature ~5C (41F) or colder
Alternative names: Che mulberry, Mulberry Chinese, Mandarin melon berry, Cudrania tricuspidata, Mandarin melon berry, Silkworm thorn, Zhe, Che, Melonberry