Tsifomandra – we grow a tomato tree in the room-Care

Among the fruit-bearing plants that can be grown in indoor format, the cyfomandra has become a real hit in recent years. Having moved from greenhouses and botanical gardens to rooms, the legendary (and luxurious) tomato tree further enhanced the decorativeness of greenery, but did not lose its ability to bear fruit. Getting a harvest of fragrant, sweet and exotic fruits for the table and at the same time becoming the owner of a real caddy exotic is a temptation for many. The inimitable tsifomandra is not an easy plant. She has a lot of care requirements and has one smelly surprise in store.

Tsifomandra – we grow a tomato tree in the room. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com whiskerflowers
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Tsifomandra, tamarillo and other names of the same plant

The tomato tree is a beautiful name for a unique fruiting plant, around which more and more confusion has arisen lately. The tomato tree was originally called beetroot tsifomandru (Cyphomandra betaceae). But the emergence of a commercial name tamarillo in New Zealand (trademark derived from Maori “superiority” and “yellow”), and then official recognition beetroot tamarillo (Solanum betaceum) as an independent plant species from the Solanaceae family, radically changed the situation.

After all, the status of the tsifomandra itself remained “unresolved”. There are a lot of disputes about the status of cyphermandres and the need to retrain them from a separate species to tamarillo (or vice versa), a possible complete change of names. In the meantime, scientists have not decided yet and the plant continues to study, it is worth remembering that cymobat, tamarillo, complete, and even octopus – all these are the names of the same plant, which remains original, large, fruitful and special in everything.

More confusion with regular tomatoes. One of the large, fruiting with stunning clusters of fruits, the tomato variety got its name in honor of the cyfomandra, but we are talking about the classic, fruiting tomatoes in the year of sowing, and not at all about a perennial fruit tree.

The best option is not to pay so much attention to the name as to the characteristics of the plant, because real tomato trees are certainly different from tomatoes, they are perennial, with other fruits and it is difficult to confuse them with something.

Cyfomandras are especially popular in countries with subtropical and tropical climates, where their fruiting can be enjoyed all year round. This plant migrated to us from Southern Europe and the Americas, where commercial plantings can boast of a special scope in the territories of Brazil. It is believed that the European history of cyphermandras began only in the last century and we owe its status as a fashion culture, first of all, to the French.

Indoor tsifomandra grows to a maximum of 2,5 meters
Indoor tsifomandra grows to a maximum of 2,5 meters. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Maja Dumat

Description of the plant

Tsifomandras are large for rooms, but quite compact by natural standards, fruiting evergreen trees and shrubs, easily changing the form of growth during their formation and surprising, first of all, by the speed of their development. True, at the very beginning, within several months after sowing, it is difficult to assess this quality, because the plants develop very slowly, adding only a few tens of centimeters.

The thing is that the growth of the aerial parts in the cyphermandra begins only after the formation of a powerful rhizome and occurs with a constant increase in the rate of development. After 2,2-5 months, the plant begins to develop rapidly, transforming before our eyes and increasing at least 1 m during the first year.

Under favorable conditions, when grown in open ground, in a greenhouse, with illumination or in a heated greenhouse, the cyfomandra is capable of exceeding 4 m in height. Indoor tsifomandra is limited to a maximum of 2,5 m, but even the largest varieties of ordinary tomatoes are inferior to them in size and always differ from them.

The rhizome is superficial. The plant can grow aerial roots. The branches of a tomato tree are very thin, fragile, the bark gradually becomes tree-like, but this does not affect fragility. Thanks to the long leaf stalks and graceful shoots, the cyfamander seems airy, it is not massive, but rather refined, translucent, touchingly delicate. The crown diameter is always half the height.

The leaves of the cyphermandras are not just large (up to 30 cm), but very beautiful, flawlessly whole, heart-shaped-oval with slightly pointed tips, of a light grassy green color with light veins. They sit on long petioles alternately, with rather long internodes. The foliage seems to shine through in the sun, creating the effect of translucency, but at the same time it surprises with its glossy shine and the presence of small villi.

The sparse arrangement of the leaves allows the cyfomandra to appear as a graceful, translucent miracle. Their unpleasant smell may come as a surprise, but if you don’t contact the greens, you won’t even notice, and in the garden and greenhouse, the specific aroma performs the function of repelling pests perfectly.

Tamarillo fruits are poorly preserved and only relatively transportable
Tamarillo fruits are poorly preserved and only relatively transportable. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Busy_Lizzy

Flowering and fruiting of the tsifomandra

The flowering of cyphermans is very impressive. Light lilac or white, collected in symmetrical brushes, flowers seem too elegant for a fruiting giant. They are fragrant, with a beautiful five-petal calyx. Tsifomandra, when grown alone without being removed to fresh air, requires artificial pollination.

Fruiting is the main advantage and pride of cyphermandras. The harvest of tomatoes from cyfomandra can be obtained within 7, and in greenhouses and rooms – and 8-9 months or continuously. The length of the fruiting period always depends on temperatures and lighting.

Fruiting begins only from the second year, in normal volumes – from the third year when grown from seeds. The height of the plant affects the quality and timing of fruiting. Tomato trees in ideal conditions are capable of producing from 10 kg of harvest per year.

The fruits of a tomato tree are only distantly similar to tomatoes, even their stalk is more reminiscent of plums, passionfruit, and last but not least, cream tomatoes. Dark orange, red-brown, yellowish, purple or pink-red after ripening, ovoid or plum-shaped up to diamond-shaped, the two-chambered fruits of the tomato tree are collected in compound fruits and can weigh up to 100 g with a length of 5 to 10 cm.

They are collected in typical tomato-like cluster fruits – very neat-looking, hanging bunches. Each fruit contains up to 12 pseudo-tomatoes. The shiny skin is quite hard, with a bitter aftertaste. And the salty-sweetish-sour pulp of the varieties differs in the degree of sourness and rather resembles not tomatoes, but gooseberries with apricots and strawberries at the same time.

The pulp is quite light, pinkish-golden, translucent, the shades vary depending on the variety. Usually, the fruit is eaten, peeling not only the skin, but also the thin layer of pulp underneath.

Tamarillo fruits are poorly preserved and only relatively transportable. Fresh are stored only in the cold for up to 1 week, so they are most often canned and processed. They are famous for their high levels of pectin, vitamins and microelements.

The seeds hidden inside the fruit of a tomato tree are no different from physalis seeds, except that the “discs” are almost always painted black.

The first months, the tsifomandra builds up the root system, but then it grows sharply
During the first months, the tsifomandra grows the root system, but then it grows sharply. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Maja Dumat

Types and varieties of cyphermandras

In addition to the beetroot tsifomandra, seeds are very rarely found on sale tsifomandry tree (Cyphomandra abutiloides) with coarser branches and yellow or orange, almost perfectly round fruits with soft edges. The berries are sweeter.

The cyfomandra has about 30 varieties. They differ only in the color of the fruit, pulp and taste – from sweet to sour. Our variety is often not indicated and buying any tamarillo is almost like a lottery. The best way to choose the variety you like is to taste its fruits.

The only exception is the hybrid variety “Octopus”, its main advantage is considered fruiting in the first year and the ability to grow tamarillo as an annual tree for open soil.

Growing conditions for room cypher

Tsifomandru is difficult to grow, this plant is large, demanding and not for everyone. It can be cultivated as indoor, greenhouse, greenhouse woody or as a garden tub with wintering indoors.

They are increasingly trying to grow tamarillo in the open field as an annual, discarding the plant after the arrival of frost, with the annual growth of seedlings or preliminary cutting and rooting of cuttings the next year. Seeds of hybrid tamarillo capable of bearing fruit in the first year are sown for seedlings along with tomatoes, later resorting to a similar cultivation tactic.

Цифомандра свекольная (Cyphomandra betaceae)
Beetroot Cyphomandra (Cyphomandra betaceae). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Parchen

Lighting and placement

This is a sun-loving plant, for which, while maintaining compactness at an early age, only places on the windowsills are suitable, and when it reaches its true size – as close as possible near the windows. The brightest places in the house are the only option for a cypher.

Tsifomandry will prefer partially southern eastern and western windows. They grow beautifully in the southeast, but any lightest window in the house is fine for them. They can be placed near observation windows, on heated balconies and loggias.

Tomato trees in winter, or rather from mid-autumn, especially if fruiting continues, it is advisable to supplement the illumination, increasing not so much the intensity of light as the duration of daylight hours at least up to 11 hours. The lack of additional lighting leads to the loss of parts of both fruits and foliage.

When choosing a place for tamarillo, you should take into account its size. They require a lot of space, the leaves emit an unpleasant odor, and fragile shoots do not tolerate unnecessary contacts, therefore they place it only in large rooms, away from places of rest and active pastime, where the tomato tree can develop freely.

Temperature control and ventilation

Tsifomandry feel great in summer at any temperature above 20 degrees Celsius. The main difficulties are associated with the cool wintering of the plant. To preserve the leaves and continue fruiting, you need to maintain a temperature of at least 15 degrees.

If the plant has passed into the dormant stage, it is transferred to the cool – but within 12-15 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature that the cyphermandras can withstand is 2 degrees of heat, while after the indicators fall below 10 degrees, the plant sheds its leaves and stops growing.

True, it should be borne in mind that even short negative temperatures usually do not cause the death of a plant, and although it suffers greatly, it is able to recover with a quick correction of conditions.

In summer, the tomato tree feels better outdoors, or at least with regular ventilation. In the garden, it grows more actively and bears fruit better. When placing tamarillo in the open air, you should make sure that the place is protected from drafts and good lighting. You can load plants into the ground, add containers in drops, and simply display them on sites.

Cyphomandra tree (Cyphomandra abutiloides)
Cyphomandra tree (Cyphomandra abutiloides). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Linda De Volder

Caring for the tsifomandra at home

Tsifomandra copes well with dry air. But she does not like missing care procedures and requires constant care, supplemented by pruning.

Watering and air humidity

Tsifomandra prefer stable soil moisture. Watering is carried out after the top layer of the soil has dried. After watering, water must be drained immediately, preventing it from stagnating in the pallets. Watering is best done in several passes, slowly trampling the soil, but avoiding waterlogging. This crop prefers morning watering.

In winter, watering is reduced in accordance with the temperatures of maintenance and a decrease in the growth rate of the plant, reducing their frequency by half and lowering the moisture of the soil, but not allowing it to dry out completely.

The approximate frequency of watering for the cyfomandra is 2 times a week in summer and weekly in winter.

Plants cannot be sprayed, there is no need to install humidifiers for them, because tamarillo tolerates dry air well. But it is better to protect them from heating devices.

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

An indoor tomato tree depends on fertilizing, their composition and quality much more than plants growing in open soil. It is advisable to feed Tamarillo with organic-mineral fertilizers, changing their composition depending on the stage of development of the cyfomandra – using complex fertilizers at the beginning of active growth and phosphorus-potassium fertilizers at the stage of budding and flowering.

In addition to the main macronutrients, the content of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper is very important for cyfomandra. It is better to alternate mineral fertilizing with organic matter; for a plant during fruiting, only organic fertilizers (infusions of chicken droppings, mullein, humus preparations) are preferable.

If you prefer a simplified scheme, then use organic preparations for fruitful crops or organo-mineral preparations for tomatoes and other nightshades.

During the period of active growth, it is better to feed Tsifomandra weekly, with a half-reduced dose of fertilizer, or every 2 weeks – with a full dose.

For tsifomandra fertilizers are applied, most often, in liquid form and only after abundant watering. Long-acting fertilizers can be used.

Trimming and shaping the cypher

Tamarillo can be trimmed after the plant reaches a height of 1 m. Trimming 10-20 cm at the top of the stem allows you to limit growth: despite the fact that the tree will still grow, it will still fit into the ceiling height of the rooms.

The main pruning on tomato trees is done in the spring. After sanitary cleaning – removal of dry, damaged or thinned shoots – the formation itself begins, shortening all bare shoots so as to give the plant the desired shape and limit its size.

Digumandras are very good with oval tree-like crowns, at a height of approximately 1 m after pruning. If there is no desire or need to restrict the plant, then pruning it is not necessary, giving it freedom.

The size of the cyfomandra fruit can be controlled by plucking the ovaries at an early stage and leaving only 3-4 fruits in the cluster for larger berries.

Tsifomandra "Octopus F1
Tsifomandra “Octopus F1”. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com nagrunte

Planting, containers and substrate

Tsifomandra, rapidly growing the root system, require much more frequent transplantation than can be expected from such a large plant. It is better to grow them in very spacious containers, but still, when developing the substrate in February or March, it is better to carry out an annual transplant.

Cypomandras develop normally only in loose, fertile soils. Suitable substrates for vegetables or tubs, citrus fruits or universal mixtures with loosening additives. If the soil mixture is made up independently, then you need to mix the sod soil with peat, sand and humus in a ratio of 3: 1: 1: 1.

Tsifomandry – tubular, requiring a lot of space for the root system. They can only be grown in very large pots, but the classic tub options are still preferable. Particular attention should be paid to the ratio of the width and height of the pot: cyphermandres develop better in wide, but not too deep containers or containers with equal values ​​of indicators. Quality drainage holes are essential. The container tray must be deep.

When planting a plant, a high drainage layer must be laid on the bottom of the containers. The less the plants come into contact with the roots, the better, but the tsifomandra is not afraid of transplanting, as well as deepening (within reasonable limits): immersing the trunk to shorten it is quite acceptable for young trees. Pruning the lower leaves stimulates faster rooting.

Tsifomandry prefer mulching the soil or creating also upper drainage (stone chips, agroperlite, expanded clay, vermiculite, like sphagnum, are equally good, only natural stones are suitable for decorative materials). By creating a mulch layer, the space directly around the trunk is not covered.

After transplantation, it is advisable to keep the cyphermandra in a stable warm environment, at a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees and in diffused lighting.

Diseases, pests and problems in growing cyfomandra

Unlike their relatives from the Solanaceae family, cyfomandras are considered completely resistant to fungal diseases. Of course, with swampy soil, the tomato tree can suffer from rot and die, but on the other hand, it is almost not afraid of typical tomato diseases.

Of the pests, cyfomandra is especially fond of aphids, for the fight against which it is better to resort to chemicals only after all other options have been exhausted. Usually bio-methods, including infusions of nettle, garlic, ash, are effective. But aphids on this plant appear only with improper care.

Tsifomandra can be grown from cuttings or the classic method - from seeds
Tsifomandra can be grown from cuttings or the classic method – from seeds. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Maja Dumat

Reproduction of the cypher

Tsifomandra can be grown from cuttings or the classic method – from seeds. Despite some peculiarities of temperature regimes, it is quite simple to grow a plant in both options.

Seeds of tsifomandra are sown in loose, nutritious substrates or clean sand. Pre-soaking and germinating the seeds accelerates the germination process. Fresh seeds germinate better. Short stratification at 2-5 degrees for 24 hours also speeds up the process.

Sowing is carried out to a depth of about 1 cm, in a moistened substrate, covering the containers with glass or film. It is desirable to maintain the temperature at 25 degrees. On average, the first shoots can appear in 3 weeks. It is worth diving them only after the appearance of the third leaf, into small containers or individual cups, and after the start of rapid growth – into individual large pots or tubs.

In the first 2-3 months, cyfomandras practically do not develop, increasing the root system. And at this time, you need to carefully monitor the moisture content of the substrate.

Cuttings can be cut from any fruiting tree by cutting off strong, sturdy one- or two-year-old twigs no more than 1 cm thick at an oblique angle. Only apical cuttings, 20 cm to 40 cm long, with 2 or 3 internodes are rooted.

Spring cuttings are preferred, but shoots can be cut during the summer. Rooting is carried out in an ordinary substrate, mixed with sand, under a hood, at a temperature not lower than 21 degrees. Plants are transplanted into large pots or tubs immediately after rooting. With proper care, they can bloom already this year. But when growing from seeds, and when grafting in the first year, it is better to remove the inflorescences.

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Tsifomandra - we grow a tomato tree in the room-Care
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Anna Evans

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