What Is A Jujube Tree: Tips For Growing Jujube Trees

By: Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

Looking for something exotic to grow in your garden this year? Then why not consider growing jujube trees. With proper jujube tree care, you can enjoy these exotic fruits right from the garden. Let’s learn more about how to grow a jujube tree.

What is a Jujube Tree?

Jujube (Ziziphus jujube), also known as the Chinese date, is native to China. This medium-sized tree can grow up to 40 feet, (12 m.) has glossy green, deciduous leaves and light gray bark. The oval-shaped, single-stoned fruit is green to start with and becomes dark brown over time.

Similar to figs, the fruit will dry and become wrinkled when left on the vine. The fruit has a similar taste to an apple.

How to Grow a Jujube Tree

Jujubes do best in warm, dry climates, but can tolerate winter lows down to -20 F. (-29 C.) Growing jujube trees is not difficult as long as you have sandy, well-drained soil. They are not particular about soil pH, but do need to be planted in full sun.

The tree can be propagated by seed or root sprout.

Jujube Tree Care

A single application of nitrogen prior to the growing season helps with fruit production.

Although this hardy tree will tolerate drought, regular water will help with fruit production.

There are no known pest or disease problems with this tree.

Harvesting Jujube Fruit

It is extremely easy when it comes times for harvesting jujube fruit. When jujube fruit has turned dark brown, it will be ready to harvest. You can also leave the fruit on the tree until it fully dries.

Cut the stem when harvesting rather than pulling the fruit from the vine. Fruit should be firm to the touch.

The fruit is best stored between 52 and 55 F. (11-13 C.) in a green fruit bag.

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Jujube Winter Care

Ziziphus jujuba is a deciduous tree with sharp, gnarled branches. The mature plant reaches to a height of 15 to 35 feet, says the United States Department of Agriculture. The plant produces a fruit that is delicious to eat fresh, dried or candied, and to produce the best fruit in the spring, the plant must receive the best winter care possible.

Jujube tree growing notes.

Jujube Tree or Zizyphus jujube, are best described as looking like a cross between an apple and a pear with a single pip or stone, although sometime no pips are found, sometimes two.

Jujube Tree Fruit – Li Variety

These trees can send up suckers if the roots are disturbed. They can grow reasonably tall, to 5 metres plus, however are usually pruned to less than this when grown for fruit. Most varieties do not need a cross pollinator so are excellent for the home garden.

Jujube Trees require a hot ripening period and do require water during the fruiting period although otherwise they are reasonably drought tolerant.

Prune in winter to maintain a smaller tree and increase fruit production Jujube fruit is eaten fresh, dried or candied and is said to be high in vitamin C. They are also known as the Chinese Date.

Growing Notes

For best performance provide the following care and growing conditions.

  • Slightly acidic soil
  • Very tolerant of both cold and warm climates, they will grow easily in Melbourne and also in Brisbane.
  • High humidity can be a problem as trees grown in these climates are more susceptible to disease.
  • Check to see if the variety you are looking at is self pollinating
  • They are a deciduous tree that can be pruned to size in winter.
  • generally regarded as fast growing.
  • As most varieties are grafted onto a different rootstock to improve vigor you will need to watch for suckers from the rootstock. These suckers can be a little invasive.
  • We suggest growing Jujube trees in containers for root and sucker control.

Growing Jujubes from seed (and general Jujube feedback)

posted 6 years ago
  • 7

  • Hey, I just got done looking at all the threads on Permies that mention Jujube trees and fruit (Ziziphus jujuba). Surprisingly there isn't a lot for a temperate-climate fruit tree that's resistant to pests and drought. Lots of people include it in their ambitious planting lists, but not so many people talk (with love or otherwise) about their Jujube trees or their Jujube harvests. Who has experiences to share?

    I myself bought a Jujube tree (Li cultivar if memory serves) at an Asian grocery for $45 in a none-too-large pot, late last spring. Planted it out, where it sat all summer holding on to the same leaves it had when I bought it, but putting on almost zero new growth. It still looks like a live tree so I'm hopeful it will take off this summer.

    Meanwhile I am interested in planting more from seed. "Everybody says" that the good eating varieties don't come true from seed, but I don't much care since I wouldn't mind having lots of root stock if my seedling trees turned out not to be tasty.

    However, getting viable seeds is tricky. This source says that most fruit sold for eating doesn't contain viable seeds, because it comes from self-fertilized trees:

    My experience so far is in accord. I bought several different types of dried eating Jujubes at various Asian groceries over the last year, and found them typically to contain seeds that were empty when I would crack open the outer husk the inner cavities that should contain seeds were just full of air. (This source has a nice picture of a cracked-open Jujube seed pod with no seeds inside.)

    I recently bought some seeds from eBay that were promised to be viable, but I have yet to crack them open to see if they have actual seeds inside.

    Day before yesterday I was stunned to see some fresh fruits labeled "Jujube, Thai" at an Asian grocery, but I snapped up an expensive package on the off chance that they would have viable seeds inside. There's a risk they might be "Indian Jujube" (Ziziphus mauritiana) which is more tropical than temperate, but oh well:

    As you can see from the photograph, some of the smaller fruits have broken seed husks inside them that fall apart into two haves when you cut open the fruit. And of course there's no actual seed inside. Currently I've eaten about half that package and found two whole seed husks, much fatter and larger than the broken ones from the smaller fruit. Once I've got all the seed pods I'll break them open (carefully!) and see if any viable-looking seeds are inside.

    Viable Jujube seeds must exist, because here are three different Youtube videos showing people germinating them:

    As you can see in the videos, a viable jujube fruit "seed" is a hard-shelled pod or nut that contains two seeds similar to healthy-looking apple seeds.

    If I find any actual viable-looking Jujube seeds from any of my sources this spring and can get them to germinate, I'll update this thread.

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    posted 6 years ago
    • 2

  • List of Bryant RedHawk's Epic Soil Series Threads We love visitors, that's why we live in a secluded cabin deep in the woods. "Buzzard's Roost (Asnikiye Heca) Farm." Promoting permaculture to save our planet.

    posted 6 years ago

  • I love jujubes and am beginning to plant a bunch of them. I am doing all li for now. Just planted them so nothing yet to report, they are all leafless right now.

    I certainly want to grow some from seed so once I get a crop I can see what I get to work with.

    posted 6 years ago

  • Pecan Media: food forestry and forest garden ebooks
    Now available: The Native Persimmon (centennial edition)

    posted 6 years ago
    • 1

  • List of Bryant RedHawk's Epic Soil Series Threads We love visitors, that's why we live in a secluded cabin deep in the woods. "Buzzard's Roost (Asnikiye Heca) Farm." Promoting permaculture to save our planet.

    posted 6 years ago

  • posted 6 years ago

  • Pecan Media: food forestry and forest garden ebooks
    Now available: The Native Persimmon (centennial edition)

    posted 6 years ago

  • Dan Boone wrote: Do you have any experience growing them from seed, Wayne?

    posted 6 years ago

  • Pecan Media: food forestry and forest garden ebooks
    Now available: The Native Persimmon (centennial edition)

    posted 6 years ago

  • posted 6 years ago

  • Pecan Media: food forestry and forest garden ebooks
    Now available: The Native Persimmon (centennial edition)

    posted 6 years ago

  • Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect

    posted 6 years ago

  • I just started growing a jujube from seed and I will tell you from memory my experience.

    I bought the seeds from ebay and it was rather expensive to buy only 5 of them, however they came with very detailed germination instructions which went something like this:
    -place the seeds in a shallow bowl with hot salt water (it was a specific dilution but I winged it)- discard whichever ones float after 12 hours. (immediately 3 of 5 floated and conitued to float.. leaving me with only two MAYBE viable seeds)
    -plant seeds 1 inch deep in a deep pot with rich compost 2 inches apart, water well, and leave for 2 (or 3?) months (I put my pot in a ziploc bag to create a humidity tent)
    - then the next steps are fuzzy, because I haven't yet executed them and I am starting several difficult seeds all with ridiculously specific instructions… I think I'm supposed to put them in a cool dark place for some more months and then bring them outside…

    If anyone is interested let me know and when I am home I can go look up the source they came from as well as the detailed instructions and leave them here. However I haven't had any results yet so who knows if it's credible.

    posted 5 years ago

  • So far this spring I've had no luck germinating any of my dubiously-sourced seed.

    The good news, though, is that my existing tree has survived the winter. It started showing green buds a week ago and is now leafing out.

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    Now available: The Native Persimmon (centennial edition)

    posted 5 years ago
    • 1

  • There is a video on Youtube about growing jujube:

    According to the video, it's rather useless to try to grow them from seed. You are better off using their suckers as rootstock and then grafting your favorite variety over them if you want to expand your or

    I have 10 jujubes growing in my orchard (2 each of 5 varieties). We grew 2 that we planted last year, and they produced fruit in the first year (Li and Lang). My family loved them so much, that I added 2 sugarcanes, 2 coco, and 2 GA866 to finish out my collection. The key to jujube is to let them ripen on the tree. Also, I suggest dangling old CDs on the tree branches to keep the birds away. As soon as they ripened, and start getting red, the birds seem attracted to them.

    posted 5 years ago
    • 3

  • Thanks for sharing that video. I've embedded it below.

    posted 5 years ago

  • Yes indeed, thanks for posting that video. I saw it a long time ago, and it's about the most detailed out there. I learned some more rewatching it just now (part of it I'm not done yet.)

    However, when it comes to growing jujubes from seed it seems to be the same basic story as any other fruit that doesn't necessarily come true. Seedlings are likely to prove disappointing, but then you can use them as root stock for a known good variety. I'm not letting that deter me from trying to grow any kind of fruit trees from seed, because it's really my only alternative I just don't have the budget for a substantial quantity of nursery trees, especially when I have to pay shipping on them. Fortunately I have a lot of space, and jujubes are said to fruit fairly fast. It's the business of seeds being empty if they weren't pollinated properly -- and nobody much wanting seeds on a commercial basis because of the not-coming-true issue -- that have complicated my seedling-growing scheme so far.

    Fortunately after most of a year of anxiously watching it do almost nothing, my Li tree finally is showing signs of being quite happy:

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    Now available: The Native Persimmon (centennial edition)

    posted 5 years ago
    • 5

  • I think the secret to getting jujubes started well is to do everything "wrong" -- assume they're actually something else so you don't follow the correct seeding/planting directions forget you planted them and then lose them entirely for a couple of years rediscover them grown about 2 feet tall in old plastic pots, with the bottoms broken out and the roots pushed through into the ground exactly where you would prefer NOT to grow them intend to transplant them somewhere more favorable but then forget to do it for a couple more years (while they grow about 6' taller and start fruiting) and finally end by cutting away the containers -- which are really of no use at this point -- and decide they may as well stay where they are. That's how we did it.

    The ironic thing is we didn't even order jujube seeds but raisin tree seeds. The seed company (Tradewinds Fruit) screwed up and sent the wrong thing and we were too inexperienced with either species to realize the mistake for several years (when the trees never looked "right" and started producing fruits that in no way resembled raisin tree fruits). Fortunately, these little guys (4 of them) are producing like crazy, so it was a good mistake in the end. We ordered more raisin tree seeds from Tradewinds today, so it will be interesting to see what we get this time!

    posted 5 years ago

  • Ha! I'm glad your accidental jujube trees are happy.

    As I mentioned upthread, I've had really bad luck with seeds from Tradewinds. So far nothing I've had from them has germinated. Granted that I'm only just learning how to stratify stuff, so it may not be entirely their fault. Their Raisin Tree seeds have done nothing for me. Half of them I planted using the instructions on the packet and the other half I worked harder at stratification. I'm still hoping something will happen in those pots after the soil really finishes warming up, but the first batch I planted last summer are probably long dead by now.

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    Now available: The Native Persimmon (centennial edition)

    posted 5 years ago
    • 2

  • Research suggested that a nursery Jujube tree should flower (and possibly even fruit) the next summer season after the year of planting. I wasn't sure I believed it, but if these are not flower buds on my Jujube, I will eat them:

    Pecan Media: food forestry and forest garden ebooks
    Now available: The Native Persimmon (centennial edition)

    posted 5 years ago

  • posted 5 years ago

  • posted 5 years ago
    • 1

  • Jane Reed wrote: J.L.Hudson Seedsman has jujube seeds. They recommend stratifying them, so obtain seeds now and not in the spring, like I did. I was lucky, however, and two of the several seeds I started did germinate.

    I live in LA, too and have started a tiny nursery with trees I've started from seed, although I haven't tried sprouting jujube seeds or checked to see if any I have are viable. I got a bunch of sun dried jujubes from my cousin in Utah, who collects them off the ground in her neighborhood. I sent you (Jane) a PM through FB, if I succeeded in finding your profile, that is

    posted 5 years ago

  • posted 4 years ago
    • 6

  • Oh, boy, do I have an update.

    My jubube story prior to today, summarized: I have one tree sourced from a Chinese grocery store, that's now been in the ground for three summers and two winters. It flowered last year, but has been very slow to put on growth. Finally this summer I got a lot of new foliage, but no flowers.

    I have bought seed (expensive, just 10 or so seeds per packet) from two different sources: no germination. I have tried the seeds from fresh grocery store jujubes and several different dried jujube food products from China. No germination rumors that commercial jujubes tend to have sterile seeds due to self-pollination seem possibly true.

    So there I was today, going to visit a friend who lives a couple of counties away. You might call him a doomsteader he's burrowed into his land like a tick, he's got earthworks and ponds and goats and hugels and trees from Stark Brothers. But he doesn't fully share my interest in wild edibles and native fruit trees. In the past he's let me dig up wild persimmons that he was planning to brush hog, if that helps give you the picture. (However, I noticed today he hasn't brush hogged all of them I might be wearing off on him a smidgeon.)

    I was driving down his driveway when I noticed that there were some sort of fruity bushes or small trees on both sides of the road. They were sized about like our local sand plums, and the leaves looked familiar, and they had fruit all over them about the size of table grapes or smaller olives, but I could not figure out what they were.

    Of course there's no drama to this story considering the thread we are in. But here's how it went down.

    I asked him what the fruit bushes were at the top of his driveway. "I think those are sand plums", he said. "But they have a lot of prickers on them, so I had my guy spray some poison on them last week."

    My heart sank, but I ignored the poison. "I don't think those are sand plums", says me, "they aren't the right color and it's the wrong time of year, at least for the sand plums that grow up my way. But there are five kinds of wild plums and a bunch of hybrids here in Oklahoma, so maybe. You say they are really thorny?"

    About that time his wife walks quietly up beside me and hands me a plastic beer cup full of little olive-sized fruits. "I picked these before they sprayed the poison," she said real quiet, "if you want a closer look." She's a good woman. I don't think she was entirely keen on the poison plan, but she's not going to say so outright. She picked some fruit in advance of the spraying, bless her. And now here she is handing me the fruits, which I very much wanted a closer look at. "They're a little dried out and mushy", she said, "but they should be OK."

    I took one out. It was dark and wrinkled and not too promising. But I ripped it apart and it smelled good, so I took a nibble.

    Very distinctive taste flooded my mouth. Sweet, sugar, tasted exactly like a date. I'm like "I know that taste" because the dried jujubes I bought at the Chinese store and laboriously gnawed the pits out of tasted like that. "That's a jujube!" I exclaimed in wonderment. Then I ripped it all the way open and exposed the pit. Sure enough! The same distinctive long pit with sharp ends that was in every Jujube seed source I ever found.

    So then we talked about the possible sources. This land has no history of being a home site prior to five years or so ago, but the rather substantial patch of jujube bushes are clearly spreading down the slope from the neighbor's land, where there is an old barn but no modern house. Perhaps there could have been a jujube planting there, back when there was also a house, decades before. Or perhaps this patch began from a bird-delivered seed from a Jujube tree somewhere miles away.

    And then we talked about the poison. It's not the first time he's had his handyman spray poison on these thorny bushes, and it wasn't too effective the first time. We both figure he'll still have plenty of live Jujube bushes next spring, and I have a standing invite to come and dig some then, which I fully intend to do. I won't bother this fall, though, because I don't know which ones are doomed by the poison spray and I don't want to waste my time digging up dead trees.

    Meanwhile, his wife gave me the cup of unsprayed fruit, so I have some seeds to play with. I think they'll be fertile I think his patch is spreading at least in part by self-seeding, since it seems to be growing primarily in the down-slope direction.

    The fruits themselves are very small compared to modern jujube cultivars, but they are very sweet and sugary. From what I can gather, when a Jujube cultivar has fertile seed, the seedlings tend to revert to something closer to the sour jujube wild ancestor species: small, thorny, shrubby. And that's what these are, so I am thinking they must be descended from a "good" Jujube tree somewhere in the neighborhood, that may be long dead.

    Got to looking online and found an article about Jujubes that included this photo and caption. My friend's patch looks just like this except for he doesn't have a visible "original planting" tall tree in the middle (or anywhere near). And we have a lot more rain than they do in Tucumcari so his patch is considerably more dense and lush:

    These trees are fruiting prolifically on a piece of well-drained cow pasture that's not been irrigated or fertilized in living memory. They taste good, they're as sweet as a date from a palm tree, and they thrive without any care whatsoever through the heat of an Oklahoma summer. I don't care if they're shrubby and thorny and small I want them in my food forest. Finding them today completely made my day. I even managed not to give my friend too much shit about the whole "oh, yeah, I just had my man spray poison on them" thing.

    Wild and feral jujubes. In Oklahoma, in a pasture. I never would have looked for that!

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    Growing Jujube Trees and How to Use the Fruit

    Comments Off on Growing Jujube Trees and How to Use the Fruit

    Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill), also know as Chinese date, is native to China and has been grown and enjoyed for over 4,000 years. The tree is deciduous and is grown as an ornamental fruiting tree that can reach 30–40 feet tall (grown on a standard root stock). Mature trees can produce between 40–100 pounds of fruit per season. Some varieties have spines on their branches and should be handled with care when planting.

    Choosing a Variety

    Li Jujube–a popular cultivar, produces large, round fruit that can weigh up to 3 oz. Good picked at the yellow-green stage and eaten fresh .
    Lang Jujube–Very popular variety that produces large pear-shaped fruit. Best to eat fruit dried.
    Honey Jar Jujube–fruit is round to elongated and small to medium sized. Excellent for fresh eating, very sweet and crisp. Tree grows to 20 feet.
    Shanxi Li Jujube–the most popular fresh eating variety in China. Medium to large fruit that has a sweet apple flavor. Very productive tree.

    Growing Conditions

    Soil–jujube trees can grow in a wide range of soil types and pH ranges, but good drainage is required.
    Water–once the trees are established, they can be very drought tolerant, but for good yields, trees should be watered.
    Fertilizing–trees will survive with little additional fertilizing, however, for the best yields, feed with a fruit tree fertilizer once the tree is established. No need to fertilize a newly planted tree.
    Sun–requires full sun to thrive and they love in hot and dry regions.


    Trees will put out sprouts (suckers) from the roots that should be removed at or below the soil level. Best to do the main pruning during the dormant season, suckers can be removed at any time.

    Harvesting the Fruit

    Fruit will change color from dark green to yellow-green and when fully mature, the fruit will be a rich reddish-brown to red color (September to October, depending on the variety).

    The maturation can be divided into three phases:

    • White mature–fruit is close to full size and skin changes from green to greenish-white.
    • Crisp mature–fruit is full size and skin has changed color to partially reddish-brown. Flesh is still crisp and is very sweet.
    • Fully mature–Skin changes color to fully red and is wrinkled. Flesh is very sweet but drier.

    To eat fresh, pick when fruit is still firm, like an apple. The stage is the white or crisp mature stage.
    If the variety is best eaten dried, allow the fruit to hang on the tree until the skin wrinkles and is a red color.

    How to Enjoy Jujube Fruit

    Fresh–jujubes can be a substitute for apples in recipes. Add to salads, or eaten as a snack.
    Dried–when picked dried (best variety for this is the Lang), jujubes can be added to recipes that call for dates or raisins, or add to your favorite trail mix recipe.

    Jujube Tea is very easy to make and here is a site with the recipe, along with some interesting information about the health benefits of jujube fruit.

    Nutritionally jujubes are high in vitamin C, flavonoids and other components that are beneficial.

    Plant a jujube tree for some beauty, great eating and…grow organic for Life!

    Jujube Tree Care - How To Grow A Jujube Tree - garden

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    The botanical name for jujube is Ziziphus jujuba, commonly referred to as the “Chinese date.” The fruit can be eaten fresh or dried, at which point it resembles a date in look and taste. The trees originated in Asia and are very popular there.

    Most jujubes are hardy in USDA Zones 6-10. They require long, warm summers to fully ripen and the trees can withstand heat and drought. Deep watering is recommended as the plants tend to send out unwanted suckers.

    The tree, growing 15 to 30 feet, is prized as a landscape specimen. Its weeping form and graceful branches are covered with shiny green leaves in the summer. In winter, without its leaves, the tree presents a pleasing silhouette. The Contorted jujube is particularly interesting for its unusual form. Jujubes can also be espaliered. (See our page “Espaliering – Basic Guide”.) The jujube tree has few disease or insect problems although Texas root rot can be a problem in desert areas.

    Jujube tree fruits

    Fruit edible round to oval in the color of red-purple, the size 2-5 cm

    Jujube tree tree for sale – Seeds or Plants to Buy

    How to grow Jujube tree tree growing and care:

    Cool winter, for getting bigger fruit better to graft

    What is the best way to start growing?
    Plant / Seed

    Is it necessary to graft reproduction?

    Difficulties or problems when growing:
    Thorns, aggressive, basal shoot

    Planting season:
    Winter, spring, summer

    Pests and diseases:
    Caterpillar, mites

    Pruning season:

    How to prune:
    Because of the thorns recommend to keep it small

    Size of the plant?
    3-10 m, 10-33 feet

    Growth speed in optimal condition:
    Medium growing / Slow growing

    Water requirement:
    Small amount of water / Average amount of water

    Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
    Full Sun, half shade

    Is it possible to grow indoor as houseplant?

    Growing is also possible in a planter, flowerpot or containers:

    Blooming information

    Bloom season?

    General information about the flower
    Small white-green flower the size 1-2 mm

    Pollination is done by:
    Bees, self-pollination (some varieties)

    Edible Fruits

    Fruit harvest season:
    Summer – autumn

    Fruits pests or diseases:
    Birds, fruit fly

    What can be done with big quantities ofJujube tree fruit?
    Eat raw, dry, beverage

    Work requirements on the fruit:
    Traps or net for fruit fly

    How long does it take to bear fruit?
    2-3 years

    Ripening of fruit:
    Possible to pick the fruit when it’s partial green and wait the will ripening at home

    Watch the video: Should You Add a Jujube Tree to your Backyard Orchard? What is the Best Jujube Tree to Grow?

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