Cherry alternatives for a warm climate

Mark

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Cherries need a cold climate or a chill factor to grow and fruit successfully - I've set out to find some good cherry alternatives for my subtropical climate or any warmer zone generally. Here is what I have found so far but feel free to add some more plants or comments to this thread.

Barbados cherry or Acerola is a large shrub-like plant which has similar looking fruit to a true cherry.

Barbados Cherry (Acerola) alternative to true cherry.jpg


The outer red skin is similar and the flesh is soft but white and inside are 4 small seeds which are easy to separate from the pulp and spit out. However, the taste is rather different to a true cherry and it's more apple with sour undertones. I (and my family) really like them but we have had others try the fruit and be indifferent about the taste or even screw their nose up and claim they do not like the sourness - pussies. You can read my blog post about the Barbados Cherry here.

The other shrub/tree I'd like to mention is the Cedar Bay Cherry (Eugenia reinwardtiana) a rainforest plant native to Queensland Australia. Its fruit is also similar to a true cherry (although not quite as large) but it actually has the one seed. In my opinion, I found the fruit to be surprisingly similar overall to a cold climate cherry and I wasn't expecting this to be the case because I would have thought such a good tasting fruit would be more popular.

Anyway, the flesh of the Cedar Bay Cherry is a similar texture to a true cherry and the taste is sweet also (perhaps not quite as sweet) but certainly not tangy.

Unfortunately, the Cedar Bay Cherry tree is a very slow growing plant and it seems to go nowhere in some years. Also, I made the mistake of growing it in an open part of my garden where it seemed to suffer from too much sun exposure so I carefully moved it to a more sheltered location in part shade about 12 months ago and it's doing much better now.

I don't have any photos of the fruit (forgot to get some) and I doubt it will flower this season as it still reestablishes itself in its new location but I'll add some images to this thread as soon as I can. I'm not sure how productive the Cedar Bay Cherry can be when the tree is fully mature, however, I do think this plant is a great alternative to a real cherry for those who live in warmer climates.
 

armysnail

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It's grown on the nature strips in Cairns. A much nicer road divider to Lomandra. It grows easily from fresh seed too.
 

Mark

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It's grown on the nature strips in Cairns. A much nicer road divider to Lomandra. It grows easily from fresh seed too.
Really! Bush tucker on the nature strip - great idea and a good looking shrub too.
 

Ben Jamin

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Heya Mark. Never found this post or your blog on the acerola. I've never heard of the cedar bay cherry and will have to keep my eye out for a seedling or some fruit (for seed). Sorry to hear your acerola took a turn, they root really easy from small cuttings I've taken in early spring from pruning and as you say, grow very quickly. I'd wager yours grows back pretty well from the stump but you might want to get another one going.

Oh yeah - the other cherry substitute I grow is the Surinam cherry which is a bit of a weed and has a love it or hate it taste. The kids and I love it but the wife thinks it's aweful. Grows easily and quickly from seed.
 
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Mark

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Yeah I'll try getting some cuttings going from the new growth Ben that's a good idea!

I've considered getting a Brazilian cherry (Surinam cherry) thought it might be similar to the Acerola?

The Cedar Bay cherry is very good but mine is painfully slow growing although it does look healthy enough. I've only had a few fruits off it and as I said I was quite shocked at how good they were - hopefully the shrub will pickup and begin proper production over the next few years.
 

Ash

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Yep. Grumichana is considered the tropical cherry but I haven't tasted one to know how it compares. I'll have to wait a few years for mine to start fruiting. Same with my trial jaboticaba tree, which is a fascinating fruiting tree from the trunk, but it too will take years to bring the magic on.
 
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Mark

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@Ben Jamin has a fruiting Jaboticaba I believe so he might be able to give a comparison. I've never tried the Jaboticaba fruit and I still don't have one of those trees...

Grumichama, mine fruited for the first time this year and I missed it, think the birds got them.
Yes exactly, they flower and then the fruit sets really quickly so they can be easy to miss!
 

Letsgokate

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There is a low chill cherry, 2 way Cherry 'Minnie Royal' -'Royal Lee
http://www.daleysfruit.com.au/Cherry---low-chill,-multi-graft-2-way.htm It says it grows in the subtropics but little skeptical if it will grow in SEQ, especially from the growers response listed below. Has one tried it?

"These are newly released low chill cherries in Australia, suitable for the home garden in warm temperate regions of Australia. (suitable for regions that receive minimal cold weather during the winter months.)

The trees will grow well, and because they require less chill hours than other cherry cultivars, they should produce fruit in warmer areas, however, fruit production in warmer areas may be a little less than the amount produced in cooler areas.

Your local garden centre or retail nursery staff are in the best position to advise you regarding fruit growing in your particular area."
 

Mark

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May 27, 2012
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Bellmere, QLD
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There is a low chill cherry, 2 way Cherry 'Minnie Royal' -'Royal Lee
http://www.daleysfruit.com.au/Cherry---low-chill,-multi-graft-2-way.htm It says it grows in the subtropics but little skeptical if it will grow in SEQ, especially from the growers response listed below. Has one tried it?
It might be worth a try (I would give it a go) but I see it's not available ATM anyway and pretty expensive too!

If Daley's get it in stock I might consider getting one actually.
 

Mark

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TarynS.

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Feb 7, 2020
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Cherries are amazing, I love them!! I would love to try the Cedar Bay Cherry, do you know a reputable grower for them in the USA?


Cherries need a cold climate or a chill factor to grow and fruit successfully - I've set out to find some good cherry alternatives for my subtropical climate or any warmer zone generally. Here is what I have found so far but feel free to add some more plants or comments to this thread.

Barbados cherry or Acerola is a large shrub-like plant which has similar looking fruit to a true cherry.

View attachment 449

The outer red skin is similar and the flesh is soft but white and inside are 4 small seeds which are easy to separate from the pulp and spit out. However, the taste is rather different to a true cherry and it's more apple with sour undertones. I (and my family) really like them but we have had others try the fruit and be indifferent about the taste or even screw their nose up and claim they do not like the sourness - pussies. You can read my blog post about the Barbarossa Cherry.

The other shrub/tree I'd like to mention is the Cedar Bay Cherry (Eugenia reinwardtiana) a rainforest plant native to Queensland Australia. Its fruit is also similar to a true cherry (although not quite as large) but it actually has the one seed. In my opinion, I found the fruit to be surprisingly similar overall to a cold climate cherry and I wasn't expecting this to be the case because I would have thought such a good tasting fruit would be more popular.

Anyway, the flesh of the Cedar Bay Cherry is a similar texture to a true cherry and the taste is sweet also (perhaps not quite as sweet) but certainly not tangy.

Unfortunately, the Cedar Bay Cherry tree is a very slow growing plant and it seems to go nowhere in some years. Also, I made the mistake of growing it in an open part of my garden where it seemed to suffer from too much sun exposure so I carefully moved it to a more sheltered location in part shade about 12 months ago and it's doing much better now.

I don't have any photos of the fruit (forgot to get some) and I doubt it will flower this season as it still reestablishes itself in its new location but I'll add some images to this thread as soon as I can. I'm not sure how productive the Cedar Bay Cherry can be when the tree is fully mature, however, I do think this plant is a great alternative to a real cherry for those who live in warmer climates.