Originating from South America, the Pepino bush provides you with a beautiful garden shrub and delicious fruit that you can eat.
It may seem unrealistic that you are able to grow these fruits in your backyard, but it is possible with the correct care.
If you are tired of eating the same old fruits, growing your own Pepino melons will allow you to try new tastes and eat your own produce.
As the Pepino bush is perennial, the plant will last for years when properly cared for and provide you with exotic fruits that are just in your own backyard.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Pepino melon and how to grow it, below you are able to find out how to grow the plant and how to eat the fruit.
If you are unfamiliar with the Pepino melon, this will give you some great ideas on how to make your meals more interesting!
What Is A Pepino?
If you have never heard of Pepino melon, you are probably wondering what it even is or if it is anything like traditional honeydew melons.
It is a lot smaller than watermelon or a honeydew melon as it can either grow to the size of your hand or remain a lot smaller like the size of a passion fruit or a fig.
The Pepino bush is able to grow to a maximum of 3ft wide and 3 ft tall and is easy to grow as they thrive on a trellis. This helps you to keep control of your Pepino bush and keep it off the ground.
When the bush grows over the ground, it will begin to attract wildlife that will also want to feed off the fruit.
If you are happy with this, the Pepino can grow naturally over the floor. If not, using a trellis will help to keep the plant in the air.
How Does The Pepino Fruit Taste?
If you have never seen a Pepino melon before, you may have been put off by its exterior.
The skin is pale yellow with purple stripes to show that it is ripe, which some may mistake for mold. When the fruit is unripe, there will be no purple stripes visible and it will resemble a squash.
Although it looks like a small pumpkin or squash, the Pepino melon has a sweet taste that is similar to honeydew melon and cucumber.
If you are after a sweet taste, make sure that the Pepino melon has purple stripes on it as this will contain the sweetest tasting fruit.
Unlike honeydew melon, the Pepino melon is very light so you are able to eat it at any time during the day.
How To Eat The Fruit
Now that you are familiar with the Pepino fruit and when the best time to eat it is, you are probably wondering how to eat it.
You are able to eat the fruit the same way as a honeydew or cantaloupe melon, but if you are looking for ways to incorporate it into meals, there are a few ways in which you are able to eat the Pepino melon.
Fruit in garden salads has become very popular over the years, and the sweetness of the Pepino melon will work exceptionally well in a salad.
Most people tend to use strawberries or pomegranate to add sweetness to salads, but Pepino melon will complement a variety of meats, cheeses, and traditional salad ingredients such as cucumber, tomato, lettuce, and red onion.
If you are looking to use Pepino melon in your desserts or as a sweet, healthy snack, there is a creative way to cook the fruit that you can enjoy at any time.
Cut the fruit in half and chargrill each half until you are satisfied with the texture. Serve the halves with ice cream or greek yogurt for a lighter option. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup.
You can use Pepino melon in savory dishes as well as sweet as you are able to add it into a salsa to make the perfect accompaniment for a variety of different meats.
The Pepino melon will add a hint of sweetness to the salsa and counteract any bitterness from jalapeños. Begin to prepare your usual salsa recipe and add in 2-3 Pepino melons.
As Pepino melon is sweet, it is the perfect starter to your day to give you a healthy energy boost.
You can use anything you want in the bowl from either ricotta cheese or greek yogurt for the base and then cover the top with a mixture of nuts and seeds or your choice.
You can then add Pepino melon on top of the bowl and then finish with honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup.
A great way to incorporate Pepino melon into your diet is to use it on top of your cereal. Simply dice the Pepino melon and have it on top of your cereal along with other fruits or simply on its own.
How To Grow Pepino Plants
When beginning to grow a Pepino plant, you are able to use cuttings from a Pepino plant. This is the fastest way for the plant to grow and you can easily propagate the cuttings.
To do this, firstly, remove the lower leaves from the plant and take a 4 inches stem cutting. Once you have done this, you can grow them in soil or water for quick results.
You are also able to grow Pepino plants by using the seeds of a Pepino melon.
When planting the seeds in the soil, it is best to keep them inside for 6-8 weeks before a frost so that they can remain warm inside so they don’t freeze in the low temperatures.
Once you have warmer weather, you can transfer the seeds outside.
Growing Cuttings In Soil
When growing cuttings from a Pepino plant in soil, you will need to make sure that you have a pot and soil that drains well.
Using the 4-inch cutting from the stem, place it in the soil. It is important to keep the pots in light but out of direct sunlight. You will also need to water the cuttings daily.
As the cuttings are kept in light and are being watered daily, roots will begin to form in the soil and you will be able to transfer the plant into the garden.
Growing Cutting In Water
If you want a low maintenance way of growing the Pepino plant cuttings, you are able to grow them in water. Firstly, fill up a glass jar full of water and add the cuttings into the jar.
Keeping the jar on a windowsill is a good idea as long as they are out of direct sunlight but still in a bright area.
You need to change the water in the jar every 3-4 days so that the cuttings can continue to grow in the jar. Make sure that the leaves are not touching the water.
After continuing to do this for around 2 weeks, you will begin to see that roots will start to form on the cuttings that are in the water. Once you can see that the roots have formed, you will be able to transfer them into the soil.
Growing Pepino Plants By Soil Layering
Pepino plants are also able to form roots from their branches that are on the ground. If you wish to do this, place the branches of the Pepino plant on the ground and cover some of it with soil.
By doing this, the branch will begin to grow its own roots.
Once you can see that the branch has formed roots, you can cut the branch away from the original Pepino plant that it was attached to and plant it elsewhere in the backyard.
Make sure that you water it well and you will begin to see another Pepino plant form in your garden.
When Does The Pepino Plant Fruit?
Pepino plants are able to fruit all year round in warm climates and young plants are usually able to fruit during their first 12 months of life.
They are usually able to fruit within 4-6 months but if this isn’t the case, they will fruit within 12 months. They need warm climates to fruit but they will begin to flower in the springtime.
The flowers produced by the Pepino plant are white and purple and begin flowering in the spring.
The temperatures need to be 65 degrees Fahrenheit or above in the nighttime in order for the plant to be able to fully grow.
As the flowering begins in the spring, the fruit is able to form during the spring, summer, and even the fall.
When the Pepino plant first begins to flower and the fruits start to form, the fruits are usually ready to harvest within 60-80 days.
When Can I Harvest The Pepino Fruit?
The Pepino fruits are able to be harvested when purple stripes begin to appear on the pale yellow skin.
If your plant is in shade, the stripes may not form, but the sweetest Pepino fruit will have purple stripes on the skin.
If some fruit falls from the plant before it has ripened, you are able to leave the fruit in the sunlight. This will help the fruit ripen so that it is ripe and sweet when you eat it.
The fruit will still form purple stripes to show that it is ripe and ready to be eaten.
What Are The Best Conditions To Grow A Pepino Plant?
When growing a Pepino plant, they need to be grown in warm climates so that they are ale to grow properly.
The plant is severely sensitive to frost as the leaves will begin to turn yellow and droopy if the plant is too cold.
If your plant becomes affected by the frost, they tend to recover during the warm weather but it is recommended that you try and protect the plant from frost the best you can.
A sheltered spot in the garden will help to protect the plant from frost.
The soil needs to be healthy and made up of sugar cane, compost, and organic mulch.
Once you have planted your Pepino plant, make sure that it is watered well to prevent dryness and that it is able to get lots of sunshine. In these conditions, the Pepino plant will produce large fruit that has a sweet taste.
How To Avoid Pests
When growing your Pepino plant, you will begin to notice that it will draw the attention of pests.
To prevent pests from destroying the plant and the fruit, there is an easy solution that you can use to prevent pests from affecting it.
Tie an organza bag around the small Pepino fruit but make sure that the bag is large enough to fit a full-size Pepino fruit inside. To make sure that you do this, make sure that the bag is slightly bigger than your hand.
Pepino fruits usually grow to the size of your hand, so making sure that the bag is slightly bigger means that it will fit the full-size fruit inside.
This will prevent pests from getting to the fruit and the bags will ensure that there is enough room inside to fill the whole bag.
To conclude, there are many different elements to consider when you begin to grow a Pepino plant.
The fruit is very similar in taste to honeydew, cantaloupe, and cucumber, and can grow between the size of passion fruit to the size of your hand.
You can eat the fruit in a variety of different ways as you can incorporate it in salads, in breakfasts, and as part of a healthy dessert.
You can use cuttings or Pepino fruit seeds to grow the Pepino plant. You can grow the cuttings in soil or water.
When growing your Pepino plant in soil, it is important to remember that you will need to provide the plant with light, but not direct sunlight. Make sure that you water the plant but not overwater.
When growing the cuttings in water, make sure that you change the water every 2-4 days and keep the jar in light but not direct sunlight.
The fruit is able to grow within 12 months on a young plant and it is ready for harvest when purple stripes appear on the pale yellow skin.
It is important to remember that the fruit is sweeter when the fruit has purple stripes as this means that it is ripe. It is important to make sure that the plant has plenty of water and sunlight so that it can thrive in your garden.