Pepino: what is this plant

Pepino: what is this plant

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Growing pepino at home is not difficult, but rather unusual. The seeds are already on the market, and there is little information. So domestic gardeners are trying to master all the wisdom of growing pepino on their own, and then share their experience on the forums. Meanwhile, the conditions, for example, in the Krasnodar Territory and in the Urals are different, so ridiculous mistakes are being made. And the culture is simple, there are simply rules, departing from which it is impossible to teach the harvest at home.

What is Pepino

Melon pear or Pepino belongs to the Solanaceae family. It comes from South America and is grown in countries with warm or temperate climates for its edible fruit. Unlike other nightshade crops, unripe pepino berries are edible, taste like a cucumber, and are used as vegetables. Well-ripened fruits with aroma and taste are similar to cantaloupe.

Pepino is a perennial woody shrub at the base with a height of more than 1.5 m. Some varieties can reach 2 m when grown in a greenhouse. Pepino forms many lateral shoots and quickly gains green mass. Its leaves are the same as those of pepper. The flowers are similar to potato flowers, but are collected in clusters, like those of a tomato.

Fruits weighing from 150 to 750 g, like some varieties of eggplant, are pear-shaped or flat-round. They differ in color, size, shape, often yellow or beige, with purple or purple vertical strokes. White or yellow pulp is juicy, aromatic, sweet and sour. There are very few small seeds, sometimes there are none at all.

Important! Pepino is a self-pollinated culture.

Features of growing pepino

Reviews of Pepino differ dramatically. Some consider the cultivation of melon pear as easy as other nightshade crops, others argue that it is difficult to wait for the harvest. This is due to the fact that some gardeners do not bother to study the needs of the plant. They don't even always read what is written on the label before germinating the seeds. Meanwhile, if you do not create suitable conditions for pepino, it will constantly shed leaves, flowers and ovary. Its growing requirements are very tough.

You need to know about pepino:

  1. It is a plant with short daylight hours. Pepino for flowering and fruiting is necessary for the dark time of the day to last at least 12 hours. Oddly enough, such needs are mainly found in tropical and subtropical cultures. The fact that tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are planted in the sun, and they safely harvest until autumn, is explained by long and diligent selection. Pepino has strict requirements for lighting. Moreover, it is impossible to plant it in partial shade - the culture needs a lot of sun, but not for long. On a large bush, fruits can set where the flowers are covered with leaves, or on the side that other plants shade.

  2. Although pepino is a thermophilic culture, at temperatures above 30⁰C it sheds flowers and ovaries. And not necessarily everything, because of which gardeners may think that it was not they who made a mistake, but the plant is capricious. In fact, ovaries usually remain inside the bush or on the side that is constantly in the shade, and there the temperature is slightly lower.

    Important! At a temperature of 10⁰C, pepino can die.

  3. Those fruits that set before the end of May should not fall off, unless, of course, there is extreme heat. They fill up, increasing in size.
  4. In pepino, it takes 4-5 months from the moment of germination to harvest.
  5. Melon pear blooms in brushes, up to 20 buds each. This does not mean that all of them will bear fruit, even with proper agricultural technology. In mature plants planted in a greenhouse, from 20 to 40 berries can reach ripeness. For pepino grown in a greenhouse, 8-10 large fruits are considered a good result. The same result can be achieved at home, on a windowsill. Small-fruited specimens will produce more berries.
  6. When sowing seeds, pepino is split. This means that even if you collect planting material from one fruit, grow, harvest, different bushes will have different berries not only in size, but also in taste. It is believed that specimens grown from cuttings are better than those obtained from seeds. And the fruits formed on the stepsons are sweeter than those collected from the main stem.
  7. Often on the Internet or in print media you can find the statement that the germination rate of pepino seeds is almost 100%. It is not true. Biologists estimate the ability of melon pear seeds to germinate as low.

Important! Pepino is affected by all pests of nightshade crops, but he is especially annoyed by the whitefly. If you bring a plant from the street to ripen fruits or a mother bush into the house in the fall, and do not treat it with an insecticide, most likely, the melon tree will die. It is difficult to remove a whitefly at home, but infecting indoor flowers with a pest is very simple.

Melon pear varieties adapted for cultivation in Russia

To date, more than 25 pepino varieties have been created, and their number is growing. In the greenhouse, you can grow any cultivars, only there you can create ideal conditions for the melon pear. For greenhouses and open ground in Russia, two varieties are recommended - Israeli Ramses and Latin American Consuelo. It is quite easy to distinguish them from each other.

More information about the varieties Pepino and Consuelo, the appearance of the fruits can be found by watching the video:

Pepino Consuelo

The variety was adopted by the State Register in 1999, and is recommended for growing in film, capital greenhouses and open ground throughout Russia. Pepino Consuelo is an indeterminate (not requiring pinching of the tops) plant with purple stems, more than 150 cm in height, forming many stepsons. Small leaves with a solid edge are light green.

The flowers are white or white with purple stripes, similar to potato flowers. Reviews of the melon tree pepino Consuelo claim that the ovary is formed only by striped, monochromatic crumbled.

120 days after the emergence of shoots, the first fruits ripen, weighing from 420 to 580 g. When fully ripe, their color is yellow-orange, on the sides there are vertical purple or lilac stripes and strokes.

The shape of the fruit resembles a heart, the top is dull, the skin is thin, smooth, the surface is slightly ribbed. The walls are up to 5 cm thick. The light yellow pulp is sweet, juicy, soft, with a strong melon aroma.

The yield of commercial size fruits in heated greenhouses reaches 5 kg per sq. m. The germination rate of quality seeds is 70-80%.

Pepino Ramses

Melon tree pepino Ramses, the cultivation of which is recommended throughout Russia, was issued by the State Register in 1999. This is an indeterminate plant higher than 150 cm. Shoots are green, with purple spots, leaves are medium, with a solid edge, dark green.

The flowers are the same as those of Pepino Consuelo, but the Ramses variety begins to ripen earlier - 110 days after germination. Hanging fruits, weighing 400-480 g, cone-shaped with a sharp top. Reviews of the melon tree pepino Ramses claim that their color is cream, with lilac strokes and stripes, but the State Register indicates a yellow-orange color. The peel of the fruit is glossy, thin, the walls are 4-5 cm thick, the palatable sweet pulp is light yellow, with a faint melon aroma.

Productivity in the greenhouse - 5 kg / sq. Good quality seed germination - 50%.

How to grow pepino at home

It is believed that fruits of different quality ripen on pepino grown from seeds and stepchildren. On plants propagated vegetatively, they are tastier, larger and sweeter. In the State Register, it is generally indicated separately that pepino reproduces by cuttings, and this in itself is a rarity - usually they do not give such information there.

Growing pepino from seeds at home

Melon pear seeds are split, and cuttings completely inherit the characteristics of the parent plant. But what should simple gardeners do? Where to get cuttings? Pepino seeds are on sale, and the stepchildren of herbaceous plants may dry out or wrinkle until they reach the mail. Even in pots, the rooted parts of soft brittle stems are inconvenient to transfer. We have to grow pepino from seeds. But if you like the culture, in order to improve the taste of the fruits, you can take the one with the best fruits as a mother plant.

Before growing pepino from seeds at home, you need to know:

  1. Sowing is carried out from late November to early December. Only in this case will the pepino bloom and tie fruits of such a size that they will not crumble with the onset of a long daylight hours or at elevated (but not extreme) temperatures.
  2. If you sow the seeds in the spring, they will sprout well and bloom actively. Perhaps the pepino will even tie the berries. But at best, single fruits will ripen, which will hide in the shade of leaves, where the temperature is several degrees lower. Pepino ovaries will stop dropping by the end of August. When there is a place for the winter keeping of a plant with a height of more than one and a half meters, which also requires a garter, this is not scary. Getting exotic fruits in winter is no less pleasant than in summer or autumn.
  3. Pepino seed germination is defined as low. Where did the information come from that all planting material will hatch 100% and turn into an adult plant is unknown. Perhaps someone was just lucky, the person shared his joy, and the rest picked up. To avoid disappointment when germinating pepino seeds, do not expect miracles from them.

Growing pepino seedlings at home

It is believed that pepino seedlings should be grown like other nightshade crops. This is only partly true - after the appearance of two real leaves and a pick, the culture is really easy to care for. But while the seeds germinate, one should not deviate from the rules, they already have poor germination.

Experienced gardeners sow pepino on filter paper. There, the culture not only sprouts, but is also brought to the stage of picking. But for beginners, it is better not even to start growing seedlings in this way. Young pepino on cellulose can be easily overdried or poured, they are very fragile, break during transplantation, and it is difficult to separate thin roots from filter paper.

Better to go the traditional way:

  1. For pepino seedlings intended for picking, you should choose transparent dishes, for example, plastic containers for products with holes made in the bottom. You can plant 2-3 seeds in peat cups. Then they will not need to dive. But in this case, you should take care of a closed transparent container, which will be used as a greenhouse for the first months.
  2. Drainage is laid at the bottom, covered with a layer of sand, calcined in the oven or disinfected with potassium permanganate. Above is placed soil for seedlings, compacted (so that small seeds do not fall through), leveled, spilled with a foundation solution.

    Important! It is impossible to replace the foundation with potassium permanganate in this particular case.

  3. The seeds are laid out on the surface of the soil.
  4. The container for germination is covered with glass or transparent film.
  5. Every day, the shelter is removed for ventilation, if necessary, the soil is moistened from a household spray bottle.
  6. The temperature of the pepino content is 25-28⁰ С. Deviations from this range are unacceptable! If a suitable temperature cannot be obtained, it is best not to start germination.
  7. At a distance of 10-15 cm from the surface of the covering material, a light source is installed, and even better - a phytolamp. Illuminated 24 hours a day all the time of seed germination and before picking. Pepino, planted in individual cups, is illuminated all day until the third true leaf appears.

    Important! As the seedlings grow, the lamp should be raised higher.

  8. Most seeds will sprout in a week, but some may sprout in a month.
  9. A very important moment in the development of pepino is the shedding of the seed coat by the cotyledons. They cannot always free themselves on their own and rot. The sprouts need help: arm yourself with a magnifying glass and a sterile needle, carefully remove the shell. Care should be taken as the tiny pepinos are very fragile.
  10. When the third true leaf appears, the seedlings are dived into individual cups. After a week, the backlight is reduced to 16 hours a day. For seedlings planted immediately in a separate container, the lighting is reduced when 2-3 true leaves are fully disclosed.
  11. After a month, the backlight is reduced to 14 hours. By the beginning of March, they switch to natural mode, of course, if the seedlings are on the windowsill. Otherwise, the lighting conditions are made as close to natural as possible.
  12. The soil is watered regularly to keep it slightly damp. It should be borne in mind that with artificial backlighting, it dries out faster. Both a one-time lack of moisture and overflows, which can cause a black leg and the death of seedlings, are unacceptable.
  13. The first feeding is applied two weeks after the pick. Pepino, sown immediately in individual containers, is fertilized in the phase of the third true leaf. To do this, use a special top dressing for seedlings or dilute the usual complex 2-3 times more than written in the instructions. Further fertilized every 2 weeks. From March, you can give a complete top dressing for nightshade crops. Fertilizers must be dissolved in water.

    Important! Pepino in a pot is watered with water 10-12 hours before feeding.

  14. The melon pear grows very slowly, when it has 6-8 true leaves, they transfer it to a container with a volume of 700-800 ml so as not to disturb the earthen ball.

Growing pepino from cuttings

The melon pear forms many stepchildren that need to be broken out regularly. They take root well and inherit maternal traits. So, even from one germinated seed per season, you can get so many young plants that it will be enough to plant a small plantation.

Pepino grown from cuttings and stepchildren develop much faster than those obtained through seedlings. It is enough to cut off the lower leaves and put a piece of the stem in water or plant it in light soil. Roots are formed quickly, the survival rate is high. There is no need to cover the cuttings with foil, but you need to spray it often.

Pepino, taken out of the ground together with an earthen lump and planted in a pot, is easy to store in an apartment. In the spring, cuttings are cut from the stems and rooted. Unlike the difficulties that seeds can deliver, even a teenager can cope with vegetative propagation of pepino.

Important! Rooted cuttings are watered only when the soil dries out to the depth of the first phalanx of the index finger.

Optimal conditions for growing pepino

Melon pear will feel best in a greenhouse. But in the absence of a winter garden, pepino is grown on window sills, in greenhouses and in the open field. It is convenient to plant crops directly on the site in large pots with a capacity of 5-10 liters. But then you need to make side holes so that excess moisture comes out into the ground through them (stagnant water will surely destroy the plant), feed and water with caution.

Growing pepino in greenhouses is only allowed if the temperature is controlled. Often it is hot there up to 50⁰C, and this will cause the melon pear to shed its leaves and ovaries, even if they are old enough to ripen in summer.

In the open field, a place is chosen that is illuminated by the sun only in the morning. Otherwise, the fruits will be preserved only inside the bush or where they will be covered by other plants. Flowering will continue, but viable ovaries will appear by the end of August.

Important! Although pepino pollinates on its own, you can improve the yield and quality of the fruit by transferring pollen from flower to flower with a soft brush, or simply shaking the shoots.

Transplanting pepino into open ground is possible not earlier than May, when not only the ground warms up, but the night temperature will also be at least 10 ° C. According to reviews, the culture can withstand a short-term decrease to 8 ° C.

Pepino can be planted quite compactly, but do not forget that the plant can reach 1.5-2 m in height, and its shoots are fragile, herbaceous, less than a centimeter thick. Without a garter, a melon pear will simply collapse under its own weight, and, even if it does not break, will begin to take root. This will already lead to the appearance of dense thickets, which, let alone bear fruit, will bloom scarcely.

Stepchildren should be removed regularly, otherwise all the forces of the pepino will be spent on the formation of new lateral shoots, and not on fruiting. The resulting cuttings root well, grow quickly, and under good conditions they can even catch up with the mother plant. The bottom leaves should also be removed to provide fresh air and facilitate watering.

It is recommended to fertilize Pepino every 2 weeks, and it is better to use special feeding for nightshade crops. If the green mass grows quickly, but flowering does not occur, you should skip top dressing - most likely, an excess of nitrogen has formed in the soil. This can even cause the fruit to drop.

You do not need to pinch the top of pepino - it is an indeterminate plant with unlimited growth. Under good conditions, 2-3 shoots are formed, which are directed upward and tied up. If you do not remove the stepsons, the fruits will be less, however, according to reviews, they are much tastier than those formed on the main stem.

Important! Pepino should be looked after in the same way as an eggplant.

When the temperature drops and reaches 10 ° C, the melon pear is removed from the street. It often happens that the fruits at this time have just begun to form or did not even have time to reach technical ripeness. If the plant was planted directly in a pot, everything is simple: it is dug up, cleaned of the earth, put in a beautiful pots and brought into the house.

Important! Before sending pepino to a closed room, it must be washed and treated with insecticides.

A melon pear planted in the ground without a container is carefully dug up and transplanted into a pot. The larger the earthen lump, the more likely it is that the plant, after changing the conditions of maintenance, will not shed leaves and fruits.

You can put the plant on the windowsill and wait for the ripening of fruits or the setting of new ones (the time is favorable for this). The mother plant, from which cuttings are supposed to be obtained in spring, are sent to a cool room, where the temperature does not drop below 10-15⁰ С.

Diseases and pests

Pepino is susceptible to all diseases and pests that affect nightshade crops, but it also has its own problems:

  • the plant can destroy the Colorado potato beetle;
  • pepino is susceptible to spider mites, aphids and whiteflies;
  • seedlings with waterlogging often have a black leg;
  • overflows of adult plants cause a variety of rot;
  • with a lack of copper, late blight develops.

Pepino should be inspected regularly and, if necessary, treated with appropriate fungicides or insecticides. Spraying is mandatory before transplanting into a pot. If the problems began after the pepino was brought into the house, the fungicides are used the same as in the open field, it is recommended to choose Aktelik from the insecticides.


Usually sown in November-December, pepino sets the fruit by May. In this case, the harvest takes place in June-July. The fruits ripen unevenly, since flowering lasts a long time, especially if the stepsons are not removed. Unfavorable conditions can cause pepino to shed ovaries and leaves that grow back over time. Even with summer flowering, single fruits do not crumble, but reach ripeness. Most often they are hidden between the leaves.

According to reviews, the taste of overripe pepino is mediocre. The fruits reach technical maturity when the skin turns creamy or yellow-orange, and lilac streaks begin to appear on the sides. At this time, pepino can be removed from the bush, wrapped in paper and left to ripen in a dark, well-ventilated place. The fruits will reach consumer maturity in 1-2 months.

Pepino reaches full ripeness as soon as its color is fully developed, and when pressed, the fruit is slightly squeezed.

Important! There is no mass collection of melon pears. The fruits are plucked as they ripen.

How to eat the pepino fruit

Residents of Japan and South America eat pepino fresh, peeled and removed from the core with seeds. New Zealanders add fruits to meat, fish, make sauces and desserts from them. Pepino can be added to compotes, jams. Due to the high content of pectins, the fruit produces an excellent jelly.

Interesting! Unripe pepino is edible and tastes like a cucumber.

Fruits at the stage of technical ripeness can be stored for up to 2 months until they ripen.


Growing pepino at home in the summer is like fun. Its fruits cannot greatly diversify the table, which is already rich in vegetables and fruits. But the winter harvest will not only surprise, but also saturate the body with vitamins, the lack of which is especially felt in the cold season.


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