Pepino is a "recent" discovery from Peru and Chile where it is often prepared more as a vegetable rather than a fruit. The potential for improvement by breeding has been explored by HortResearch with a wide range of forms currently being under evaluation. The plant is not known in the wild, and the details of it origin are not known.
This plant would be ideal in a container on the deck where it will flower and fruit heavily. Alternatively plant in the garden where the flowers and fruit can be admired all spring/summer and autumn.
Fruit contains good levels of Vitamin c and fairly good levels of Vitamin A and folate.
How to Eat
Because pepino flesh is sweet and tasty, it provides a welcome addition to many desserts, side dishes, and health-conscious meals. Additionally, it is an interesting addition to many party fruit platters because of its unique, dual colour skin and it
Generic Fruiting Time
The plant likes a sunny or semi-shaded, frost-free location.
Shelter from strong winds.
Pepinos can be found in climates where the weather is moderate, frost-free, and where much sunshine is present. Pepinos will recover from light frosts - natural pruning.
The pepino does best in a fertile (but not too fertile), free draining, neutral soil (ph of 6.5-7.5). It is not as tolerant of salinity as the tomato. Mulching will help suppress weed growth.
Position the plant in a warm sunny spot with plenty of moisture and free draining soil. Plant early spring after the last frost and provide support for the growing plant to keep the fruit off the ground. Try a ring of gutter guard or trellis for support.
Fertilise with low nitrogen based fertiliser early in spring. The plants should be fertilised in a manner similar to a tomato plant, mixing in some well-rotted manure to the plant site several weeks in advance and supplementing with a 5-10-10 NPK granular fertiliser as needed. Soils that are too rich produce vigorous vegetative growth which can lead to reduced fruit set and quality, plus an increase in pest problems.
Cut back after all frost as the Pepino will grow again in spring.
The main pests are slugs and snails. Scatter the slug bait around and keep the fruit up off the ground. Whitefly is another pest - see your garden centre for a spray program.
The plant will survive a low temperature of 1°C