I have an orangeberry plant covering a large patch of ground around & under the feijoa tree. Whilst it has grown like mad & is a thick healthy 2m sq. carpet now, I am still waiting for fruit. It has been in the ground 3yrs and last season we saw several flowers but no real fruit developed. Asking about this, many garden centres seem puzzled by this plant and its non-production of 'edibles' (they have had queries from other disappointed customers too).
HELP please - we have flowers coming on now. Do we need to feed the plant something to encourage fruit set?
Good morning Mike
Orangeberry is a reluctant fruiter and we do not know what triggers the setting of fruit. However it does take this long before it will flower and fruit. Our plants outside our office are flowering madly this year and the bees have been very busy especially on settled weather days. So all our fingers and toes are crossed. Saying that we have had fruit on plants in pots a lot earlier than the stated 3-4 years. They do flower and fruit. Hang in there. I have attached an info sheet which I hope will help.
Since this email was sent. The first orangeberry in the office garden has had its first fruit. Noticed 21/12/07. I think this garden was planted winter 2003 after we moved out here. Noticed a few whole fruit and many orange receptacles where birds had eaten the fruit. These plants must be 4 years old. Other Orangeberry plants in surrounding gardens were covered in many flowers this season and have not set fruit. Can only put this down to the plants not old enough as the plants were covered in bees but also were not watered on a regular basis as with the office garden.
About five or six years ago I bought an orangeberry plant as I am a keen gardener and have an extensive berry garden. I thought the orangeberry sounded interesting and different. Unfortunately I have had not one berry from the plant which has now spread nearly two metres by one metre. The plant is smothered in flowers but no fruit. I have even tried to fertilise with a paint brush. The plant is in my berrry garden and the other berries fruit prolifically.
I have asked the local Mitre 10 store to contact you on several occasions but you have not given any advice which has helped the situation. At a recent Horticultural Society outing I asked other members if they have had any success with orangeberries and all experienced the same problem.
I feel that you are promoting these plants under false pretences. One bad season I can accept but to wait for years as I have done is unreasonable. I feel you are not treating the public fairly. I have had other berries in your range especially gooseberries and hornless blackberries and they have been great producers.
Could you please explain what is the problem with these plants otherwise I feel you should withdraw them from sale.
Thank you for your email and my sincere apologies for the treatment and experience you have received and of course the reluctance of the orangeberries in fruiting.
We first put orangeberry on the market some 6-7 years ago after obtaining it from the Hamilton Cemetery through the Head Gardener at the time for the Hamilton Council. Mike gave me some fruit and it was delicious however he had to be be quick to get it before the birds and the staff. We then proceeded to release it to the retail garden centres the following year based on the fruit I had sampled. In hindsight, if we knew then what we know now we would have looked further into the fruiting habit of this plant before releasing it.
We have had fruit in the Bay of Plenty almost every year since, however we have not been able to work out what initiates the fruit and like yourself are confused as to what the trigger is. We have plants growing in various parts of our nursery; hard dry unfertilised ground, well watered fertilised gardens, restricted root systems in containers and every year the plants flower and the bees work the flowers heavily. Unfortunately every year it is different as to which ones seem to fruit and we have been unable to pin point what causes the fruit set. I am sorry I can not offer you any guaranteed way of fruiting this plant.
It is not our intention to sell plants under false pretences and to be seen as treating the public unfairly. In the last 2 years we have amended the label that accompanies this plant with the following note
"PLEASE NOTE: Orangeberry appears to be a reluctant fruiter and may take 3 years or more to fruit. We have found restricting the roots has enhanced fruiting", and the website has also been adjusted to better inform the public of the reluctance of this plant to fruiting.