Ziziphus jujuba, Jujube
Zone
5/6a (4)
Pollination
self-fertile, self-sterile
Blooms
(overall) late? (very late)
Ripens
4+ months? (hot climate), aim for the earliest in cool climates (experimental)
Chill Hours
200 or less
pH
5.6 to 6.5 (preferred), 5.1 to 7.8 (acceptable), 4.5 to 8.4 (tolerable)
Yield
0 - 4 years
Tolerant
poor soil, saline soil

The native range of the jujube is unknown due to extensive cultivation throughout Eurasia, but it is believed to be somewhere between the eastern tip of the mediterranean basin and China. It is extremely drought and heat tolerant, but they can grow like weeds if irrigated and fertilized. Irrigation will also prevent the fruit from drying up before fully developing. The main issue they suffer from in wet climates is poor pollination. In cool or wet climates, jujubes will need as much sun exposure as they can get, otherwise fruit production will likely be low or nonexistent.

Fruit quality is highly variable by region, and sometimes even by year, significantly more so than most other fruits. Some top cultivars may be of poor quality during the first few years it produces, even in an ideal climate, and it's pretty common for them to be poor or average in other climates.

To add to the confusion, mislabeling has been a problem, but some people are trying to sort it out. A few even speculate that climate can, in some cases, have a fairly dramatic effect on the shape or size of the fruit as well. I will occasionally update the page to be more inline with current beliefs.

No cultivar seems to be excellent in every climate, but every climate has compatible cultivars (assuming the grow season is long enough and it's within the appropriate hardiness zone). The best climate seems to be one that is fairly dry around pollination, but hot and wet during the grow season.

If the grow season is long enough, some cultivars may produce two crops. In hot desert climates, the first crop may be of poor quality, due to extremely high and consistent heat, but the second crop is more likely to be excellent, since the weather isn't as harsh.

Jujube trees are thorny and may sucker profusely, but they become less thorny as they age.




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Jujube
Ziziphus jujuba

Ant Admire

buy
Ripens
:
early-mid?
Size
:
oval/elongated

may produce decent fruit after a few years in hot, wet climates. less thorns

Autumn Beauty

buy
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
up to 2" fruit, round

Autumn Beauty is also known as Qi Yue Xian. possible delay in production in wet climates. sweet/complex, recommended

Black Sea

buy
selected in Yalta, Ukraine
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
round/oval

very sweet

Bok Jo

buy
originated in Korea
Ripens
:
mid? (early-mid)

There is some evidence that Bok Jo will produce well in wet climates.

Chico

buy
Ripens
:
mid
Size
:
medium fruit, apple-shaped

may struggle to pollinate in wet climates. sweet-tart

Coco

buy
selected in Yalta, Ukraine
Ripens
:
early-mid

there is evidence that the "coconut-like" flavor often mentioned by nurseries is legit, but it's supposedly quite mild. almost no one talks about this variety, needs more experimentation.

Contorted So

buy
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
early? (early-mid)
Size
:
up to 1.25" fruit, round/oval

So is probably not worth getting, even for those who require early ripeners, unless you want it for experimental or ornamental purposes (contorted branches). Its best quality is that it can be fairly productive in wet climates.

dwarfing in less than ideal climates.

There may be more than one cultivar named So.

GA 866

buy
developed in Chico, California?
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
mid-late?
Size
:
1" x 2" fruit, elongated/oval

Almost no one (who has reported on GA866) can get this darn tree to produce well. This includes various climates that are known to treat jujubes fairly well. It took one tree 8 years in southern Texas to start bearing heavily and 10 years in Central Valley (California). Very sweet, up to 45 brix has been measured (low 20's to low 30's is fairly common for jujubes). probably one of the better ones for drying.

Globe

buy
Ripens
:
late?
Size
:
large fruit, probably around 2" in diameter. most circular jujube I have seen.

supposedly tastes like cardboard. doesn't sound too bad to me, but then again, I regularly eat dry oatmeal for lunch.

Honey Jar

buy
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
mid? (early)
Size
:
1" fruit, round, rounded-square, or honeyjar-shaped

Honey Jar seems to produce well in fairly wet climates, but it may take 1-4 years before it starts to produce (you must give jujubes full sun in wet climates). It's much more precocious elsewhere. I'm not sure how they would fare in some of the wettest parts of the US, such as the southeast. very sweet, crisp, juicy, recommended fresh or dried

Lang

buy
Zone
:
5a
Ripens
:
early-mid
Size
:
1.5" fruit, pear-shaped

Lang has a fairly poor reputation when it comes to fresh eating, and there are better cultivars for drying as well. less thorns

Li

buy
Zone
:
5a
Ripens
:
mid
Size
:
large, round/apple-shaped fruit

Li is quite variable in flavor, possibly more so than the average cultivar. It ranges from average to excellent, depending on climate/weather and the age of the tree (older is linked to better quality and possibly even earlier ripening). It can be somewhat productive in wet climates. sweet/sweet-tart, less thorns

Massandra

buy
developed in Yalta, Ukraine
Ripens
:
early/early-mid
Size
:
sabertooth-shaped

R4T3

buy
Ripens
:
mid?
Size
:
2.5" fruit, elongated pepper-shaped

sweet

Redlands 4

buy
discovered in Redlands, California
Ripens
:
early-mid? (mid)
Size
:
large, round/apple-shaped fruit

produces well in wet climates

Shanxi Li

buy
Ripens
:
mid-late?
Size
:
2" fruit, round

there is some evidence that it'll produce well in a wet climate. precocious

Sherwood

buy
Ripens
:
mid-late
Size
:
1" x 1.25" fruit, oval/flat-top

Sherwood takes longer than usual to start producing, especially if you are waiting for a heavy crop (7-10 years). This seems to be a problem in all climates, but there is one report of a Sherwood fruiting quickly. The fruit seem to be well liked in the western half of the US. I have only seen one report in eastern US, and it was poor. sweet, less thorns

Sihong

buy
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
mid
Size
:
roughly 1.5" x 1.5" fruit, round/apple/elongated/oval

one of the best for drying. sweet/complex, precocious, recommended

Sugar Cane

buy
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
1.2" x 1.4" fruit, oval

Sugarcane has a decent reputation, but many others are preferred over it. I would probably look elsewhere, unless you require early season varieties, since your options are limited. self-sterile? very sweet

Tae Seoul Jo

buy
originated in Korea
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
early-mid? (mid)

There is some evidence that Tae Seoul Jo will produce well in wet climates. very sweet, juicy

Tigertooth

buy
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
late?
Size
:
1" x 1.5" fruit, elongated

Tigertooth and Silverhill are often considered to be the same cultivar. They may have some slight differences, although, this may have been due to mislabeling. Tigertooth tolerates rain and humidity fairly well, but it's not immune to poor productivity. Its flavor is usually considered to be poor. less thorns

Winter Delight

buy
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
late
Size
:
up to 2" fruit

Winter Delight is also known as Mango Dong Zho. It is sometimes labeled as an early ripener, possibly due to a major nursery mislabeling Autumn Beauty as a Winter Delight in the past. It is, in fact, one of the last to ripen.

Xu Zhou

buy
originated in China
Zone
:
5
Ripens
:
late?
Size
:
oval/elongated

Very little is known about Xu Zhou in the US, but it is currently being tested. We do know that it is precocious in Texas (not saying much since Jujubes love growing in Texas) and that it has produced in Kentucky. However, I don't know how well it produced in KY or the age of the tree, but I suspect it only took a few years, possibly making it a promising variety for wet climates (with a long grow season). Comments on flavor implied that first year fruit were alright, not impressive, but this is fairly common for young jujube trees. It has also been described as excellent (likely from a more mature tree).