Zizyphus spinosa

(Suan zao ren; Sour date kernel) Hailed the anti-stress herb, seeds are used in Chinese medicine to calm the mind and preserve chi energy. Studies show that the seeds have a tranquilizing and hypnotic effect, and are analgesic and anticonvulsive. They are said also to nourish muscles and enrich bone marrow. Used to treat irritability, insomnia and anxiety. This species is the medicinal cousin of the tropical jujube fruit. Hardy bush or small tree.

Hardy in zones 3-8

Sow seeds in spring, late summer or early fall.

The jujube is a sturdy fruit tree rarely bothered by pests or disease, tough enough to survive in arid conditions where other fruit trees are destined to fail. The tree can grow as tall as 30 to 50 feet and will produce fruit in mid-summer. Although the fruit emerges light green, jujube fruit is ripe when it turns wrinkled and brown, earning the tree its nickname, “Chinese date.”

Packet app. 20 seeds


Growing JujubeStart seeds in 3-4″ pots indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost date. Cover seeds to about 1/2″ and keep moist at all times for germination.

Do not allow the seeds to dry out.

Plant jujube in well-drained soil. Dig a hole at least twice as large as the tree’s root system, but no deeper than the height of the root ball.

Place the tree in the hole and spread the roots evenly. The crown, which is where the roots meet the trunk, should be 2 to 4 inches above ground level. Allowing the crown to sink below ground level can cause the tree to rot.

Fill the hole with the soil that was removed. Tamp the soil gently around the roots to eliminate air pockets. Mound the soil 1 to 2 inches around the trunk to allow for settling.

Build a raised trench around the circumference of the tree. The trench should be slightly raised, and should be located 3 to 4 inches from the outer edge of the planting hole.

Water the jujube tree immediately. Keep the tree moist until the tree is established, indicated by new growth. After that time, the tree is drought-tolerant. Jujube trees require no fertilizer, according Arizona Cooperative Extension.

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