Jujube advice, mid-atlantic

I’m thinking about planting a jujube here in 6A/B WV. I’ve never tasted one, never seen one in person, but have watched some videos and have heard stories of their long keeping abilities.

I watched a Dave Speilman video where he suggests the Li variety if you are only planting one. But his Cali environment is not representative of mine. I know jujubes are drought tolerant and prefer lots of heat.

If I only want to plant one variety in my climate what should it be?

Honey Jar is very good. Once the tree size up then you can graft others good varieties on it like Li, Shanxi Li, Sugarcane, So, Shihong, Winter Delights, and Coco.


Thanks tony. I assume honey jar is self fertile and can produce fruit as a stand alone tree?

Shopping around online it seems Jujubes are quite expensive. About 50% higher cost than most typical fruit trees. Wonder what the reasoning for this is.

Also, what’s the proper pronunciation? Tom Spellman was calling them Joo-Joobies while several people on YouTube call them Joo-Joo-Bees. Is one of these correct or is this a word that can be pronounces either way?

yes, jujubes are still quite expensive, as they are not too common-- at least not yet. But if you’re not in a hurry, get yourself any of what may be available(or the cheapest one you could get), and will send you budwood of li , which Tony mentioned, and it is a popular one(not the best, but good).

we also have sugarcane and contorted budwood available, but am not inclined to propose those as they are not as good(taste, of course is subjective).

hopefully within two to three years, we’d have enough budwood of chico and sihong to broadcast to everyone in this website, especially those who’ve been disappointed with jujus on their first, or second, or third tries…btw, jujus’ first and second year fruits are usually not as good as their fruits on their third or even fourth year
as of now, only englands’ has sihong, and they only sell budwood. Rollingriver and JFAE also have it on their roster but apparently sold out.

burntridge still has chico for sale, it may be quite pricey for many people($35, if i remember), but personally think it is all worth it. Chico is all-american, btw— bred and born here, and it is much better than other imported jujus with fancier ‘screen names’. It is the closest thing to the tartness of apples among jujus, but unlike most apples, brix of chico is at least 25. Our late october chicos breached 30 brix

honey jar is self-fertile. Extremely precocious, in fact, and will drape itself with fruits-- on the year it is grafted.
it is very sweet at 30+ brix, and pretty good when all brown, but imo, not the best due to the mild flavor(but no doubt, it is more than worthy of being included in anyone’s juju collection). The title seems to be a bit overbearing for people anticipating ‘honey’, which could be disappointing, to myself included.

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just checked burntridge, which is the only vendor offering it up until december, but they already removed hj from their roster.

Sold out evidently.

I’ve grafted a lot of varieties, but haven’t been able to sample most of them yet. I thought that Honey Jar and Sugar Cane were the best tasting, just edging out So (a dwarf with contorted branches). Jujube pollination seems a bit complicated, with differing opinions on their self-fertility. I’d suggest getting two just to be safe.

There are a few good choices for nurseries. Just Fruits and Exotics has some nice plants, but their inventory is pretty low at the moment (just So and Tigertooth, more of a drying jujube, I think). Rolling River has both So and Sugar Cane, as well as Shanxi Li, a variety Scott has spoken highly of, so that is the direction I would go at the moment. Trees of Antiquity has a good reputation and I’ve ordered several from them for the coming spring, but they only have Li and Lang left.

it could be regional differences too-- just as coconuts grown in brazil may not be as good as those grown in southeast asia, even though of the same cultivars.

quite possible that sugarcanes and honeyjars in the desert may not be as flavorful as those in cooler climates, despite being as sweet. Conversely, sihongs and chico grown elsewhere may not be as good as those grown here.
li is actually better tasting(more tart and juicy) after the first batch of crops, later in oct, or nov, when temps are cooler, even though the first crops are much bigger in size and just as sweet. Reminds me of differences between fig brebas and main crop.

regardless, say-- if i were to do the plantings all over again, will still insist on growing at least one honey jar and sugarcane, and will still grow contorteds. Contorteds are quite ornamental!

i should have purchased more sihongs and chico from Mr Meyer/burntridge when we first started. Autumn beauty and winter delight are two others which should have obtained when they were still readily available. If those are truly better than sihong, then they must be really good!
still have some two or three puny twiglets of sihong lateral(secondary) branches remaining in the fridge btw, if there’s anyone here interested.*not the ideal stem-type for scionwood if developmental vigor is the priority, but better than nothing, i guess

as for shanxi li, seems to me that the regular li is much better tasting, but would rather wait for the subsequent crops this year to get to a fair judgment/conclusion. Am surprised though that rollingriver still has shanxi li’s, since those are quite in-demand, being considerably bigger than li

I think they got more jujube inventory from somewhere, as they had almost nothing a month or two ago.

I think this must be regional as well. Maybe they need more extensive root systems where you are to ensure a consistent supply of water. For me, the first try of So was similar to the second (both very good). And as noted above Sugar Cane and Honey Jar were even better (by a bit, HJ more sugar and SC a lighter crisp texture) in their first fruiting. HJ was remarkably precocious, as I was eating fruit (about a half dozen) 4 months after grafting it.

contorted, hj and sc were consistent for me too. Smaller fruited jujus achieve maturity(taste-wise) faster, but with the bigger ones-- it may take years…

this is definitely good news. My only gripe about rollingrivers is that their grafted stoc come with tiny calipers, and may take awhile to develop into trees, especially if budwood used weren’t ideal.
dudding out will invariably add to the disappointment, especially for newbies. Not that it is RR’s fault, because something is always better than nothing,and juju stem identification is quite confusing-- if not unbeknownst to many

I’ve been trying to propagate jujube for a few years now and am experimenting with grafting. My application requires them not to be grafted to native or “sour jujube” (you can find details on other threads). I started with Tigertooth which is one I could get on its own roots. I’ve been propagating them through root cuttings and I’ve been grafting a few other varieties to the tigertooth root stock.

This year for the first time, I found some root sprouts around my trees in the field, so I dug them up and am trying to grow them. Last year I bought some sour jujube rootstock from Roger Meyer to experiment with. None of this will go into the field. My attempts to graft to it were a failure. I tried to grow the root stock in 1 gal RB2 containers. A few never leafed out. Those that did, I tried to graft, but all the grafts failed. A few of them put up new growth. I kept those for future experiments.

I have 3 categories of trees in my basement right now.

  1. Trees with good roots that were started from root cuttings in 1 gal Rootbuilder2 containers last year and have a short growing season behind them.
  2. Sprouts dug up after they went dormant and planted in 1 gal RB2 containers last fall.
  3. Sour Jujube that put up new growth from the root system after grafts failed last year.

All of these spent the winter in my “cold room”. It is just a room in my basement that is shut off from the heated portion and a window is left open. I monitor the temperature. It is well below 50 degrees most of the time but above freezing. If it gets close to freezing, I adjust the window.

About a week and a half ago, I decided they had enough chill hours and I brought them in an put them under lights. So far trees with good root system leafed out pretty well.

Of 4 trees started from root cuttings, 3 have leafed out well. All three of the sour jujube have just started to form leaves. Only 3 of the sprouts have started to form leaves.

I’m hoping to find a few sticks of varieties I don’t have if I can find the right diameter to graft to the sour jujube. The problem is that the diameter of these is pretty small.

I can get tigertooth scions for anyone who needs a few.



thanks for sharing! and i agree, it is ideal to have jujus on their own roots, especially if not as thorny as the spinosa standard, this way, any wayward suckers will be bearing good fruits as well

englands might have sherwoods on their own roots as well.

If so, it might be new. I think when I talked to cliff about Jujube a few years ago, everything was grafted. I should double check.

I saw one thread on here where someone claimed he was successfully air layering them. I’d like to learn more about that. I’m hoping to try something similar. In addition to grafting other varieties to Tigertooth (in which case any wayward suckers will bare tigertooth fruit), I’m hoping to try something like air layering but in containers. I’m hoping to successfully W&T graft to the wild root stock Once the graft has taken and is growing strong, I plant to score and apply rooting hormone just above the graft and then raise the sides of the container so the area is covered in mix. Jujube seem to be very slow in forming roots. I’m thinking the wild roots will sustain the tree as long as it takes to form roots above the graft. Once it forms roots, I’ll cut the wild rootstock off just above the graft.

Another thing I was thinking about trying is to wrap a piece of wire around the trunk, just below where I score it for rooting. My thought was keep it loose. I’m thinking that as the tree grows and constricts, it will slowly cut off flow to the wild roots and hopefully encourage rooting above the wire. I would then cut it off at the wire. Just thinking out loud…

Sihong has gone to the very top of my list since your very wonderful sample of jujubes you where so kind to send. Every bit as sweet and delightful as Honey Jar but twice as big. In fact Sihong is #1 for me ahead of HJ. I have the HJ. HJ growing great in 2nd year. Tons of flowers, just no fruit set. Not even one like it’s sister @thecityman Kevin’s not far from me. No doubt Kevin’s HJ has fruited some due to much better cross pollination than me. Neither one of us water our jujubes last time I checked with him anyways. I have addressed the lack of cross pollination issue. I added the Li this year and I have the mystery (most likely Sherwood) in its 2nd year. I must have the Sihong next. :heavy_check_mark::+1::100::grinning:


glad you liked them, since those aren’t even at their prime. We’ve had several >110F days when picked those. Sihong is excellent as fresh fruits and also as dried dates. And depending on our mood, we also enjoy them when beginning to turn into wrinkly dates but still green inside. Being cousins of both apples and stone fruit, most juju cultivars have apple overtones, but sihong has more plum flavor than apple flavor, especially when dried as dates, with a rich and complex taste that is vaguely similar, yet also different from prunes.
Thankfully, juju dates do not have the laxative effect of prunes, since we tend to ‘overdose’ :grin: