How to Take Care of Ziziphus Plants


Ziziphus trees are better known as Chinese Date or Jujube trees. They produce a very sweet fruit that can be eaten fresh or dried or be used to make candies, cakes and syrup. These plants originated in China, where they've been cultivated for thousands of years. They can grow to 40 feet tall and wide although most are smaller. There are many different cultivars of this deciduous tree, but all have very strong, hard wood. The fruit is green when young and turns brown to fully red as it ripens. It will also naturally dry right on the tree.

Step 1

Find a sunny location to plant the Ziziphus tree. It needs sun and heat to thrive.

Step 2

Work some course sand in the soil around the tree once a year to promote good drainage if you have a heavy soil. If the soil is draining quickly then the sand is not necessary. Top dress with compost once a year to enrich the soil and keep it loose.

Step 3

Water the tree every other day when first planted for about three months. After that, water only when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry. Although the tree is very drought tolerant, it will fruit best if given an even amount of water.

Step 4

Fertilize the tree with an 8-8-8 granular fertilizer after you start to see growth. Then fertilize every two months during the growth season. Do not fertilize after the fruit is full grown until the following spring when you see new signs of growth.

Step 5

Prune dead and diseased branches in the winter. Cut off any branches that look weak or broken. Pruning will not harm the tree in if done while it is dormant and will help to keep the tree healthy and promote a better fruit crop the following growing season.

Step 6

Pick the fruit when it is fully ripe and edible. Once picked the fruit will not ripen any further. Fruit that has naturally dried on the tree will last a very long time.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Course sand
  • Compost
  • 8-8-8 fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Arkansas
  • National Gardening Association
  • California Rare Fruit Growers
Keywords: growing ziziphus, caring for jujube trees, Chinese dates

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.