Grow tasty cashews right on the patio with this super-easy tree!
The cashew tree is an evergreen that grows quickly and fruits young -- not to mention how handsome its lush foliage and interesting green-and-red flowers are! A sun- and heat-lover, all it asks for is good soil drainage, plenty of water, and freedom from frost. Pop it into a large container and let it beautify the deck, porch, or patio from spring through fall, then bring it indoors as a winter houseplant. The trees produce fruit very quickly, usually about 3 months after flowering; the fruit at maturity is orange-red and is fragrant. It flowers in winter, and fruits 2 to 3 months later.
If you've never seen a cashew on the tree, prepare to be amazed. The fruit looks like a pear, golden with flushes of red, and at its base hangs a single cashew (which is actually a seed!) in a large case. The pear-like fruit is called the "cashew apple" and is used to make wine, jellies, and beverages. The nut below has a shell that is caustic and has to be roasted before handling. Never eat cashews raw! After the cashew is roasted, it becomes one of the most delicious nuts in nature.
The cashew seed is surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic resin called anacardic acid. This is a potent skin irritant chemically related to the more well-known allergenic oil urushiol, which is found in the related poison ivy. Properly roasting cashews destroys the toxin; however, roasting must be done outdoors as the smoke (not unlike from burning poison ivy) contains urushiol droplets which can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening reactions by irritating the lungs.
In nature, trees reach 30 feet in height; in containers trees will reach only around 8 feet. Trees must be protected as they will be damaged at 30 degrees F. The cashew is drought tolerant so if watering is temporality neglected the plant can survive. In South Florida, people who grow cashews give away the seed to neighbors to grow more plants.
This tropical plant may be planted in a large planter for use indoors or on any deck or patio.
Only a Limited Supply Available
|Item Form||Trade Gallon (3qt)|
|Zone||10 - 11|
|Bloom Season||Late Fall - Late Winter|
|Plant Height||8 ft|
|Additional Characteristics||Butterfly Lovers, Easy Care Plants, Edible, Evergreen, Fast Growing, Fragrance, Free Bloomer, Indoor Growing|
|Bloom Color||Light Green, Multi-Color, Red|
|Foliage Color||Medium Green|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun|
|Moisture Requirements||Moist, well-drained|
|Resistance||Disease Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Heat Tolerant, Humidity Tolerant, Pest Resistant|
|Soil Tolerance||Normal, loamy, Poor, Sandy|
|Uses||Border, Containers, Cuisine, Foliage Interest, Ornamental, Specimen|
|Restrictions||Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|