A picture of a Melon Pear

Melon Pear

Solanum muricatum

Also known as

Pepino Melon, Sweet Cucumber, Peruvian Pepino

Solanum muricatum (3) by Philipp Weigell (CC BY 3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Tender

H5-H1c

RHS hardiness

-15°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1.2m

Max

1.5m

80cm

Min

80cm

5 years to reach maturity

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Fast-growing species bears fruit within 4-6 months after planting. The fruit should be harvested just before it is fully ripe. Store for several weeks at room temperature to allow after-ripening. A ripe pepino dulce, has characteristic purple striping on the fruit.

More images of Melon Pear

A photo of Melon Pear
Two cream and purple striped Solanum muricatum fruits on a plant with green leaves
A photo of Melon Pear
A photo of Melon Pear
A photo of Melon Pear

Melon Pear Overview

Solanum muricatum is a frost tender, evergreen shrub species in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. It is also known by the names sweet cucumber, melon pear and Pepino melon after its fruits. Typically it grows to around 1m tall and wide, with a spreading habit. This species can make a good groundcover plant, best placed growing up a trellis, wall or fence in a sunny position. However, it has an upright habit and may be grown as a freestanding bush. Although it is a perennial shrub species, it's frequently grown as an annual crop plant. For optimal fruiting, support like a creeper to keep the fruit off the ground. Flowers occur from summer through to autumn, with seeds ripening late summer to early autumn. The flowers are attractive, coloured purple and white, but they are grown mainly for the sweet fruits, which resemble honeydew melon and cucumber in taste and texture. They are round, cream in colour with purple streaks and have a melon-like texture. The fruit is more often seen in local markets, as they are difficult to handle and don't transport well. These are found commonly in locations such as in Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Chile, but it's certainly worth growing yourself! Attempts to produce commercial cultivars and to export the fruit have been made in New Zealand, Turkey, Mauritius and Chile. Note seeds are rarely produced in the UK.

Common problems with Melon Pear

Pests and diseases are similar to those attacking tomatoes. Be careful not to water the foliage.

Melon Pear Companion Plants

How to propagate Melon Pear

Seed

Seed in pots of good draining compost, just covering the seed, in late Winter early Autumn. Germination usually takes 7-10 days.

Cuttings

7-15 cm stem cuttings, leaving 4 or 5 leaves at the top of the stem.

Special features of Melon Pear

Crop rotation

Medium Feeder

Pot plant

Grows well in a sizable container.

Attractive flowers

Other uses of Melon Pear

Edible

Fruits, matures 30 to 80 days after pollination.

Edible shrubs

Explore all