Great and tasty pistachios may be grown in your garden, but there is a catch
Pistachio nuts are very tasty and very expensive, and if you are looking for unroasted and unsalted pistachios (to bake Christmas cookies for example), you may have a real problem. Shops already offer unsalted, salted and roasted pistachios, but getting natural pistachios is still difficult and you never know what quality you get. So, how about growing your own pistachios?
Pistachios grow on a shrub known as pistacia, which comes from the Middle East, but may also be grown it in Central Europe. This plant most often grows at an altitude between 600 to 1800 meters above sea level. Because its roots grow to a great depth – up to five meters, it can even grow in rocky places of the Afghan mountains.
Pistachios in Central Europe
So, is it possible to grow this plant in our climatic conditions? Frost will not kill this tree, so the answer is yes. Pistacia can grow in your garden, but there is the one catch we have mentioned. Pistachio nuts will not ripen . If you want to actually enjoy your harvest you need to get a male and female shrub. The male variety will pollinate the female, which then produces nuts. But the hardest thing is to know whether you have male or female, because you cannot tell until six or eight years later (at the time of first flowering) and that is a long time to wait.
If you want to grow pistacia, choose a soil that is not too wet or acidic. Other than that you do not need to do any special soil preparations. The shrub is not picky. Bred pistachios can withstand frosts down to -10 °C (but lower temperatures could damage it). But what pistachios need is enough light. Unfortunately, our growing season is too short, so the fruits will not fully ripen. But if you try growing pistachios in a flowerpot or greenhouse you can extend the growing season and who knows, maybe you can even harvest you own pistachios!
Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.