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Capers in the PNW?

Posted by nancyanne_2010 Z 8 / WA (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 17, 10 at 20:13

Wondering if anyone else is growing capers (Capparis spinosa) in the PNW ?

Do you bring them inside or can they winter outside? If outside - do they need protection? I read that they will survive where olives can be grown although some olives are hardy to zone 8 while others are not so hardy.

I know the buds are normally what are harvested and pickled although do you personally harvest the buds or let it flower and harvest the berries? I think if I get flowers this year that I will allow mine to flower and harvest the berries for the seeds.

I bought my capers bush a couple months ago and would like more information so I can plan ahead for winter.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Capers in the PNW?

not growing it, but you got me interested in trying. seems like a fun experiment. my guess is that you will have to have or create an area of EXCELLENT drainage. did you see that gardenweb post from the person in lebanon? temperature lows may not be a problem, but moisture and low highs might.

but to summarize what i read on teh interwebs:

buy seeds from multiple sources. some seem to have low germination.

plant on a sunny rocky sandy hill in the spring.


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RE: Capers in the PNW?

I have one large plant (purchased), one new seedling, and more seeds just started. I plan on taking cuttings from the larger plant.

Mine are all container grown and I can place them under cover so they don't get too wet. I know there are growers in california (including commercial growers) although I know the sun intensity is much higher there. I can bring them inside during the winter (under lights) if necessary.

So far the large plant and seedling are doing well. They are pretty plants and well worth trying.


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RE: Capers in the PNW?

where did you buy your plant?


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RE: Capers in the PNW?

I bought mine from http://www.willowcreekgardens.com/ in California --- had to wait a couple months until they got it back in stock. Just checked and it doesn't look like they have any now.

If all the cuttings root when I take them, I'm open to a trade.


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RE: Capers in the PNW?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 19, 10 at 2:24

Last year or earlier there were flowering specimens in local garden centers. This year a friend found one around here somewhere, I think (he also orders things like this through the mail and tries them in his Seattle garden).


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RE: Capers in the PNW?

Has your friends capers survived outside?


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RE: Capers in the PNW?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 20, 10 at 2:17

He just bought it recently. If you have the 2007 Sunset WESTERN GARDEN BOOK plant is in there, they zone it Sunset 8 - I would plant it against a sunny south wall if I were trying it.


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RE: Capers in the PNW?

Has anyone tried the idea of using nasturtium pods for pickling as "pseudo" capers?


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RE: Capers in the PNW?

I grow nasturtiums too. The purpose of growing capers is because it is an uncommon plant in this area - and the flowers are very nice. I'm also growing cinnamon, cloves, carob, cocoa, black pepper, cardamom, vanilla, macadamias, etc. (after all, al gore promised we would be in zone 10 by now :-D )

I'm not even especially fond of capers --- although I may like them more when I try them brined and packed in salt without vinegar (I don't like vinegar / sour products)

My caper bush is now 2/3 the size it was this morning (hopefully the cuttings will root quickly)


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RE: Capers in the PNW?

I saw capers growing wild when I was in Greece. Apparently they like gravel and a long, hot grownig season.

Have you considered growing Nasturtiums and pickeling the seeds while they are still green? A bit larger than capers, but quite similar in taste.


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