Of all the botanical wonders to come out of Chile the Chilean Hazelnut is likely our favorite. Worth growing for its tasty nuts alone, the Chilean Hazelnut also features beautifully textured evergreen leaves that are so stunning they are often used in flower arrangements along with the beautiful and fragrant Proteaceous flowers that are a favorite nectar source for bees. The nut is highly valued in Chile where it is collected and sold at fresh markets and is very much like a macadamia nut for cooler climates, both coming from the Proteaceae family and being very high in oils and protein.
And speaking of the Proteaceae family, this is part of the reason why the Chilean Hazelnut is not more common. Plants in the Proteaceae family are native to the Southern Hemisphere where they are adapted to very old nutrient poor soils. They even have special root structures adapted to thriving in such conditions but they are very difficult to grow in container culture, dislike root disturbance, and are incredibly finicky about climate and soil requirements. If it gets too hot they can die, if it gets too cold over winter they can die, if the cold comes too fast in the fall they sometimes suffer tip dieback. If you give them any phosphorous at all they will be very upset. Still willing to give them a try? So are we!
Not well suited to incredibly hot climates or areas where winters regularly get below 10 F. This one might be exclusive to coastal areas of the west coast, though we have had success with them here in Portland, OR. Pacific Northwest Coast, Bay Area and Northern California fog belt gardeners, this is one is for you! Heavy mulch and ground covers are recommended to keep the soil cool in summer and a sheltered spot with dappled shade to mimic a woodland edge is recommended. Do NOT fertilize with anything besides Cottonseed Meal, Alfalfa Meal, or Feather Meal. Sometimes the best ones aren’t easy.
Latin Name: Gevuina avellana
Site and Soil: Chilean Hazels prefer dappled shade. A forests edge or similar sunlight condition is ideal. Soil conditions should not be enriched as they prefer a nutrient poor mineral soil with NO added fertilizers.
Pollination Requirements: Generally thought to be self-fertile but often sets heavier crops with another Gevuina planted nearby
Hardiness: Chilean Hazelnut is hardy to approx. 5° F or lower when established
Bearing Age: 5-7 years after planting.
Size at Maturity: 15-45 ft. in height
Bloom Time: June
Ripening Time: October
Pests & Diseases: Chilean Hazelnut is not bothered by pests and diseases.
USDA Zone: 8