Where Do Most Macadamia Nuts Come From?
Today, Australia leads the world in commercial macadamia production followed by:
- South Africa
- Central America
- New Zealand
- Coastal California
- Central and south Florida
USDA Hardiness Zones
In the U.S., macadamia trees grow in the parts of USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 that meet their climate requirements. Elsewhere, container growing is an option as long as you have a sunny indoor location for overwintering a sizeable tree.
How Macadamia Nuts Grow
- The exocarp, or fibrous outer husk .
- The mesocarp, or pulpy flesh.
- The endocarp, or hard shell protecting the nut.
How Macadamia Drupes Develop
From mid-winter to early spring, a mature macadamia tree bursts into bloom with cascades of sweetly scented flowers. After being pollinated by bees or wind, each bloom cluster typically yields from one to 20 drupes. By harvest time, the drupes’ green outer husks have split along one side to release hard-shelled inner nuts. The nuts drop from the trees as they ripen.
In the Northern Hemisphere, most macadamia nuts ripen between between late fall and early spring, depending on location and tree cultivar. Because nuts on the same tree mature at different rates, completing a harvest may take from six to 12 weeks.
Macadamias for Home Gardens
Two tree species — Macadamia integrefolia and Macadamia tetraphylla — account for all commercially grown macadamia cultivars. Two cultivars stand out as home garden choices:
- ‘Beaumont’ puts on a late-winter show with glossy, coppery-pink leaves and pale-pink flower clusters. Standing 15 to 20 feet tall with an upright, rounded canopy, it features a lengthy harvest of very large nuts.
- ‘Vista’ is a pyramidal, medium-sized tree prized for nuts with shells thin enough to succumb to an ordinary nutcracker. Even better, it yields a harvestable crop in just three years.
By their 10th harvests, most macadamia trees yield from 30 to 60 pounds of nuts per harvest. That rises gradually as they age — and many produce for a century or more!