How to Grow Strawberry Trees: Plant Care Do's & Don'ts

What is a Strawberry Tree? 

Muntingia calabura, also known as Strawberry Tree or Jamaican Cherry, is a small fast growing tropical fruit tree or shrub with small white flowers that resemble those of a strawberry plant, and produces tons of red bite-size edible berries that resemble cherries and ripen quickly. Strawberry Tree fruit will surprise you with it's fantastic cotton candy flavor with a hint of buttered popcorn. It’s fruit is loved by birds and squirrels, but don't worry, since it produces almost all year long there’s enough fruit for everyone to enjoy abundantly. 

How to eat Strawberry Tree Fruit

DID YOU KNOW? You can infuse the leaves on the Strawberry Tree to make a tea-like beverage! Even the flowers are said to possess antiseptic properties. If you infuse the flowers it’s believed to relieve headache and the first symptoms of a cold. 

History of the Strawberry Tree

The plant has its roots in Central and South America with its native range stretching all the way from Southern Mexico through the Caribbean and south to Peru. It is easy to grow and thrives with little care. You will not find this rare fruit at market even in its native range due to short shelf life so picking it off the tree and eating it fresh is a must if you want to experience the exotic flavor. 

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How to Grow Strawberry Trees

(break down do's and don'ts in subsections)

Light Requirements for Strawberry Trees

Soil and Moisture Requirements for Strawberry Trees

Growing Strawberry Tree's Outdoors

Growing Strawberry Tree's in Containers

Don’t: Grow this tropical fruit tree in the shade. It needs as much sun as possible (southern exposure is best). It prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Do: Whether you’re growing growing indoors, outdoors or in a container, it needs to be periodically pruned or headed back to maintain size. 

Do: If growing indoors, maintain temperatures above 60 degrees as this encourages constant flowering. Cooler temperatures will hinder flowering and fruiting.

Do: Keep in moist environments. 

Don’t: Worry about soil type! Strawberry Tree grows well in just about any soil condition, from acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy to clay soils. Just make sure it is well-draining!

Don’t: Over water. It’s important to bring the soil to a state of visual dryness between watering. Root disease can be a problem in containers during cool, damp conditions in the winter months.

Do: Saturate the soil until a little water runs out of the bottom of the pot. Pro-tip: If you decide to grow in a container, use a clay pot to help ensure a healthy root system.

Don’t: Restrict the size of the planter for too long, as it’s a fast growing tree and the roots will fill out quickly. 

Do: Fertilize once a month. (Shop our favorite organic fertilizer!

Do: Harvest often, especially in the warmer months as the fruit can ripen within a day. During the warmer months we recommend making a daily visit to your tree. It’s important to know the heaviest season for fruit production is the Fall. 

Don’t: Worry about the shedding of leaves and flowers. Since it’s a fast and vigorous grower, this is a natural and normal process that doesn’t indicate that the plant is unhealthy or dying.  

Do: Grow outdoors in USDA Zone 9+ with frost protection during the first 3 years.  If you’re growing on a patio, Zones 4+.

DID YOU KNOW? In Brazil, and many other countries in Central and South America, farmers and plant enthusiasts grow this tree on river banks so the abundance of flowers and fruits falling into the water will serve as bait, attracting fish and river wildlife that will benefit of fishermen.  Fun Fact: We once had a rooster at our farm that spent his time hanging out under our Strawberry Trees, jumping up to pluck fruit from the low hanging branches.  

Conclusion: Why you should grow Strawberry Tree

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