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Barbados Cherry Information – What Are Barbados Cherries

Barbados Cherry Information – What Are Barbados Cherries


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By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What are Barbados cherries? The Barbados cherry (Malpighia punicifolia) is known by anumber of names, including acerola tree, garden cherry, West Indies cherry,Spanish cherry, fresh cherry and several others. Barbados cherry is native tothe West Indies, but has naturalized as far as southern Texas. It is suitablefor growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 9b through 11. Read on for moreBarbados cherry information, and learn how to grow Barbados cherry in yourgarden.

About the Acerola Tree

Barbados cherry, or acerola, is a large, bushy shrub orsmall tree that reaches mature heights of about 12 feet (3.5 m.). Thisattractive shrub produces thick, bright green leaves. Small, pinkish-lavenderflowers bloom from spring to fall, and may pop up year round in warmer climates– usually after irrigation or a rainfall.

Acerola tree blooms are followed by shiny, bright red fruitshaped much like miniature apples or tiny cherries. Due to its high ascorbicacid content, the tart, delicious fruit is often used to manufacture vitamin Ctablets.

Tips on Growing Barbados Cherries

Getting Barbados cherry seeds to germinate can be difficult.Purchase a small tree if possible, as germination, if it occurs at all, cantake at least six to 12 months.

Once established, growing Barbados cherry is relativelyeasy. Locate the shrub/tree in partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Young Barbados cherry trees need regular water, but mature plantsare quite drought tolerant.

Fertilize Barbados cherry trees twice a year for the firstfour years, then cut back on feeding as the they mature.

Harvest Barbados cherries when the fruit is fully ripe. Weargloves, though, because the fuzz on the stems and leaves can irritate the skin,especially when the tree is young.

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How to Propagate Barbados Cherry

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The Barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra) is a perennial shrub also known as acerola, Manzanita, wild crepe myrtle and several other common names. It reaches a height of around 8 feet, depending on conditions, and is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 and 9. Its pink blossoms develop into red fruit called acerola cherries that are edible and high in vitamin C. The Barbados cherry's blossoms attract butterflies, and its fruit attracts birds and other animals. It grows best in partial shade and well-draining soil. The Barbados cherry roots readily from stem cuttings or by air layering.


The best time of year for pruning Barbados cherries is early in the fall, once fruiting has finished. Heavy pruning allows the plant to produce new growth that hardens off enough before chilly winter temperatures. After pruning, fertilize the plant to encourage new growth, especially if you have a mature Barbados cherry.

If you wait until the end of the fall to prune your Barbados cherry, your plant could suffer when winter sets in. If you prune it too late, it will sprout tender, new branches, which will be more susceptible to cold weather. If you forget to prune your Barbados cherry early in the fall, wait until spring.


Description

Common Name Barbados cherry, West Indian cherry and wild crepe myrtle, Acerola.
Maximum Reachable Height Up to 2-3 meter
Flower Colour Pink
Bloom Time April-October
Difficulty Level Easy

Planting And Care

Refer to our Beginners garden guide for detailed procedures and meanings of words related to gardening.

Morning sunlight of more than 6 hours a day is ideal for flowering and fruit development.

SoilThe soil should be well-drained, fertile, and rich in organic content for growing the Barbados Cherry plant.

WateringPoke your finger/plain small stick into the soil to check the moisture.

Apply 4 cups (approx.200ml) of water when the topsoil (1-2 inches) in the pot feels dry to touch.

Do not overwater the plant.

As a rule of thumb, water the plants thoroughly in summer and reduce watering in the winter and rainy seasons.

Water should be applied preferably in the morning or evening.

Application of FertilizerBefore application of fertilizer loosen the topsoil without disturbing the roots of the plant, it can uptake the nutrients and moisture easily.

Apply organic fertilizer once a month during the main growing season (February-May)

Apply water immediately after application of fertilizer.

Plant ProtectionRemove dead, infected, or damaged plant parts and discard them away from the plants.

For any insect attack or disease, you can use Neem oil, Eucalyptus oil, or Citrus oil spray for primary treatment.

Don’t Do overwater the plant especially when the pot doesn’t have a drainage hole.

Avoid applying water on hot afternoons. It may cause fungus infection.

Barbados Cherry Tree Care

Initial care for 1-2 weeks after receiving plant at your location:

Poke your finger/plain small stick into the soil to check the moisture.

Apply 4 cups (approx.200ml) of water when the topsoil (1-2 inches) in the pot feels dry to touch.

Keep the plant in indirect bright light.

Do not re-pot for min. 2 weeks after receiving it.

Key requirements to keep the plant healthy:

Sunlight Natural bright light with morning sunlight(more than 6 hours)
Watering Apply 4 cups (approx.200ml) of water when the topsoil (1-2 inch) in the pot feels dry to touch
Soil Well-drained, fertile, and rich in organic content
Temperature 15-30 Degree Celsius
Fertilizer Apply organic fertilizer once a month during the main growing season (February-May)
Harvest Season After 1 month from flowering(June – July)

Barbados Cherry Tree Special Feature

Drought tolerant and highest vitamin C content

Barbados Cherry Tree Uses

  • The plant is used for an ornamental hedge purpose

  • Barbados Cherry is most well-known for being extremely rich in vitamin C
  • Because of this, it’s often used to help with or prevent colds or flu
  • It’s also used as an antioxidant nutrient
  • Note: The following information is general guidelines, be sure to ask your healthcare provider for guidelines

  • The ripe fruit is edible and widely consumed in the native area and is cultivated elsewhere for its high vitamin C content
  • The fruit can be used to make juices and pulps, vitamin C concentrate, and baby food, among other things


How to Transplant Cherry Trees

Cherry trees are a fruit-producing tree variety that grows in most soil types as long as it is well-draining and supplemental water is provided during dry periods. Cherry trees should be transplanted early in the spring season to give the tree the entire growing season to establish the root system. Transplanting a currently growing tree requires digging as much of the root ball from the ground as possible. A cherry tree that is less than 2 feet in height is easier to remove from the ground and has a better chance of survival in the new location than a larger tree.

Water the cherry tree one to two days prior to digging it up for transplanting. Soak the soil to a depth of several inches to plump and strengthen the root system.

Measure the height of the tree. Dig a hole that is as deep as the tree is high and that is twice as wide as it is high. This will include a large majority of the roots. Dig the tree from the ground, making sure to remove as much of the root ball as possible. Plant the tree in the new location immediately to prevent drying and damage to the root system.

  • Cherry trees are a fruit-producing tree variety that grows in most soil types as long as it is well-draining and supplemental water is provided during dry periods.
  • Dig the tree from the ground, making sure to remove as much of the root ball as possible.

Dig a hole in the new planting location that is slightly deeper and wider than the root ball. Add several inches of organic compost to the bottom of the hole and place the root ball on top. Make sure the top of the root ball is not below the soil line.

Pour a bucket of water into the hole to keep the roots moist. Make sure that the tree is standing straight and gently add soil to the hole. Lightly pack the soil in place to remove air pockets around the root ball.

Water the transplanted cherry tree generously after planting. Continue to water the tree with 1 to 2 inches of water per week during the first growing season.

  • Dig a hole in the new planting location that is slightly deeper and wider than the root ball.
  • Make sure the top of the root ball is not below the soil line.

Stake the cherry tree to provide additional support if the planting location is windy.

Apply a 4-inch layer of mulch around the cherry tree several weeks after planting. This will increase the moisture retention around the roots and reduce weed growth.

Note the direction the tree is facing at the current growing location and plant it in the new location facing the same direction.


Watch the video: One Barbados cherry and one black Surinam cherry


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