The Barbados Cherry plant produces delicious cherries, which are rich in vitamin C. Native to the West Indies, Malpighia punicifolia grows well indoors, though its size makes it a good choice as a floor plant.
Barbados Cherry Appearance
The Barbados Cherry plant is a large, bushy shrub or tree that grows to a height of 12 feet (3.6 meters). The leaves are thick and bright green in color. The Barbados Cherry tree typically blooms from spring to fall, though it may produce flowers year round in warmer climates. The flowers are small with a pinkish-lavender color. Once the blooms die off the fruit forms in its place. The cherries begin as yellow, turning bright red once ripe.
Barbados Cherries Sunlight Needs
Provide bright, indirect sunlight from an East or West-facing window. A place in a well-lit room with all-day light also works well. Avoid full sun from a South-facing window as the light intensity will scorch the foliage.
Watering Your Barbados Cherry Tree
Water your Barbados Cherries when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil feels dry when a finger is inserted. Water thoroughly until the moisture runs through the pot’s drainage holes. Avoid letting the soil become soggy as this encourages root rot. Placing a layer of organic mulch on the soil’s surface helps retain soil moisture.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
Grow your cherry plant in a rich, well-draining soil. A potting soil with added organic matter, such as compost, for nutrients. During the growing season, use a 8-3-9 NPK fertilizer to encourage fruit production. Feed the plant once in spring and again in the summer.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
Average household temperatures are fine for the Barbados Cherry plant. The plant is not frost tolerant, so avoid temperatures below 25 F (5 C). If moving the plant outside for the summer, place the tree in a spot that receives dappled sunlight. Average humidity levels of around 40 percent are adequate.
Harvesting Barbados Cherries
Pick the cherries once they have turned from yellow to a bright-red color. Ensure you pick the fruit before it falls off the tree as by then the fruit is past its peak flavor. The cherries will keep for 3 to 4 days after they are picked.
Propagating A Barbados Cherry Tree
Snip a healthy cutting 4 to 6 inches long with at least one leaf node. Coat the cut end in rooting hormone and plant the stem in a pot filled with potting soil. Place the pot in a warm place with bright, indirect sunlight and keep the soil moist.
Common Pests and Diseases
Aphids, whiteflies, and scale are common pests that infest the Barbados Cherry plant . These insects are visible on the leaves and stems of infested plants. Also present will be sticky honeydew, which the insects excrete after feeding on the plant. Rinse the plant thoroughly with a spray nozzle or in the shower to remove the insects without the use of chemicals. For stubborn infestations, use neem oil to treat the entire plant.
Root rot nematode, leaf spot, and powdery mildew are diseases that often affect the Barbados Cherry tree. Root rot is caused by overwatering and poor-draining soil. Leaf spot and powdery mildew are caused by high humidity or prolonged water on the leaves. Correct the underlying issues and remove any affected foliage or mushy roots. Repotting in new soil is also advised as fungus often infects the soil and will continue to attack the plant.
The Barbados Cherry plant makes a wonderful statement plant in your home and provides you with delicious fruit. The plant has straightforward care needs and thrives both inside and outdoors in the appropriate climates.
Barbados Cherry FAQ
No, the Barbados Cherry is not considered toxic to pets.
The tree will grow outdoors in USDA zones 9 to 11.
The cherries are high in both antioxidants and vitamin C.
Repot your plant when the roots begin to grow out of the pot’s drainage holes. Increase the pot’s size to the next standard. Increasing the pot’s size by a significant amount may encourage overwatering.
Use the cherries in jellies, desserts, beverages, and sauces.