Planting a Jaboticaba? Here’s what you need to know before doing so.

The Jaboticaba is a fruit unlike no other, purple, sweet, tangy taste with a softcore. If you are gardening in Florida and are obsessed with tropical fruit, the Jaboticaba tree is a tree you need in your garden.

There are many things to know before you consider ordering your very own Jaboticaba or decide to visit your local nursery, such as knowing the varieties of which Jaboticaba there are as well as how to plant and care for one.

Here are important things to know on how to plant and care for a jaboticaba tree.

Recommended Products At Amazon For Growing Jaboticabas (Plinia cauliflora)

How to plant a jaboticaba tree
Jaboticaba fruits at different ripening stages.

How to Plant a Jaboticaba tree

  1. Dig a hole about twice the size of the jaboticaba tree in the ground
  2. Fill the hole with an acidic organic material such as Sphagnum peat moss and mix it with the native soil. You may also use premium soil such as Pro-Mix HP with the native soil. Jaboticaba roots are sensitive, and roots do not like alkaline soils.
  3. Plant the jaboticaba tree with the trunk slightly above the soil level by about 1 inch.
  4. Fill back in the hole with more peat moss or Pro Mix, as well as some premium amendments such as worm castings.
  5. Add a cup of Organic Hollytone Espoma 4-3-4 around the base of the trunk.
  6. Water in the jaboticaba tree thoroughly as it will be in transplant shock and need water to help it establish.

Jaboticaba Care Guide (Plinia cauliflora)

  • Common names: Jabuticaba, Jaboticaba, Tree grape
  • Scientific name: Plinia cauliflora
  • Months of Jaboticaba fruit harvest: Up to five times per year, January – October
  • Sun requirements for Jaboticaba: Partial shade to full sunlight
  • Water requirements for Jaboticaba: Water twice weekly while ensuring the roots are thoroughly soaked.
  • Soil requirements for Jaboticaba: Jaboticaba roots need an acidic soil with a PH between 4.0 to 6.5 to thrive optimally.
  • Fertilization schedule for Jaboticaba: Jaboticabas can be fertilized two to four times per year with organic fertilizers such as Holly tone or worm castings
  • Jaboticaba Pests: Jaboticabas pests include aphids and whiteflies. Birds may go after the fruit.
  • Jaboticaba diseases: Leaf tip burn, Yellow leaves, Jaboticaba tree decline.
Jaboticaba fruit ripe in hand
Ripe Jaboticaba fruits are freshly picked.

How to care for a Jaboticaba tree

Jaboticaba trees need a lot of water as they are water-loving fruit trees. The trees, to be able to produce fruit, need to be supplemented with nutrition. One is Holly tone by Espoma – an organic fertilizer explicitly made for acidic-loving plants like the Jaboticaba.

The Jaboticaba will produce fruits 1-4 times per year and sometimes, even more, depending on the water, sunlight, and nutrients.

To maximize fruit production on the jaboticaba tree, add mulch, fertilize, and water abundantly.

The jaboticaba tree also benefits from monthly nutritional foliar sprays greatly.

Jaboticabas can thrive in full sun to part shade environments and still fruit even in shaded areas. In its native habitat of Brazil, it is said that jaboticabas have evolved under the forest canopies, so it’s able to thrive in part-shade.

How to Plant Jaboticaba seeds

Jaboticaba seeds need to be planted fresh almost immediately; if left to dry out, they will become unviable.

When planting jaboticaba seeds, it is ok if the flesh is still on them when planted. The jaboticaba seeds will still germinate with some pulp still attached to the bases.

It is crucial to store jaboticaba seeds with a small amount of moisture in the bag. Be careful not to add too much water, as this may rot the seeds.

Plant the jaboticaba seeds in a regular potting mix. It is essential to keep the soil at a temperature from 65 °F to 90 °F.

The soil should be kept moist and not be too saturated as this may cause rot on the jaboticaba seeds.

Jaboticaba seeds will begin to germinate in as little as three to twelve weeks, depending on the freshness of the seeds as well as growing conditions.

If your jaboticaba seeds do not sprout within six months, the seeds may have died.

Most vendors will send seeds already germinating if you are ordering Jaboticaba seeds online. So all you have to do is put them in the soil and allow the roots to establish.

Jaboticaba flowers with unripe fruit in the background
Jaboticaba flowers with unripe fruits.

The Jaboticaba Is A Slow Grower

If you are considering having a Jaboticaba in your garden, consider keeping it for the long haul.

Jaboticabas are very slow-growing trees, it usually takes 5-8 years from seed to fruit, and during the year, the Jaboticaba tree might not make much of a change in appearance while growing its roots below.

If slow growth differs from what you had in mind, you can always purchase an already fruiting Jaboticaba to save you years of waiting.

You can speed up the growth of your jaboticaba tree by providing it with proper nutrients, water, sunlight, and care.

The Jaboticaba Grows Great In Partly-Shaded Areas

Location is crucial when it comes to planting your Jaboticaba – of course, if you are like most gardeners, you would think that the sun is excellent for fruiting trees. 

Jaboticabas can do great under canopy situations or in part-shaded areas. The trees would thrive in full sun areas as well, but if you need more space in your garden to receive the full sun – don’t feel bad putting it in a dappled light setting; they will do just fine.

A video from Pete Kanaris GreenDreamsFL shows how the Jaboticabas grow under a shaded light situation.

Some gardeners have reported that Jaboticabas grow faster in the shade than those planted in the sun.

When Should I Add Fertilizer To My Jaboticaba?

Jaboticabas should be fertilized immediately after planting in the ground or as early as six months from seed.

An organic fertilizer that Jaboitcabas love which I highly recommend, is Espoma Organic Holly-tone 4-3-4 Natural & Organic, which is organic jaboticaba fertilizer that the tree loves because of its acidity.

Jaboticabas don’t like nitrogen very much in their fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are recommended for the Jaboticaba tree as they have sensitive roots. Synthetic or slow-release fertilizers may cause leaf burn on your jaboticaba tree if misapplied.

Jaboticaba canopy with trunk
Jaboticaba tree trunk with canopy.

How Do I Tell If My Jaboticaba Is Healthy?

The best way to tell if your Jaboticaba is healthy and happy is to check if the bark is peeling. The jaboticaba bark peeling is an excellent indicator that your Jaboticaba is thriving. 

Also, another way to tell if your Jaboticaba is doing great is by looking out for new growth and flower buds on your tree.

The bark peels off the Jaboticaba to make room for new flower buds growing from the fresh bark.

Is the Jaboticaba Cold-Resitant?

Yes, The Jaboticaba can take cold temperatures as low as the 20s in Florida, making it an excellent fruit tree to grow in Central and South Florida and even North Florida.

What Types Of Soils Do Jaboticabas Prefer?

Jaboticabas prefer well-drained soils with a slightly acidic pH. The trees don’t tend to like alkaline soils. 

Before you plant a Jaboticaba in Florida, it is highly recommended to test your soil with a pH reader.

When planting a Jaboticaba tree in Florida, we recommend filling your hole in the ground with Spahmum peat-moss first, or a premium in-ground soil such as PromixHP, as the Jaboticaba roots prefer to be planted in something other than straight sandy soils.

How Do I Prune My Jaboticaba?

Pruning your Jaboticaba can be optional, depending on the shape you would like your tree to be shaped.

In the world of Jaboticaba, it is not a common practice to prune the tree as you would other fruit trees.

Since the Jaboticaba is a slow grower, gardeners tend to perform a light prune to the Jaboticaba to allow more sunlight to penetrate the bark to stimulate more flowers & fruit. The bark is often covered by the Jaboticaba’s natural branching growth habit.

Should I Prune my Jaboticaba?

Pruning your jaboticaba tree is optional. Consider pruning your Jaboticaba if you are having trouble fruiting your tree or if your tree needs to receive more light on its bark. 

Since pruning is done so rarely and little on the Jaboticaba, considering how long it takes to grow, it is recommended to only prune your Jaboticaba if it needs it.

How much should I water my Jaboticaba tree?

Jaboticaba trees LOVE water, in-fact it is tough to overwater this tree. 

Since the tree originated in the rainforests of Brazil, the tree naturally is used to receiving heavy amounts of rainfall. 

In Florida, your tree will thrive off the heat and rainfalls we have – but the tree still is going to be needed to be watered regularly to maintain proper health.

Tip: Consider planting your Jaboticaba in a part of your yard that would typically stay flooded after heavy rain, as those spots are where a Jaboticaba would love, as it prefers wet areas.

Should I plant my Jaboticaba or leave it in the pot?

Jaboticaba is an excellent pot culture plant if you choose not to plant it directly in the ground.

Many gardeners claim that they have been able to maintain a healthier, richer fruiting Jaboticaba when in the pot.

You should consider growing your Jaboticaba in a pot if you live in certain areas where it might get too cold or if you need the healthiest of soils or enough room in the ground to grow Jabtoicaba successfully.

Beautiful jaboticaba tree growing in a pot
The Jaboticaba tree grows in a pot nicely.

Which Jaboticaba fruits the fastest?

There are several varieties of Jaboticaba (Plinia cauliflora), but some are known to fruit faster than others.

Below are cultivars of Jaboticaba (Plinia cauliflora) that are known to fruit fast from seed

  • ‘Red’ Jaboticaba – Known to fruit within 3-5 years from seed
  •  ‘Escarlet’ or ‘Scarlet’ Jaboticaba – Known to fruit as little as 2-3 years from seed
  •  ‘Grimal’ Jaboticaba – Known to fruit five years from seed

Frequently Asked Questions about Jaboticaba trees.

Q: Are Jaboticaba trees easy to grow?

Yes, Jaboticaba trees are on the more easy side to grow once established. Jaboticaba trees require consistent watering for abundant fruit production.

Q: Which Jaboticaba variety grows and fruits the fastest?

The variety of Jaboticaba that fruits the fastest are ‘Red’ and ‘Scarlet’ Jaboticaba. These varieties are known to fruit as early as 2-3 years of age.

Q: How much do Jaboticaba trees cost?

Jaboticaba trees can range anywhere from $15.00 to $1000 and more, depending on the tree’s variety, size, and condition. Collectors breed some Jaboticabas, and within this fruit family, many vendors are selling one-of-a-kind rare jaboticabas varieties that can cost thousands of dollars on eBay or fruit forums.

Q: How much do Jaboticaba fruits cost?

Depending on where you live, Jaboticaba can be reasonably cheap to purchase. In Florida, some vendors sell Jaboitcaba as cheap as 5.00$ the pint, but in California, that price could be triple from other vendors. In Hawaii or Brazil, where Jaboticaba is abundant, the price for Jaboticaba fruit is even more affordable per pound.

Q: What do Jaboticaba fruits taste like?

Jaboticaba fruits taste like a combination of a muscadine grape mixed with a bit of tartness followed by sweetness. The sweet part is in the pulp inside the jaboticaba skin. The skin is sourer.

Q: Are Jaboticaba seeds edible?

Yes, Jaboticaba seeds are edible, and the fruit may be consumed whole. Some people prefer to pop the Jaboticaba in their mouth and suck the pulp out and spit out the seeds and skin. Eating the skin and seeds of the Jaboticaba provide many health benefits but tastes sour.

Q: What are the Jaboticaba varieties?

Jaboticaba trees come in expansive varieties such as ‘Red,’ ‘Escarlet’ or ‘Scarlet,’ ‘ESALQ,’ ‘Sabara,’ and ‘Grimal.’ There are hundreds more varieties, and many can be purchased online.

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