Expert Tips for Growing a Strawberry Tree

Expert Tips for Growing a Strawberry Tree

You may have heard other Florida gardeners mention the increasingly popular strawberry tree, which might sound a bit confusing at first. But don’t worry, despite its name, this tree doesn’t actually grow strawberries. Instead, it produces tasty red berries and cute white flowers that resemble strawberry plants, hence the nickname. If you’re looking for a fast-growing, fruit-bearing tree with incredible health benefits, then growing a strawberry tree is the perfect project. Plus, the berries taste incredible, like a cross between caramel and cotton candy.

To avoid confusion, make sure you choose the strawberry tree with the Latin name Muntingia Calabura. There’s another plant called the Arbutus Unedo, also nicknamed the strawberry tree, but that’s a totally different plant.

The Benefits of Growing a Strawberry Tree

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Though they may taste like candy, strawberry tree berries have all the health benefits of a superfood. They’re packed with Vitamin C and loaded with antioxidants that protect your cells against damage, supercharge your immune system, and reduce the severity of illnesses. The Jamaican cherry also possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a great health supplement, especially during cold and flu seasons.

Planting a Strawberry Tree

You can plant strawberry tree seeds directly in the soil or sprout them using a folded piece of moist paper towel. These trees are tolerant of a range of soil acidity levels, so a pH between 5.5 and 8.5 should suffice. Choose a spot with ample sunlight, although partial shade is also acceptable. Ensure the tree is about 25 feet away from any other large trees, unless you plan on regularly pruning it to maintain a compact size.

Strawberry trees are drought-tolerant and do not thrive in areas with excessive moisture. So, before planting, loosen up the soil to improve drainage. Additionally, mix in some compost to provide a steady source of nutrients during the tree’s early stages.

Caring for Strawberry Trees

Once your tree is well-established, water it once or twice per week, increasing frequency during heatwaves with temperatures consistently over 95°F. Regularly apply compost as a mulch, spreading it thickly a few feet around the base, taking care not to mound it up near the trunk.

If your soil tends to be moist, you may notice the tree producing suckers. These suckers will not transplant successfully and will deplete resources, so it’s best to remove them promptly.

After about two years, your strawberry tree will begin bearing fruit. The berries are delicious when eaten raw, but they can also be used in jams and other recipes. Keep in mind that strawberry trees produce fruit all year long in small amounts, rather than one large harvest per season. If you can’t get enough of these berries, consider planting additional trees to maximize your harvest.

The fruits take approximately 6-8 weeks to mature, and they’re ready to be picked when their skin turns bright red. They do not ripen further once picked and have a short shelf life, so it’s best to use them immediately or freeze them for later use. Local wildlife also loves these berries, so be sure to gather them before the critters do!

Expert Tips for Growing a Strawberry Tree

With our humid weather and hot sun, the strawberry tree thrives in Fort Lauderdale. It’s a relatively easy tree to grow, and you won’t have to worry about cleaning up a large mess of fallen fruit since the tree doesn’t produce a lot at once. If you’re interested in starting your own strawberry tree garden, visit Tips Tree Planting for all the necessary supplies and expert advice on tree care.

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