Jaboticaba is the Brazilian term for four very similar species of Plinia that produce one of the more interesting-looking tropical fruit trees in the upper North of New Zealand.
The name of the best-known of those species, Plinia cauliflora, suggests why: It is cauliflorous, meaning that its flowers and fruit are borne directly on the woody stems and trunk of the tree. Jaboticaba is native to southeastern Brazil, as well as parts of Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina and, because of that southerly origin, mature specimens can tolerate periods of brief light frost. It grows very slowly depending on the species.
The trees are profusely branched, beginning close to the ground and slanting upward and outward so that the dense, rounded crown may attain an ultimate spread as wide as it is tall. The thin, beige to reddish bark flakes off much like that of the guava.
The Jaboticaba makes an attractive landscape plant. It has a grape-like appearance, but contains just 1-4 large seeds. The gelatinous flesh is white to pink, and its flavour ranges from sweet to sub-acid.
If given full sun and proper fertilisation, ‘Sabara’ usually fruits in 6+ years whereas the standard Jaboticaba can take up to 10 years to fruit. Best of all ‘Sabara’ has 3 to 4 cycles of flowers and fruit each year. The shiny black fruit develops in clusters close to the woody stems and has a sweet pulp under the skin.
Medium: 4 years Large: 5 years
Grow in semi/full sun. Will grow very slowly in shaded areas. Suitable for pot growing indoors or outdoors
Like a lot of water especially during summer. Does not like dry soil. Shallow roots so keep the soil moist at all times.
Well-draining. Will grow best in rich deep soil pH of 5.5-6.5. Mulching is highly encouraged if the soil is very alkaline
Monthly fertilizing at a young age will help to speed up growth. Vigorous granular fertilising during Spring-Autumn helps plant growth and new shoots to emerge. General fertilising every 4 months will keep the plant healthy
Fairly wind tolerant but does not like salty sea air. Small trees will do best with some protection
Will tolerate light frost. Young plants will need protection cover from frost
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