The Malpighia Glabra Fruit Plant
Tiny, hot-red, berry-sized fruit with a vitamin C content up to 65 times that of an orange. This fruit looks just like a normal cherry with a very delicious sweet taste having a slight bite of acid.
Trees without adequate pollination can set seedless fruit. Flowers usually appear after periods of rainfall or irrigation. Flowering may occur any time during the year (depending on local rainfall and climate patterns), and can last year-round. After flower set, fruit soon follows and will ripen in just 3-4 weeks. Fruits lose their flavor and nutritional content very rapidly upon harvest. Ripe acerola’s should be picked and eaten within a few hours to preserve taste.
The Barbados cherry can be classed as tropical and subtropical, for mature trees can survive brief exposure to 28º F (-2.22º C). Young plants are killed by any drop below 30º F (-1.11º C). It is naturally adapted to both medium- and low-rainfall regions; can tolerate long periods of drought, though it may not fruit until the coming of rain.
- Plant at same depth as it is grown previously and twice as wide. If planting more than one plant, space them at least 15 feet apart.
- To plant, remove the plant from pot and gently knock out some soil around the roots. Place it in the planting hole and carefully spread the roots out.
- Fill the planting hole with soil and hand-tamp it gently. Water deeply to settle the soil around roots.
The tree does well on limestone, marl and clay, as long as they are well drained having at least 5.5 pH level. Elevation to 6.5 significantly improves root development.
The location should be sunny, weed free and less windy. Exposure to full sun is essential for growing acerola cherry plant.
Young plant should be watered regularly, once matured it doesn’t require much watering except in drought periods and at the time when tree is setting fruit.
Apply citrus fertilizer, once you start to see growth.
Spread a layer of 2 inches of mulch in a diameter of 3 feet around the tree. Straw, grass clippings or bark can be used to help retain moisture and keep the roots cooler in the summer heat. Keep the mulch at least 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree so that it does not hold up against the soft wood and inflict rot.
Prune the tree in fall, after the harvest to give it a desired shape. You can cut dead, damaged or diseased branches off at any time.