How to Grow and Care Barbados Cherry

The Barbados cherry is belonging to the Lesser Antilles from St. Croix to Trinidad, additionally Curacao as well as Margarita as well as bordering north South America as much southern as Brazil. It has ended up being naturalized in Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico after growing, as well as is typically grown in dooryards in the Bahamas and also Bermuda, as well as to some extent in Central and also South America.

The plant is thought to have wased initially brought to Florida from Cuba by Pliny Reasoner because it appeared in the catalog of the Royal Hand Baby room for 1887-1888. It was brought abroad rather early for it is known to have actually borne fruit for the first time in the Philippines in 1916. In 1917, H.M. Curran brought seeds from Curacao to the USA Division of Agriculture. (S.P.I. # 44458). The plant was delicately grown in southern and main Florida till after World War II when it ended up being more frequently grown. In Puerto Rico, simply before that war, the Federal Dirt Conservation Department grew Barbados cherry trees to control disintegration on terraces at the Rio Piedras Experiment Terminal. Throughout the battle, 312 seed startings from the trees with the largest and also most agreeably-flavored fruits were dispersed to families to elevate in their Triumph Gardens. Later on, several thousand trees were provided for growing in school yards to increase the vitamin consumption of children, that are naturally partial to the fruits.

An explosion of rate of interest occurred as an outcome of some food evaluations being carried out at the School of Medication, University of Puerto Rico, in Rio Piedras in 1945. The emblic (Emblica officinalis L.) was discovered to be very high in ascorbic acid. This inspired one of the lab aides to generate some Barbados cherries which the regional individuals were accustomed to consuming when they had colds. These fruits were discovered to include even more ascorbic acid compared to the emblic, as well as, as a result of their appearance as well as exceptional eating top quality, interest swiftly switched over from the emblic to the Barbados cherry. Much attention followed, including the fruit under the Puerto Rican name of acerola. A ranch of 400 trees was established at Rio Piedras in 1947 and also, from 1951 to 1953, 238 trees were set out at the Isabela Substation. By 1954, there were 30,000 trees in business groves on the island. A number of plantings had actually been made in Florida as well as a 2,000-acre (833-ha) vineyard in Hawaii. There was a terrific flurry of activity. Horticulturists were busy making options of high-ascorbic-acid clones and also enhancing methods of vegetative propagation, as well as agronomists were researching the impacts of social techniques. Smaller sized plantings were being created in Jamaica, Venezuela, Guatemala, Ghana, India, the Philippines as well as Queensland, Australia, as well as in Israel. Many supposed “healthy food” outlets promoted different “vitamin C” products from the fruits– powder, tablets, pills, juice, sirup.

In detail, excitement subsided when it was realized that a fruit can not end up being a superstar due to its ascorbic acid content alone; that ascorbic acid from an all-natural source could not economically compete with the more affordable synthetic item, because research study showed that the ascorbic acid of the Barbados cherry is metabolized in a fashion the same to the adaptation of crystalline ascorbic acid.

The big hacienda of the Hawaiian Acerola Firm (a subsidiary of Nutrilite Products Firm) was abandoned for this reason, and also low fruit yields; and also, so it is said, the low ascorbic acid material due to the high copper degrees in the dirt. Puerto Rican manufacturing was guided thereafter mostly to making use of the fruit in specialty infant foods.

Icy fruits are shipped to the United States for processing.


In 1956, employees at the University of Florida’s Agricultural Research as well as Education Facility in Homestead, after making preliminary examinations and selections, picked as superior and also called the ‘Florida Sugary food’, a duplicate that was observed to have an upright routine of growth, big fruits, thick skin, apple-like, semi-sweet flavor, as well as high return.

The first appealing selections in Puerto Rico, on the bases of fruit dimension, yield as well as vitamin web content, were recognized as ‘A-l’ and also ‘B-17’, however these were later found to be inferior to ‘B-15’ in ascorbic acid level and efficiency. Yields of 10 clones (‘ A-l’, ‘A-2’, ‘A-4’, ‘A-10’, ‘A-21’, ‘B-2’, ‘B-9’, ‘B-15’, ‘B-17’, as well as ‘K-7’) were contrasted over a 2-year period (1955-56) in Puerto Rico as well as ‘B-15’ much went beyond the others in both years.

A horticultural range in St. Croix, previously referred to as M. thompsonii Britton & Small, has actually shown unusually huge fallen leaves as well as fruits as well as more bountiful flowers compared to the usual strain of Barbados cherry.


The Barbados cherry can be classed as exotic and subtropical, for fully grown trees could make it through brief direct exposure to 28º F (-2.22 º C). Youthful plants are eliminated by any type of decline listed below 30º F (-1.11 º C). It is naturally adjusted to both medium- and also low-rainfall regions; could endure long periods of drought, though it may not fruit until the resulting rainfall.


The tree succeeds on sedimentary rock, marl as well as clay, as long as they are well drained pipes. The pH needs to go to least 5.5. Elevation to 6.5 dramatically enhances origin advancement. Acid soils require the addition of lime to avoid calcium deficiency and rise yield. The lime needs to be worked into the dirt to a depth of 8 in (20 cm) or extra.


If seeds are utilized for growing, they ought to be picked from preferable duplicates not exposed to cross-pollination by substandard kinds. They need to be cleansed, dried, and also dusted with a fungicide. It must also be understood that the seeds in a specific fruit develop erratically and also only those that are totally developed when the fruit is ripe will germinate satisfactorily. Germination prices may be just 50% or as low as 5%. Seed startings need to be moved from flats to containers when 2 to 3 in (5-7.5 centimeters) high.

Air-layering (in summertime) as well as side-veneer, cleft, or modified crown implanting are feasible however not popular since it is so much simpler to raise the tree from cuttings. Cuttings of branches 1/4 to 1/2 in (6-12.5 mm) thick and also 8 to 10 in (20-25 centimeters) long, with 2 or 3 leaves attached, hormone-treated and also embeded in sand or various other suitable media under consistent or intermittent mist, will certainly root in 60 days. They are then transplanted to baby room rows or containers and held in shade for 6 months or a year prior to being laid out in the area. Some fruits will be borne a year after planting yet a good plant can not be anticipated up until the 3rd or Fourth year. The tree will continue birthing well for about 15 years. There is a lapse of just 22 days between flowering and also total fruit maturation.

Grafting is generally exercised only when cuttings of a preferred duplicate are limited or if a nematode-resistant rootstock is available on which to graft a favored cultivar; or when top-working a tree that flourishes of low quality.


The Barbados cherry tree will certainly grow and fruit fairly well with little care. For ideal efficiency, Puerto Rican agronomists have actually suggested a fertilizer formula of 8-8-13 two times annually for the initial 4 years at the price of 1/2 to 1 lb (0.22-0.45 kg). Older trees should have 3 to 5 lbs (1.35-2.25 kg) each tree. On top of that, natural material must be worked into the growing hole and provided in amounts of 10 to 20 lbs (4.5-9 kg) each tree. Under Florida problems, a 10-10-10 formula is given in February, 1 lb (0.22 kg) for each and every year of development. In May, July and September, a 4-7-5-3 formula is suggested, 1 lb (0.22 kg) for every year of age approximately the 10th year. Afterwards, a 6-4-6-3 mix is provided– 5 lbs (2.25 kg) per tree in late wintertime and 10 lbs (4.5 kg) per tree for each and every of the summertime feedings. On sedimentary rock soils, sprays of small elements– copper, zinc, and also often manganese– will improve development and performance. Youthful trees need regular watering till well developed; older trees need sprinkling only throughout dry spells. Fully grown plants will bear much better if thinned out by sensible trimming after the late crop and afterwards fertilized again.

Pollination and also Fruit Establish

In Florida, bees go to Barbados cherry flowers in varieties and are the principal pollinators. Maintenance of hives near Barbados cherry trees considerably enhances fruit collection. In Hawaii, there was discovered to be very little transport of plant pollen by wind, and also insect pollination is poor. As a result, fruits are commonly seedless. Examinations have actually revealed that development regulatory authorities (IBA at 100 ppm; PCA at 50 ppm) cause much higher fruit set yet these chemicals might be too pricey to get and also use.


In Florida, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and also Hawaii the fruiting season differs with the weather condition. There might be a spring crop ripening in May and after that successive small crops off and on up until December, yet often, if spring rainfalls are lacking, there may be no fruits whatsoever till December and after that a hefty plant. In Zanzibar, the bearing period is said to be simply the months of December as well as January.


For house usage, as treat, the fruits are chosen when completely ripe. For processing or preserving, they could be gathered when somewhat immature, when they are transforming from yellow to red. As there is constant fruiting over extended periods, picking is done every day, each day, or every 3 days to stay clear of loss by falling.

The fruits are typically picked by hand in the cool of the morning, and must be taken care of with treatment. For prompt handling, some cultivators tremble the tree as well as permit the ripe fruits to fall onto sheets spread on the ground. Collected fruits must be kept in the shade until transferred from the field, which should be done within 3 hrs, as well as gathering lugs are best covered with heavy canvas to retard loss of ascorbic acid.


There is wonderful variation in efficiency. Specific trees might produce 30 to 62 pounds (13.5-28 kg) in Puerto Rico. In Jamaica, maximum return in the Sixth year has to do with 80 lbs (36 kg) per tree; 24,000 lbs/acre (24,000 kg/ha). Venezuelan farmers have actually reported 10 to 15 tons/ha; the average in Puerto Rico is 25 tons/ha/yr. ‘Florida Dessert’ in Florida has yielded 65 tons/ha. A plot of 300 trees of ‘Florida Dessert’ has borne crops of 6,300 to 51,300 pounds (2,858-23,270 kg) of fruit from March to November, in Homestead, Florida.

In Puerto Rico, a planting of 200 trees might be expected to generate 3,600 to 5,400 pounds (1,636-2,455 kg) of juice. From the juice there can be removed at least 120 pounds (54.5 kg) of vitamin C shared as dehydroascorbic as well as ascorbic acid, offering the material is figured out to be 2%. In Puerto Rico, it is computed that 10 lots of fruit must yield 435 lbs (197 kg) ascorbic acid. In a commercial procedure utilizing ion-exchange resins, the return of ascorbic acid from Barbados cherry juice is anticipated to be about 88%.

Maintaining Top quality

Ripe Barbados cherries wound conveniently as well as are highly disposable. Processors store them for no more than 3 days at 45º F (7.22 º C). Half-ripe fruits could be kept for a few more days. If longer storage space is required, the fruits should be frozen and maintaineded at 10º F (-12.22 º C) and later on thawed for use. At once it was believed that the fruits can be transported to refining plants in water storage tanks (as is finished with real cherries) but it was discovered that they shed their shade as well as ascorbic acid web content in water.

At room temperature– 85º F (29.44 º C) in Puerto Rico– tinned Barbados cherries as well as the juice lose color and also fresh flavor as well as 53% to 80% of their ascorbic acid content in one month, and steel coulds swell because of the advancement of CARBON DIOXIDE. Refrigeration at 44.6 º F (7º C) considerably decreases such damage. Juice in the home fridge will certainly lose 20% of its ascorbic acid in 18 days. Therefore, the juice as well as the puree must be kept no longer than one week.

Bugs and Illness

One of the major barriers to effective cultivation of the Barbados cherry is the tree’s vulnerability to the root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita var. acrita, particularly in sandy acid dirts. Dirt airing out, mulching as well as regular watering will help to keep this issue under control. The burrowing nematode, Radopholus similis, is also a cause of decline in otherwise healthy and balanced trees.

In Florida, the foliage is assaulted by wax scale, Florida mango range, and other range insects, whiteflies, a leaf roller, and also aphids. In Guatemala, the aphid, Aphis spiraecola, strikes the leaves as well as young, tender branches. This insect and the Hesperid caterpillar, Ephyriades arcas, require chemical control. In Puerto Rico, the tree is often harmed by the blue chrysomelid of acerola, Leucocera laevicollis. Some fruits might be misshaped however not or else influenced by the sting of stinkbugs. None of these predators is of any wonderful importance.

The major insect in Florida is the Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa, which seems to attack just about really sour fruits and the larvae are commonly located inside. In Guatemala, a fruit worm, Anthonomus florus, deposits its eggs in the floral ovary and also in the fruits; the larvae feed in the fruits triggering defect and complete mess up. Extreme control actions have actually been utilized against this predator, including the incineration of all fallen, infested fruits and the elimination of all associated species that function as hosts.

Couple of illness have actually been reported. Nonetheless, in Florida, there are cases of anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, and also leafspotting by the fungus, Cercospora bunchosiae, is a serious malady in Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Eco-friendly scurf, understood the alga, Cephaleuros virescens, occurs in Puerto Rico.

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