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How to Grow June Plum from Seed: Growing Ambarella Fruit

A unique tropical delight, unrelated to the well-known plum fruit, is produced by the June plum tree. A June plum has the texture of an apple and the flavor of mango and pineapple.

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The flavor of the fruits can be either mild or tart depending on whether they are eaten unripe or ripe. June plums are an uncommon fruit that are probably not available at your local supermarket. If your climate allows it, this fruit tree would make a wonderful addition to the backyard garden.

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June plums do well in the heat but not in the cold. In the South Pacific Islands, where they first appeared, they are particularly well-liked. They are rather rare in the United States, however Florida and California do have them. They are more well-liked.

More than simply fresh fruit can be found on June plum plants. Additionally, juice, jams, and sauces can be made from the tropical fruit. They can be pickled and used as seasoning in food. The young leaves can be eaten as well and are frequently cooked or eaten raw in Southeast Asia. The leaves may also be used to tenderize meat.

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June plum trees, fortunately, are also quite simple to grow. They can be raised in a pot or in the ground. They are perfect for fruit trees on patios because they need full or some shade. There aren’t many issues with diseases and pests there. There is no reason to buy June plum trees when you can cultivate your own for less money!

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Quick Care Guide

How to Grow June Plum from Seed: Growing Ambarella Fruit

The june plum tree or ambarella tree is a lovely tropical. Source: Cerlin Ng

Common Name(s) June Plum, Ambarella, Golden Apple, Tahitian Apple, Jewish Plum
Scientific Name Spondias dulcis
Days to Harvest Variable
Light Full to partial sun
Water Moderate
Soil All types well-draining
Fertilizer 2-4 applications per year with 10-10-10
Pests Minimal; Occasionally scales, thrips, mites, and fruit flies
Diseases Minimal; root rot, fruit rot

All About the June Plum Tree

Canopy of spondias dulcis | How to Grow June Plum from Seed: Growing Ambarella Fruit

A look upwards at the canopy of a Spondias dulcis. Source: loupok

There are numerous common names for June plums (Spondias dulcis), but the most popular ones are Ambarella, Golden Apple, Jewish Plum, and Tahitian Plum. Although it originated in the South Pacific Islands, this tree has spread to numerous tropical areas. Spondias dulcis belongs to the Anacardiaceae family. Mangos, cashews, and pistachios are also members of this family.

A deciduous tree called Spondias dulcis has elliptic, pinnate leaves with 9–25 leaflets. Although the majority of trees marketed are dwarf kinds that only reach heights of 6 to 8 feet, trees can reach heights of 40 to 60 feet. The tiny, white flowers appear in huge clusters that number at least a dozen. When unripe, the fruits are green; when mature, they turn golden yellow.

There is no requirement to have numerous types for cross-pollination because June plums are self-fertile. Every fruit bears a single huge, fibrous seed in the center that resembles a mango.

Ambarella trees can be highly varied, which gives them a very special life cycle. There is no fixed time of year when trees bloom. Dry intervals followed by a rainy season stimulate the blooming of flowers. This might start at any time, depending on how irrigation is done.

Trees frequently have blooming flowers and ripening fruits at the same time. Additionally, trees may lose their leaves in extremely cold winters or dry, hot summers. When conditions gradually improve, leaves and branches eventually reappear, frequently with some fresh flower clusters.

How to Grow June Plum from Seed: Planting

Golden apple trees can be cultivated in the ground or in containers. They must be planted in a warm spot or kept indoors during the winter because they cannot resist frost.

Due to the dwarf variety’s stature and tolerance of partial sun, Spondias dulcis makes a fantastic patio tree. It’s normal for trees to develop root binds when planted in pots. Keep an eye on the roots and look out for circling. If root circling happens, trees need to be transferred into a larger container.

When planting in the ground, choose a sunny spot with soil that drains well. Avoid placing trees in areas that get excessive wind. When there is no chance of frost, is the ideal time to plant.

Dig a hole three times as wide and exactly as deep as the root ball before planting it in the earth. Plant firmly in the ground and add 2-3 inches of mulch to the top layer of soil.

How to Grow June Plum from Seed: Care

Heavy ambarella branch | How to Grow June Plum from Seed: Growing Ambarella Fruit

The weight of ambarella fruit can bend down the branch. Source: loupok

Ambarella trees are extremely adaptable and simple to maintain. While they do need some inputs, when given the right care, they essentially have no issues.

Sun and Temperature

June plum trees do best in full sun, although they can also thrive in some shade. Each day, they require at least 4-6 hours of sunlight. If planted and kept indoors during the frost, plants can be cultivated in USDA zones 4 through 11. They are able to be grown in USDA zones 9 to 11 when planted in the ground.

In humid tropical and subtropical regions, Spondias dulcis thrives. Frost may be quite damaging to trees. A severe cold could kill the tree or result in the dieback of entire limbs. Bring indoors potted trees or wrap in-ground trees in frost cloth when cold weather are expected.

Young trees can get sunburned in temperatures exceeding 100°F. Immature trees should have a light shade cloth covering them or a trunk protector.

Water and Humidity

When grown, ambarella trees are reasonably drought resistant, but when given enough water, they grow more aggressively and yield more fruits. Up until they are roughly 3 years old, young trees need to be watered more often.

You can manually water trees in containers using a hose or drip irrigation. After each irrigation, the potting medium should be completely saturated, then dried until just barely moist before being watered once more. Depending on the potting medium and weather, this may take a number of days to a couple of weeks.

For the first several months, freshly planted trees in the ground need to be watered one to two times per week. After that, once a week when it’s dry. Periodically check the soil moisture. It’s time to water if the top two inches of the soil are dry.

It’s not necessary to use more water when it’s raining. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses work well for watering underground trees. This prevents too much runoff while yet allowing the soil to absorb the water.

Soil

Ambarella trees thrive in a variety of soil types as long as they have good drainage. While they will survive on insufficient nutrition, when fed properly, they will grow more aggressively and yield more fruits. Trees thrive in soils that range in pH from 5.5 to 7.5 and are acidic to slightly alkaline. They favor soils with higher acidity.

Fertilizing

When the tree is actively growing, especially during blossom and fruit production, apply 10-10-10 two to four times per year.

Pruning

It’s important to keep an eye on young trees because they have a reputation for eating their own fruit. On young trees, flowers and fruit need to be trimmed out to prevent new branches from splitting under the weight of heavy fruit. A young tree’s growth will be slowed down if it has a lot of fruits since fruits use a lot of nutrients.

Dwarf trees need to be pruned to keep their ideal height and shape because they have a tendency to become bushier. Standard trees require pruning to keep their size and shape and to prevent any overlapping branches. There is no concern about cutting off blossoming branches because flowers do not require old growth to flourish.

Branch death caused by a severe frost may require pruning in the spring to encourage new development. Fruits should naturally fall off the tree, but those that are old or rotten should be removed to prevent disease and fruit flies.

Propagation

You can grow Spondias dulcis from seed, hardwood cuttings, air layering, grafting, or air layering.

Although seed propagation is simple, fruit qualities might vary. Fortunately, trees grow quickly and start bearing fruit at an early age. After about a year, some will even start to yield.

The best techniques of propagation are hardwood cuttings and air-layering since they are simple and ensure uniform fruit qualities. Additionally, trees may be grafted onto rootstocks of the same species or different Spondias species. However, because to how much simpler the operation is, cuts and air-layering are favoured ways.

Harvesting and Storing

Ambarella fruit | How to Grow June Plum from Seed: Growing Ambarella Fruit

Ambarella fruit has tropical flavor with the texture of a crisp apple. Source: Arthur Chapman

June plums are a very simple fruit to harvest because they can be plucked while they are green or golden yellow. There are various techniques to preserve fruits so that you can enjoy them for a long time even though fresh fruits cannot be stored for extended durations.

Harvesting

Harvesting June plums relies on personal preference because they are delicious both unripe and ripe. As soon as the fruits at their full size, which is between 2.4 and 3.5 inches long, harvesting can start.

Green or golden yellow fruits can be selected when picking. The flavor will be much more subdued if plucked green. The fruits’ tart flavor will develop if they are allowed to ripen.

Since the fruits are clustered together into groups of at least twelve, the entire cluster can be cut off with pruners. They can be shaken from the branches of big trees.

Storing

Until they are mature, green fruits should be kept at room temperature. Fruits that are ripe can be kept in the fridge for several days.

Jam can be produced from fruits for long-term storage. They can be frozen along with being juiced or turned into a sauce.

Troubleshooting

Big cluster of june plums | How to Grow June Plum from Seed: Growing Ambarella Fruit

This tree is very productive, sometimes to its detriment. Source: loupok

In general, Spondias dulcis poses very few problems. The common problems and solutions are listed below.

Growing Problems

Ambarella trees produce an abundance of fruit, which, when they are young, might cause them to starve to death. It’s best to cut some fruits off a little tree so that they can grow and mature, despite the temptation to leave all the fruits on it.

The weather is a frequent problem. There are techniques to protect your tree to prevent harm or death, even though there is no way to regulate the weather. In-ground trees should be covered with frost cloth when low temperatures are anticipated. Bring containerized trees indoors till the weather is better.

Pests

The Caribbean fruit fly is a tiny, orange-brown fly that infests fruits by laying its eggs there, which makes the fruits unpalatable when the eggs hatch.

Fruit rot can also result from open sores on the fruits. The fruit should be bagged and placed on the tree for protection if you want to stop fruit flies from laying their eggs in it.

Round and flat, scale insects are available in a range of hues, including green, red, and brown. They frequently inhabit branches and twigs. Due to their honeydew secretion, scales are primarily of concern.

Honeydew causes sooty mold to grow, which can cover a tree’s leaves and prevent it from photosynthesizing. Scales frequently go unseen until the leaves start to develop a black sooty mold.

Growth may be impacted if the problem escalates. Natural predators should keep numbers in check, however oil sprays can be employed to manage out-of-control scale populations.

Small, yellow to orange insects called thrips eat developing leaves and blossoms. On the leaves and budding fruits, their injury may leave scars. Ambarella trees rarely require chemical treatment. Thrips can be repelled by water-spraying the leaves.

Small, eight-legged arachnids called mites harm leaves by stippling them. When stressed, plants are more prone to mite infestation. The loss of leaves and general deterioration might result from severe damage. The easiest way to protect your plants from mites is to keep them healthy. If therapy is required, oil sprays work well.

Diseases

If the tree is overwatered or not planted in soil that drains effectively, root rot may develop. If the roots are drowned by too much water, root infections can quickly spread to the tree. By planting in a favorable location and employing the finest irrigation techniques, you may avoid root rot.

Fruit rot is brought on by fruit fly infestation, which leaves the fruit with an open lesion that can be infected by diseases. By bagging the fruit while it is still on the tree, you can avoid fruit rot and fruit fly infestations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Young june plums ~ How to Grow June Plum from Seed: Growing Ambarella Fruit

Young june plums growing on the tree. Source: Cerlin Ng

Q: What does a June plum taste like?

A: A June plum has the texture of an apple and the flavor of a mix of mango and pineapple. The level of tanginess varies with ripeness.

Q: What is June plum good for?

A: There are many applications for June plums. They are edible fresh. They are employed to produce sauces, jams, and juice. The tree’s leaves can be used to tenderize meat or consumed as a vegetable.

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