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Surinam Cherry (general overview and growing info)

Surinam Cherry

(Eugenia uniflora)


Surinam Cherry overview:

The Surinam Cherry is a shrub or small tree with very interesting looking fruit.  The plant grows well in Southern California but the flavor of the fruit is quite variable depending on the variety.


Surinam Cherry appearance:  

  • Although the plant is not related to your standard cherry, it gets its name because the fruit is about the size of a cherry and usually has a single seed (or two) in the center.
  • The fruit has the appearance of a small pumpkin.
  • You know this fruit is fully ripe when it is fully colored and falls into your hand with a light touch. Different varieties are either deep red or almost black when fully ripe.
Pumpkin shaped Surinam Cherry

Surinam Cherry


Surinam Cherry taste:

  • Honestly, my first taste of the Surinam Cherry was not impressive.  I tried an unnamed variety and it had a rather resinous (pine like) flavor.  That being said it was not terrible either.  On the plus side, it was very very juicy.  Regardless of the variety of Surinam cherry, the skin is very delicate and the flesh is melting.
  • Apparently, for the varieties with the unfortunate resinous overtone, you can do a few things to augment that unappealing flavor.
    • For example, if you cut the fruit in half, remove the seed and let the fruit chill in the fridge for a few hours, most of that resinous flavor goes away leaving a very pleasant, sweet and juicy treat.
    • Maximum ripeness reduces that resinous flavor as well.
  • However, there are several named superior varieties that have been developed which do not have that off putting flavor.  I would recommend that you just get one of those (see my favorites below).
  • Regardless of the flavor, the unique appearance of this fruit in a dessert would definitely be a great conversation starter.

My two favorite varieties of Surinam Cherry (Lolita and Chamba):

  • Lolita variety:
    • Lolita Surinam Cherry Appearance:
      • The size and shape of the Lolita variety cherries are similar to the other Surinam cherries.  However, the fruit is nearly black when ripe (As the fruit ripens it turns from green, yellow, orange, red and then finally nearly black).  The darker the fruit when you pick it, sweeter the flavor.  Like other varieties, you know this fruit is fully ripe when it falls into your hand with a light touch.
      Lolita Surinam Cherry stages of ripeness

      Lolita Surinam Cherry in my hand at various stages of ripeness

    • Lolita Surinam Cherry Taste:
      • The Lolita variety is very different in flavor than the other varieties I have tried.  It is very sweet with no significant aftertaste.  There are however subtle exotic background flavors that I have yet to identify.  The Lolita cherry rivals the taste of a traditional cherry and the melting texture is amazing.
      Lolita Surinam Cherry with a bite taken out to show the juicy inside and central seed

      Lolita Surinam Cherry with a bite taken out to show the juicy inside and central seed

  • Chamba variety:
    • Chamba Surinam Cherry Appearance:
      • The size and shape of the Chamba variety cherries are similar to the other Surinam cherries.  However, the fruit is nearly fire engine red when ripe.  Like other varieties, you know this fruit is fully ripe when it falls into your hand with a light touch.
    • Chamba Surinam Cherry Taste:
      • The Chamba variety is sweet but also pleasantly tart.  This fruit has little to no resinous aftertaste.


Surinam Cherry Fruit season: 

I have not found anything about the fruiting season in California.  They seem to fruit and flower on random schedule.   Fruits appear about 3 months after flowering.

Lolita Surinam Cherry

Lolita Surinam Cherry

Landscaping use: 

  • The leaves are beautiful and shiny; mixed burgundy and light green when young and darker green when older.
  • The plant can easily be trimmed into a hedge, small tree or left to grow into a bush.
  • The plant is said to be a slow grower, however, the ones I have planted have doubled in size in two years time.   I suspect that this improved growth rate has more to do with the soil than anything else.
Surinam Cherry leaves

Surinam Cherry leaves


Apparently the plant is tolerant of just about any soil type, as long as it is not salty.  I planted mine on a slope that is mainly clay, rock and sand.  Even though I read that this plant wouldn’t mind that poor soil, I augmented the ground aggressively with planting mulch mixed in with some potting soil.  I added the potting soil because I was looking for some water retention on the slope.  I also inoculated the roots with micorriza which should help the plant obtain more nutrients and moisture.

Click here to see my 6/9/13 post on the best planting technique to avoid transplantation shock. 



Moderate water needs due to its naturally deep root system.  However, you should err on the side of over watering during the first month or so after planting.  I have also read that this plant can tolerate standing water so it should be forgiving of over watering.



Full sun



Quarterly application of complete fertilizer.





  • After over 2 years of growing they have been bug free.  However, there has been some random and isolated branch dieback which I suspect may have been cold damage.
  • Other than that, the other major problem is fighting the birds and squirrels for the fruit.
  • I use Holographic Bird Scare Tape that works rather well at keeping the birds away.  If you are going to use glitter tape, it is best to only use it during the fruit season so that the birds don’t get use to it.  A very similar product is Flash Tape but I haven’t tried that.


Food use:

Just eat them right off the tree.  If you are growing a particularly tasty variety, it can be difficult to stop eating them.   Of course they are great in deserts and fruit salads too.   Surinam Cherry can also be used to make jellies and jams.



  • Surinam Cherry is originally from NE regions of South America.  In the early 1900s it was introduced in small quantities to many other countries from the Philippines to Israel.
  • Some authors have reported concerns about this plant being invasive in wetter/warmer climates such as Hawaii.  However, I do not suspect this will be a major issue in Southern California.

About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.


  1. Just wondering if you could provide a list of trees that grow in clay soil in a temperate climate with mild winters-that average about 9-12 degrees during nights. What success would yousay the black sapote has as such and would this be the best variety to plant. Thanks Doctor.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Australia. Great question.

      Clay is a rather difficult challenge; it is either too wet for too long or too dry… Clay is very difficult to aerate and nutrient poor. That is a bad combo for most plants.

      Personal experience:
      As it turns out, clay is a large fraction of my property; one half is clay and the other half is decomposed granite (DG). And DG has its own issues.

      So at least in part, your situation sounds similar to mine here in San Diego (however, we do sometimes get a frost, so you might be a bit warmer than San Diego in general).

      The root stock that your trees are growing on (if grafted) is an important factor for success.

      Overall, what you want to grow in clay depends on how much work you want to put into it. If you are wiling to dig a really big hole and mix in a lot of organic material/compost etc, then you might be able to grow a whole lot of cool things. That is basically what I have done… I am not saying it is easy, but I didn’t need to go to the gym while doing it. Here’s a link to my planting method.

      A few important pointers:
      When you dig the hole you must check to be sure it will drain when done. Dense clay can act like a tight container and hold on to the water like a bucket. In this situation, the roots will just soak in the pot you created and prolonged root soaking kills most plants.

      Therefore, after you dig the hole, test it out. Fill the fresh empty hole with water and come back in a few hours. If after a few hours, the hole still has water in it, you need to do one of two things. Either dig some more to create an outlet for the water or find another spot to try. I am a bit stubborn so with rare exception, I find a way to make it work. If you planting on a slope, dig out a channel to the low side of the hole and fill that channel back with gravel and/or sand. If you dont have anywhere to divert the water to then you might consider creating a mound above that hole that you just created.

      Another approach is to see what other people in your area are growing/doing. If you have clay soil it is likely that a lot of the people in your area also have the same problem. Established-local owned nurseries may also be a wealth of knowledge on the topic. Try to talk to the owner if you can. My experience is that these people love what they are doing and are excited to share what they know.

      Good luck and keep us posted.


  2. Three varieties of Surinam cherries are ripe at Delray Beach, Florida, today, April 6th. Easy to
    make into jelly. I use brown sugar and honey, at 1/2 the usual intense sweet recipes. Very
    pleasant results.

  3. I used to live in Florida and loved the Surinam cherries we grew. Actually, the only canning I ever did was Surinam cherry jam. Can you please tell me if I can grow them in Austin, Texas? The places I’ve asked never heard of them so I’m thinking maybe not.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Good question Bette

      According to the USDA, Austin is zone 8b, which means you can expect winter temps to go down to 20-15 F.
      Unfortunately, these tropical cherries really don’t do well if temps go below freezing.
      Therefore, it looks like wonderful Austin TX is too chilly for Surinam cherries, unless you take extra special warming precautions.
      I suspect you could also try growing a plant in a big pot and then bring it in during the coldest months.


  4. Love the Surinam Cherry. Had it growing in the back yard when I lived in the middle east.
    I now live in southern Florida. Noticed lately that the cherries are not ripening and have a very rough texture. Any Idea what the cause is. PS, Try growing Passion fruits I don’t think you’ll regret it.
    Any input will be greatly appreciated.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Murray
      That’s a very interesting question.

      I personally have not encountered that problem with my surinam cherries…
      perhaps someone else out there has some first hand experience to share.

      However, if the skin of the cherries have a rough texture, it could be some sort of infection… perhaps fungal.
      I have seen this type of thing with other fruit.
      For example, the Australian Beach Cherry is in the same family (Myrtaceae family) and it is known to get this fungal disease known as Myrtle Rust. Apparently all plants in this family are susceptible to that fungal disease.

      On this NSW agricultural government site (see below) there is info and pics aboutt he disease.
      Is this anything like what you are seeing?


      Hope this helps. Let us know if you find out anything more.


  5. Where I can find the Surinam Cherry seeds for sale? I live in Northern California, Sacramento, Im wondering if the Surinam cherry tree would be ok here. I love this cherries, growing up on NE of Brazil, we have so many many foods made with it> Jams, Candy, Popsicle, Juice…it is my childhood flavor!!! *signs* Would be great to share it with my little son as well.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Dayse

      Surinam Cherry uses:
      Thanks for the great info about the many uses of Surinam Cherries.
      Bringing back childhood flavors can be a wonderful experience and can act like a memory time machine.

      Getting a plant:
      However, I dont happen to know where you can get Surinam Cherry seeds in Northern California.
      If it was me, I would try to get an actual potted Surinam Cherry plant.
      A plant that is already growing will give you fruit much faster and will also likely to give you the flavor/variety that you are looking for.

      Northern California sources:
      I know of several places around here in Southern California that sell Surinam Cherry plants.
      Perhaps another reader can help you finding a Surinam Cherry grower up in your area.

      Growing in your area:
      However, I wonder if it would be harder to get these plants up north, because these plants may not like the cooler weather you get in Sacramento.
      Your ultimate growing success will likely be depend on your specific micro-climate.
      [Young plants are damaged by temperatures below 28º F (-2.22º C), but well-established plants have suffered only superficial injury at 22º F (-5.56º C).]

      For info about your growing zone, check out my article on the subject below.

      Good luck and keep us posted!


    • I 3 Surinam Cherry bushes, i’m in Central Florida. My season is over, but if you are willing to wait till next year; I would be willing to sell you some seeds for $7.00. Contact me at: sl.rainforest@gmail.com

      Pss: Doc, can you leave a contact email on all your postings? Thanks Steve Lohn

      • Thomas Osborne, MD

        Hey Steve.

        Regarding your “Pss…” question”
        I do not share emails of our readers out of respect for privacy.
        However, if you would like to share your own email, you are welcome to add it to one of your comments (as you have). Note, there are some computer programs that troll the entire www for emails and then use them to spam accounts. I do not have any control of this and therefore posting your own email is at your own discretion.


  6. My Surinam Cherry trees have spread out quite a lot. Does it stimulate production to prune the branches back or better to leave them? The last harvest was light even after a full bloom, but not sure of the cause. There was plenty of rain. The harvest before that was plentiful. Maybe the trees just needed a rest

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Eva
      Great question.
      I have 3 surinam cherry bushes that are about 5 ft high and 6 + ft wide. I have read many places that they take well to pruning into a hedge. However, I am not sure how that affects their fruiting b/c I have not tried to prune mine yet. However, based on what you mentioned, it could be an issue of alternate bearing.. or the need for a rest after a big crop.

    • Have you try adding egg shells to soil? From my experience it works well for fruiting production.

  7. Do you think Suriname cherry would do well in a container?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Nate.
      Great question.
      I have not tried to grow Suriname cherry tree/bushes in a container.
      Perhaps someone else has some experience with this?

      • I’m trying this now. I live in Michigan (the upper peninsula at that!) so in containers as houseplants is the only way I can grow them.

        I started them in cardboard egg cartons in a sunny window and under a grow lamp for after dark, giving them about 12 hrs of light each day. I had the egg carton sitting in a disposable foil pan with a clear plastic lid to hold in the heat and moisture. I left the lid off when the grow lamp was on so it didn’t get too hot. They sprouted in about 4 weeks, with 50% germination (the seeds were about 9 months old). Each one that germinated is still alive one year later. I transplanted at the four-leaf stage, and that was too long to wait: the tap root was curled up in the bottom of the egg cup.

        They are slow growing, as after one year they aren’t even a foot tall and look scraggly. I assume they grow faster and better outdoors, so might not be good as indoor plants. After growing initially indoors they sunburned really easily when I put them outside, even when being careful to acclimate and screen or shade them.

        The only pest problem is a disease that starts at the tips of the leaves and causes a brown-black crispiness. Sometimes the shoots die back (one plant in particular experiences this) but when growing well (once I figured how to shade them properly in the three months I could have them outside) it puts on new shoots quickly and vigorously.

        So, trial and error but I love these fruits and it’s worth the effort!

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Thanks for sharing your experience and success.
          That is a great point about the rapid growth of the taproot.
          The tip of the leaf thing might be burn from too many minerals in the water or too much fertilizer. We especially see this type of tip burn in salt sensitive plants such as avocado.
          Best of luck and keep us posted.

      • I live on Maui and have one growing in a pot. It is staying small….. but it does get blossoms and cherries. I didn’t know what this plant was until recently. I wasted a few cherries as a result. Thanks for the info!

  8. Hi,
    Do you know where i can find some Lolita seeds? Would love to try germinating them.
    Thank you!

  9. I enjoy your commentary. I notice that several readers have asked about seeds for the surinam cherry. I want to just say in this regard that seeds are generally not the best way to go. If you grow from cuttings or air layering, you can generally reduce the time to fruiting by a year or two. Also, the characteristics plants grown from seed may not be true to the parent — and since the parent plant is generally the result of generations of selective breeding, it is highly likely that the differences will be undesirable ones. If you are in the San Diego area, you can just buy a Lolita or a Chamba, already potted, from Exotica in Vista.

    On another topic: I would love to grow a persimmon cultivar called ichiikikei jiro. It is a natural dwarf (to about a dozen feet), and has delicious, non-astringent fruit. These trees are readily available in various southeastern states, but they are not sold within California, and cannot be imported here because of Ag Dept. restrictions. Any leads you or your readers might have would be very much appreciated.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks Bart.
      Although I havent tried starting Surinam Cherry trees from seeds…, what you mention makes sense.
      Do you have any suggestions for propagating Surinam Cherry trees from cuttings or air layering?

  10. Tom,

    I have searched the net for companion plants to pitango – no luck at all.
    Do you have any ideas?
    I have planted mine in a very large pot and would like to aid the plant.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Anna
      Great question.
      There is a lot of literature out there about companion plants for vegetables.
      However, I also dont know of any info about companion plants for Pitango (Surinam Cherry).
      Perhaps another reader has some insight.
      As a side, I have found them to be very prolific with the growing techniques mentioned in the article.

      • Thanks Tom,

        I am a biodynamic gardener and I have three companion plant books. No luck there.
        I have used biodynamic humus for the plant – i actually transferred it from the original pot I bought it in nearly a year ago. I also plant by the moon, so everything was done to optimise plant growth.
        I have also tried looking for companions for myrtle (as it is a myrtle) but also no luck. Hopefully this will aid anyone who may be able to assist.


  11. Like you I grow a diversified tropical garden,mine is in central Florida. You are correct, there is very little available information on dragon fruit. I’ve had to experiment to get answers. I’ve found this to be the case on most tropical fruits. Unfortunately much of the information out there is either incorrect or incomplete. Your site is a breath of fresh air. At present I’ve posted detailed instructions on how to plant dragon fruit. This may not be the only way to plant, but this method is working for me.at this time I am growing 7 different varieties with very good results. I have both red and white flesh, I have recently acquired a yellow variety. I would like to exchange information with you on this and some of the other fruit we are both growing. With your permission I would like to reference your site.

    Steve Lohn

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Steve
      Thanks for the kind note.
      Sounds like you and I working toward similar goals.
      I am looking forward to hearing about your techniques/information.
      Please feel free to reference and/or link back to my site.


      • Hi Doc,

        Accidentally deleted your last email.the one about dragon fruit. Can you pleas resend it to me.

        Steve Lohn

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Sure Steve.
          Is this the one (see below)

          Hey Steve
          Thanks you so much for the wonderful feedback.
          It sounds like we have a lot of similar interests.

          Selling cuttings:
          The more people know about these dragon fruit diseases the better. Furthermore, when people know what to look for, they will be empowered to avoid the diseased plants… and will therefore be more likely to seek out the healthy ones. This is clearly a great advantage for people who have healthy plants to sell.

          Reprinting my article:
          Here is my general take/policy on the topic.
          1. First off… Thank you asking, I definitely appreciate it. (it is a bummer to find out when someone reproduces your work in a way you did not intend). Just by asking, and being a responsible fellow blogger, it is clear that you are one of the good guys.
          2. The big picture goal of this site is to help fellow gardeners & farmers be successful. Therefore, I am honored and happy to be a part of someone elses plant-growing success.
          3. Please feel free to reprint paper copies of the article for your friends. I only ask that you reference the source (TastyLandscape.com) somewhere on the page. Better yet, save some paper and send them the link http://tastylandscape.com/2015/09/05/dragon-fruit-diseases/.
          4. If you would like to reference my article from your blog then a common/preferred practice is as follows. First, share your own thoughts and insights about the topic on your website. If you like something you have read somewhere else, then describe your thoughts about that other article and add a link to that page for additional info.


          • Yes, thats the one. Thank you. I’m not how will forward this info to other dragon fruit growers, i may just offer your website.

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Hey Steve.
            If you are using Blogger, this video (below link) may help to show you how to add a link to your article.


          • Hi Doc,

            This is a copy of my article submitted to the Manatee Rare Fruit Chapter. I write for them, I’m also their chapter photographer. I’m also a member of the Tampa Bay Rare Fruit Chapter. I’ll try to get Tampa Bay Rare Fruit to Chapter add your website to their website or their newsletter.

            Steve Lohn

            Steve Lohn

            ​I’m having a good year with my Dragon Fruit, lots of flowers and fruit. I’ve been so busy, that I have not had time to plant the Dark Star My wife won at the raffle For those of you who are growing Dragon Fruit, there is a website you need to check out, its called TastyLandscape.com. Look for “Dragon Fruit Diseases”. This is a good source for issues you may have in your garden. A lot of information out there is not correct. This information is correct and is from a blog written by Thomas Osborne, MD, who is growing and researching tropical fruit in California. I’ve found his information to be accurate, and I am using it on my own fruit.
            ​Been picking Sugar Apples, eating them to a point that I’m ready for the next fruit, just in time my Carambolas are ready to eat. Just finished eating my last Avocados. Grapefruit sizing up nicely. Loquats are flowering. I planted some Mango seeds from my Nam Doc Mai and they are doing fine. I’ve read that they will product true to fruit. I was lucky enough to score some Jackfruit, I planted the seeds and have about a dozen seedling. I had to dig up three Need seedlings, their in pots now.

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Thanks Steve, that is awesome.
            Thanks you for your kind words and support.
            I also look forward to hearing about your continues growing success.

  12. In 2014, our neighbor who was very helpful during my husband’s illness cut back our five Surinam bushes, then in 2015, they were cut again by someone I hired. I haven’t seen blossoms or cherries since maybe 2013. After they were trimmed in early 2015, I told my helper not to trim them anymore. My adult children & now grandchildren are disappointed when they visit that there are no cherries to eat. I’m thinking the bushes are about 20-25 years old. Does their age have something to do with it, since I saw in one of your posts that you asked someone how old the bushes were? I live in Palm Bay, Florida. Help :>)

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Deborah
      Sorry to hear about your surinam bushes.
      Unfortunately, I suspect you are correct about the negative consequences of the pruning on your fruit production.

      Although, these plants can definitely be shaped to fit your needs and made more manageable… the idea is to go slow.

      Heavy pruning will impact just about every plants ability to produce fruit.
      Based on the time relationship of the heavy pruning and the lack of fruit, it sounds like this is a likely cause for you too.

      Heavy pruning will mean that the plant has less ability to produce the energy (glucose) it needs to produce fruit.
      In this situation, the plant may also be re-diverting its stored energy’s to making more branches and leaves…. or it is possible that they are in shock and just trying to survive the loss of its energy producing branches. The stress could also set up your plants to infection that will make things that much worse. I would inspect the leaves and branches to see if there are any bugs hanging on or ants crawling around that would indicate they are up to no good.

      At this point, I would treat any infections you see and then baby them back to health. Of course no more pruning unless there are dead and diseased branches that need to be removed.

      Best of luck,

  13. This evening, after being gone most of the day, I checked my six :>) bushes which are about four plus feet tall AND some of them had white blossoms on them——I am so excited. Just sending a text to my daughter in Dubai as she was the one who picked them the most & was so disappointed last two years when she came there were no cherries. She with grandson six years old, plus same ages grandsons in Upper New York & Las Vegas are coming in June for reunion. Hopefully, if I baby the bushes & fertilize them there will be cherries in June. Also, they’re not all the same variety, as I remember the cherries looking & tasting somewhat different. They are beautifully colored, new branches sprouting out some about a foot long, leaves look healthy, & I saw no bugs. I’ll use my egg shells that I save for my plants & do you know a good fertilizer I should use? Thank you very much for your response.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      That’s awesome news Deborah!
      Sounds like they might be on the mend.

      Feed slow:
      I would go cautiously with the fertilizer…
      It is tempting (at least for many) to aggressively want to correct a deficiency with lots of fertilizer.
      Unfortunately, this is problematic for many plants but especially true for moderate-to-slow feeders such as the surinam cherry.
      With heavy fertilization, some plants will also shift gears into leafy growth and stop the fruiting process. I dont know this to be the case with Surinam cherries.. but best to be cautious anyways.

      Best option for them:
      They like “slow and low” fertilization. Another words they prefer multiple small applications of slow release fertilizer throughout the year.

      Type of fertilizer:
      Surinam cherries dont necessary need organic fertilizer. However, when any plant is struggling, the organic solution may be gentler and more forgiving. A slow release fertilizer is also particularly good option for these cherries.

      Side note:
      I noticed that my citrus really appreciate a variety of different fertilizers at different times. Therefore, I have been trying the same thing with my other plants and they have also been responding positively.

      Best of luck!

  14. Hello Tom,

    What a fantastic page! Just ran across this after I purchased my first Surinam Cherry off of eBay. Perhaps not the safest way to do it, but we’ll see what comes in the mail…

    I too am in Northern California – in Santa Rosa. A little birdie told me that, like its relatives Psidium and Ugni, Eugenia uniflora can successfully be grown in a large pot with little fussing.

    That was a lot of rambling for one simple question. Have you heard of the cultivar “Black Star?” This is what I just purchased, since that was the only available variety I found immediately online. Thanks!


    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Nathaniel
      Thanks for the great feedback!

      There is considerable variation in the taste of different surinam cherries.
      However, there seems to be a trend based on fruit color.
      For the most part, red or orange seem to be sour and purple or black tend to be sweet.
      Therefore, even though I have not tried the “Black Star”, I would think it would be sweet.

      Please let us know if you discover any more info.


  15. Hey Tom,

    My surinam cherry tree was loaded with fruit this season. However, when I started picking them, they all had a little worm in them. What can I do to insure the next crop doesn’t have the worms. Thank you so much.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Naomi
      Well that sounds terrible.
      I am not sure what is causing the issue… There are several worms/larva that can infect fruit.
      What does the worm look like and what part of the world are you living in?

      • I love be in Hawaii. I didn’t write the original question but I too have found some little white worms in a few cherries.

  16. I live in Southwest Florida and have a surinam cherry tree that my grandmother planted. I remember it was the go-to tree when we were bad and she sent us out to cut a switch! The tree hasn’t produced fruit in many, many years, but today I found a single cherry, laying on the ground under the tree. It was bright red and looked healthy. I opened it and tasted the fruit and memories of my childhood came flooding back. I’m going to try planting the pit to see what happens.

  17. drmk showkath ali

    dear i am from Lakshadweep island india.may iknow whether surinam chrry can be grown in thease island.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Drmk
      I an not familiar with the climate on Lakshadweep island.
      What is the weather like where you live?

  18. Hi Tom,I live on the Sunshine Coast in QLD Australia and have a very large Brazilian Cheery which we inherited with the house we purchased last year. It is full of flowers and amazing fruit. When can I prune it back?I was thing about taking it back by half? Done want to loose it just not take over from my roses

  19. Hi Tom, we are living in Miami Florida, as soon as we both our house three years ago,mi husband planted a tree fence of surinam cherries( I think it is)in the front yard. This year we still have a nice weather around 70 degrees and after three years we got a lot of delicious cherries and I can’t stop to eat every day when I return from my office.

  20. Hi! I have a hedge of the Suriname Cherry plant. I live in Southeast Florida. Anyways, I’ve been eating them occasionally with no problem. However, today I found out that there were little white/pale yellow maggots inside them. I freaked out. I am sure by accident perhaps I have eaten some of these maggots. Am I going to die? Will I have an infection? Is it like tapeworm?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Joliette
      Thanks for the note.
      That is a bummer…
      Its hard to know for sure what bug/larva is growing in your cherries from here.
      The following are some general thoughts that may help.

      There are some invasive bugs that have done a lot of damage to crops in different parts of the world.
      Florida has a bunch of them to deal with; one of the most common is the “Caribbean Fruit Fly”
      Heres a U of Florida link about that particular bug for more details:

      In general;
      Most infections are fairly specific about what they attack.
      Some bugs will only impact a specific type of plant (like the tomato horn worm) or (citrus leaf miner).

      The more a living thing is different, the less likely there is a chance for cross infection. Although some infections do jump species (like bird flu etc), it is highly unusual for infections to jump large genetic differences such as between plants and animals. This can very rarely happen with microbes like fungus and bacteria, but not so much with bugs and larva. We actually eat lots of bugs in our daily food and dont even know about it. The FDA has some threshold that they consider ok for the amt of bugs that can get in. However, in much of the world, people go out of their way to eat bugs. For example, I ate a bunch on purpose in South East and China.

      Anyhow, in all likelihood it is probably ok. However, it would be nice to know exactly what type of bug it was to fully understand the situation.

      • Thank you Dr. Osborne for replying. I do not the name of the insects, but they were small (like one-eighth of a centimeter) and pale yellow almost white surface color. Their texture was smooth and divided into segments like a millipede’s exterior. When I searched under Caribbean fruit fly larvae, their appearance on Google images looked very similar to what I remember seeing. Also, I am still alive six days later so I think I will be fine.

  21. We relocated to Florida several years ago and were very fortunate to get a home with lots of tropical fruit trees. Among the many varieties of citrus was a surinam cherry tree. Had to clear out a lot of ferns and weeds from around her. I was happy to save a baby from beneath her and potted it. Two years later and baby had survived and been reported again. Florida lists tree as invasive but I have not seen any evidence to support it as fruit that falls to the ground does not always germinate.My older one is full of fruit some ripe and others maturing.

  22. I have a mature Surinam cherry that I was lucky to get a baby from underneath her. We relocated to central Florida several years ago and were very fortunate to get a place with lots of fruit trees. Mostly citrus varieties and have added and are experimenting with others.

  23. Hi! My name is Donna. I bought some Surinam Cherry seeds. I need to know the best way to germinate them. I live in Fairview, N.C. Want to try these. My husband grew up in Miami and loved them as a kid. If you could help me learn how to germinate them i would appreciate it.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Donna
      Thanks for the question.

      In many parts of the world, volunteer plants (seedlings that grow on their own) will spontaneously grow easily.
      However, I have not seen it in California as I think it gets too dry in most areas for unintended seedling growth.

      I am not sure of the best method for them… but considering their natural climate, I would do the following:
      -Put the seeds in some good aerated potting… perhaps mixed in with some sand to make a sandy loam.
      -Keep the soil moist (dont let it dry out but also avoid making sure it is not waterlogged).
      -From what I understand the seeds will be viable for a month or so and will germinate in 3-4 weeks.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes!

    • Hi Donna! Thomas’ comments are spot on. I will add that you need to start the seeds in deep pots, as the seed sends down a taproot. I started mine in cardboard egg cartons, and when I transplanted them the taproot was all curled up in the bottom. I’ve been growing them in pots (I started in Michigan and now live in Virginia, both places probably too cold for these guys!) and although they’ve done well, they haven’t thrived indoors.

  24. Hi Thomas, very interesting to read all of the cherry tree problems. I live in Perth West Australia and for the last few years we had quite a few yummy cherries, but this year after heaps of flowers, no cherries are appearing. Have you come across this problem? Our climate is warm temperate. Thanks, Lorraine.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Lorraine
      Great question.
      There are a lot of reasons why flowers may not convert to fruits.
      For younger plants it often has to do with the maturity of the plant.
      However, if you have gotten fruit in past seasons, then we can cross that off the list.

      Other things include pollination issues, nutrition, and climate.
      A major issue I have personally noticed with the Surinam Cherry (and of course other plants), is water issues. If it is extra hot and dry during the flowering and fruiting time, then they may not produce any fruit at all.

      Best of luck,

  25. Thanks Tom, it may be too late for new flowers this year, but I will fertilise, water and mulch anyway. We are also experiencing bee problems here (or lack of bees). So I think you may have have answered my query. Thanks again, Lorraine

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