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Growing the exotic Wax Jambu tree

Wax Jambu 

(syzygium samarangense)

(AKA: Eugenia javanica)


Wax Jambu tree overview:

  • The Wax Jambu is a dense evergreen tree that produces an abundance of beautiful and refreshing fruit.
Mature Wax Jambu fruit

Mature Wax Jambu fruit (August)

Note: This plant/fruit is known by many names (see the bottom of this article for a list of names). I don’t think that one name is necessarily better than another.  However, I will mainly use the name Wax Jambu in this article for convenience.

Wax Jambu fruit appearance:

Fruit Shape:

  • The fruit is basically bell-shaped.
  • The bottom part of the bell often has what looks like a little beard.  This is hair is basically the dried up remnants of the flower’s stamen and it is easily removed with a blast of water. I have also noticed that ants like to hide out in this area though, so it is not a bad idea to blast the fruit with water outside your home.

Fruit Color:

  • Different varieties of Wax Jambu will have different colors of mature fruit that range from white, pale green, green to red, pink, red, purple, deep purple and even black.
  • This variation in options is pretty cool, but can be challenging if you mix up your plant identification at harvest time. This is because most of the darker color fruit will go through the color stages of other fruit before it is ripe.  For example, the red fruit I have starts off pale green, then turns to pink before it gets to the optimal ripe color of red.
  • The skin of the fruit is easily damaged and therefore commercial transport is challenging.
  • I have also noticed that young fruit can get sunburn when developing.  This makes the fruit brown, soft and deformed on the sunburnt side.   However, full sun exposure does not seem to bother more mature/colored fruit.

Fruit Size:

  • The fruit can range in size from about 5–8 cm long.

Fruit Inside:

  • The flesh is white.
  • The flesh is dense on the outside and fluffy on the inside.


Below is a pictorial progression of fruit formation;

from flower to ripe fruit.

Wax Jambu flowers and flower buds

Wax Jambu flowers and flower buds. (This pic June)

Very early Wax Jambu fruit formation

Very early Wax Jambu fruit formation  (This pic taken in June)

Early Wax Jambu fruit formation (starting to take shape)

Early Wax Jambu fruit formation.  Fruit are starting to take shape.  (This pic taken in July)

Ripening Wax Jambu Fruit

Ripening Wax Jambu Fruit. Green to white fruit in background are not as ripe as the pink fruit in the foreground. (This pic taken in July)

Mature Wax Jambu ready to pick

Mature Wax Jambu ready to pick


Wax Jambu fruit taste:


  • The Wax Jambu fruit is crisp and refreshing; Imagine a very crisp and light apple… and then take that idea further.
  • Overall, the fruit is pretty light weight.  However, the outer of the fruit most dense and it is surprisingly juicy.
  • The inner-core part of the fruit is a fluffy-almost spongy mesh.
  • This central fluffy stuff surrounds a seed (if a seed is present).


  • The outer layer of the fruit is also where most of the flavor is.
  • The flavor is very light, mildly sweet, not tart.
  • The best way I can describe the flavor is that of rose water.


Wax Jambu fruit season: 

  • For me, the main season in Southern California has been July to September.  However, flowers and fruit continue to appear past this date.  They will keep going as long as there is enough warmth and moisture.
  • Knowing the specific variety of fruit you have will be very helpful when trying to determine the optimal color/time for ripeness (see the section above titled “Wax Jambu fruit appearance”).
  • However, regardless of the expected color of the fruit when ripe, the fruit will develop a glossy sheen when ready.
  • That sheen, can look a bit waxy… thus some of the common names for the fruit (wax jambu, wax apple)
  • I have seen several references that state that a single tree can produce as much as 700 pounds of fruit per year. Considering how light this fruit is, that is a whole lot of produce!
Cut Wax Jambu Showing small seed

Cut Wax Jambu Showing a small seed


Landscaping use: 

  • The Wax Jambu is a fast growing tropical shrubby-tree with dense evergreen foliage.
  • The tree is said to grow up to 12 m tall in the tropics.  However, I suspect that the mature height in California would be less.
  • Depending on the time of year, the numerous flowers or bright fruit hanging on the tree can be beautiful sight for your yard.
  • The tree can produce a lot of fruit per branch.  As a result, top branches can be bent down to the ground and sometimes break from the weight of the fruit.  Thinning out the fruit or supporting the heavy fruit-laden branches is likely a good idea.
Lots of fruit in the blurry background (black arrows), the weight of which breaks the branch in the foreground (white arrow)

Lots of fruit in the blurry-background (black arrows).  The weight the fruit breaks the branch as you can see in the foreground (white arrow)


  • The Wax Jambu flowers are pretty cool looking.
  • The flowers almost look like white pompoms or something you might see in a James Cameron movie.
  • I have seen images of trees in the tropics where the flowers can be found on nearly every part of the trees trunk or branches.  However, around here, I have only noticed the flowers and fruit growing at the ends of branches.
  • Flowers often form from June to August.
Awesome Wax Jambu Flower

Awesome Wax Jambu Flower



  • In my area, honey bees seem to be the major visitor of this flower.



Branch cuttings:

  • About a year ago, I accidentally broke off a small Wax Jambu branch while messing around.
  • So then I felt bad… and I put the broken branch in some ordinary tap water by the window.
  • To my amazement, the thing rooted (a lot).
  • I put the rooted branch in a container with ordinary soil and then transplanted the new tree my the yard.
  • The only initial problem was sunburn on the leaves when I moved it from my kitchen window to out in the yard.
  • Otherwise, this unexpected-free new tree is growing great!
    • (see pictures below of the growing progression one newly rooted  plant)
  • So my point here is that it seems pretty darn easy to propagate this plant.


  • Some seeds look small and I suspect that these small ones are either immature or aborted.
  • However, some seeds are rather robust looking and took like they would also grow easily.
  • I’ll work on growing some from seed as one of my next projects.
Rooting Wax Jambu cutting inside kitchen window.

Rooting Wax Jambu cutting inside kitchen window. (January 6th 2014)

Rooted Wax Jabmu Cutting

Rooted Wax Jabmu Cutting (January 6th 2014)

Newly transplanted Wax Jambu cutting showing new growth and evidence of sunburn

Newly transplanted Wax Jambu cutting showing new growth and evidence of sunburn on slightly older leaves. (May 24th 2014)

Wac Jambu cutting has now turned into new tree

Wax Jambu cutting has now turned into new tree (July 27th 2014)




  • I water most of my plants 3x week in the summer.
  • For established trees, I back way off in the wet winters.
  • Covering the ground around the base of the tree with a good layer of wood mulch will help to retain moisture in the summer.
  • I also suspect that this plant needs well draining soil.
  • I have all of my Wax Jambu trees on some sort of slope. This allows excellent drainage and also avoids the collection of cold air in the winter.



  • Full



  • I have not found what I consider to be reliable information about fertilization for the Wax Jambu tree.
  • I currently feed it with about half the dose of fertilizer that I would give my citrus trees.
  • However, based on how fast these trees are now growing, I think I might have to cut back on the fertilization.
  • The soil I use at planting is pretty rich, so I am sure that is a contributing factor.



Location, location, location:

  • The Wax Jambu is considered a tropical/Subtropical tree.
  • Therefore, you should plant this tree in one of the warmest parts of your yard.
  • Specifically, avoid planting in low lying depressions or heavy shaded areas of your yard that will collect cold air in the winter.
  • I have noticed that this tree does loose about a third of its leaves in the winter, but quickly grows them back in the summer.


Winter Protection:

  • Some have said that you need serious structural protection (such as a greenhouse) to have this tree produce fruit in Southern California.
  • However, that has not my experience; I have lots of fruit with no major structural protection provided.
  • My trees are planted out in the open.
  • However, I do try to cover my tropical/subtropical plants with a frost cloth/blanket when we have a below freezing  cold spell in the winter.
  • The key to using this frost cloth it to make sure it goes all the way to the ground to protect the trunk.
  • I make a kindof pillow-case out of the frost cloth with the help of duck tape. These ‘pillow cases’ are easy to make and you can quickly throw them over to cover a tree.
  • You can get frost cloth/frost blanket at various agriculture/farming stores.  However, I have seen that Amazon has some great options.  Below is a link to one option that has awesome reviews.
  • Plant protection/Frost blanket.


USDA Plant Hardiness Zones:



Ants & Aphids:

  • I have 4 Wax Jambu trees growing in different parts of the yard and they all seem to be a favored target of ants and the aphids they bring in.
  • Overall, they only seem to attack young leaves and flower buds.
  • I sometimes spray the ants & aphids off with a garden hose, which works for about a day.
  • Using my citrus leaf miner spray mix of horticulture oil and spinosad works great for about a week or two… Then the spray may need to be reapplied.



  • For most of my other fruit trees, I use Tanglefoot as an organic prevention tool.
  • However, Tanglefoot is more challenging to use on the Wax Jambu due to the bushy architecture of this tree.
  • The reason is that TangleFoot is typically applied around the trunk of a tree to prevent unwanted guests from crawling up.
  • This is great for most fruit trees.  However, the Wax Jambu is more of a big bush.  Therefore, there are a lot of branches hanging down that act like a bug-bridge around the TangleFoot barrier.
  • Note:  If you do use Tangle Foot (which is a great product), don’t apply the Tanglefoot directly to the bark because the bark can be easily damaged by direct contact.  Create a skirt of masking tape around the trunk of the tree (with the sticky-side out) or get the specific Tanglefoot guard paper wrap.  Then add the Tanglefoot goop onto that skirt/paper.


Birds & Squirrels:

  • These pesky animals haven’t seemed to fully notice the Wax Jambu fruit yet.
  • Perhaps it is so foreign to them that they haven’t figured out that this fruit could be on the main menu.

Scare tape: 

  • That being said, I did notice a few bird peck marks on some of the fruit early on in the season. I suspect they were trying to figure this new offering out.
  • When I noticed the evidence of those curious birds, I put up bird scare tape tied to a branch next-to the fruit,  This has been keeping the aerial and ground raiders away.


  • Recently, I have also been experimenting with mylar pinwheels for the same animal-scare purpose.
  • I just tie the mylar pinwheels to a nearby stake or branch and make sure they can spin freely in the wind.
  • So far it has been working great too.
    • I often get things like this on Amazon for a good price.  However, the current price that I found for this product on Amazon costs more than the price that I stumbled upon at Target.   Here is the Amazon link for reference.  Either way they are cheap, but I got the same exact product at Target for 99 cents each.
    • Note: If you are looking around at Target (or perhaps at any other similar store), I found these mylar pinwheels in the kids toy section of the store.  Unfortunately, I suspect that this product is a seasonal thing.
    • Is it worth the cost of gas for a special trip to Target to save a bit on price?…. Well, probably not.  However, if you are going to a store like Target anyways, it is worth checking out.
Ants and aphids on a young Wax Jambu leaf

Ants and aphids on a young Wax Jambu leaf

Fruit Use:

  • The Wax Jambu is a refreshing treat just picked fresh off the tree.
  • In its native growing region, the fruit is also frequently used in salads and lightly sautéed dishes.
  • Some parts of the tropics also pickle the fruit.
Bowl of Wax Jambu.  Yum!

Bowl of Wax Jambu.


Other names for this fruit:

  • This fruit has a lot of names… many of them are some version of apple.  Example, Jambu ample, wax apple, love apple, java apple, royal apple, Jamaican apple, water apple, mountain apple, cloud apple, rose apple.
  • Due to the shape, the fruit is also known as bell fruit or bellfruit.
  • There are many regional names for this fruit.
    • Jambu air (Indonesian and Malay)
    • Champoo (a transliteration of the Thai name)
    • lembu or lian-woo (from the native Taiwanese name)
    • Makopa  (Philippines).
    • Jaamrool (Bengali language)


  • The plant is native to South East Asia (specifically the Greater Sunda Islands, Malay Peninsula and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands)



About Thomas Osborne, MD

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


  1. Thank you for this information; very entertaining and informative to read. I enjoy your website very much. My husband wants our yard with edible plants only; we compromised and we have flowering plants and edible ones. This fruit is one of my favorite in the world; thank you so much for the advice.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Your very welcome Mrs. Illich
      Your plans sound exciting.
      Good luck with everything and keep us in the loop.
      Happy to help out as needed.
      Best, Tom

      • Hi!
        I recently purchased wax Jambi plant from top tropicals and I believe they are from Florida.
        I live in Concord, CA – zone 9b. Can you please give me some tips how to grow this and sugar apple?
        Thank you.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hi Beng
          Thanks for the note.
          Sounds like we live in a very similar growing zone.
          Is there something specific I can answer that is not covered in the article?

        • Hi,
          I live in Hayward, CA and am looking for a wax Jambu tree. Could you please let me know where I can buy one or get a cutting?

          • Sharmila,

            I had just purchased a Makopa tree online from kensnursery.com in Florida. The tree is almost 2 feet tall and arrives nicely packaged. I too live in the Bay area and keeping my fingers crossed that it will mature and produce fruit at some time.

  2. Hello dr. Osborne. Thanks for all your good imformation. I want to add that in Thailand the locals call the fruit Rose Apple. It is very yummy! A nice tree for any yard. I am growing cashew nut tree here in St Augustine and will keep you posted on its progress! Great to meet a fellow edible landscaper! What do you know about kiwi vines, passion fruit vines? Just curious I may try these in our community beach garden here. Thank you, Terry

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Terry
      Sorry that I am just getting back to you now-I was out of town giving a lecture.

      But yes, I agree, the wax jambu are very yummy!
      Speaking of Thailand… one the varieties of wax jambu I am growing is called “Thai Green” and it is extra sweet and juicy.

      Great to hear about that you are growing cashew nut tree!
      I have only read about it so I am looking forward to hearing about your experience.

      As far as Kiwi vines:
      I have not tried growing them either.
      They are so easy and cheap for me to get at the store that I have decided to use my limited real estate and water growing the harder to find stuff.
      They are attractive plants though.
      The biggest thing to factor in with them is that most varieties most require both a non-fruiting male plant and a female plant that flower at the same time. 1 male vine will pollinate about 8 female vines.

      Passion Fruit:
      I have started growing some from seeds.
      My experience so far is that they take a long time to germinate.
      Interestingly, seeds from the same fruit will germinate up to months apart (quite a range).
      They like full sun and moist soil.
      Most sources report that they live about 5 to 7 years, so grow them where you will be able to pull them down easily when they die.
      Anyhow, I am at the early stages with them and will report more when I have some momentum.

      Thanks again for your note and great comments!


      • I enjoyed reading your posts… very informative and entertaining! Last summer, we bought a “Thai Green” jambu tree. The tree is about 6′ tall and new leaves are coming out and I’m hoping it will have fruits this summer. You mentioned that Thai green is juicy and sweet. Is the fruit green or it turns pale green or pink or red? What variety is the pale green/pinkish color wax jambu? They’re so good! Thank You!

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Thanks Nancy

          Great question.

          Tree mature enough to fruit:
          For me, the Thai Green Wax Jambu tree started to flower and fruit when it was around 5 to 6feet tall… so you might get some this season.

          When is the fruit ripe?:
          This is a tricky one.
          I had the same question myself about ripeness and I kept waiting for the fruit to change color like my other Wax Jambu varieties.
          I was waiting for some sort of change in the appearance of the fruit. However, the fruit stayed green till it fell off the tree… So the signs of ripeness are very subtle.

          Things to look for:
          The fruit does turn a slightly lighter shade of green when ripe.
          The fruit gets a somewhat more waxy look.
          The fruit gives a bit when squeezed when ready to eat.
          The longer you wait the sweeter the fruit.
          Wait too long and it goes bad or the squirrels get it.
          Hard to explain the nuance details for the optimal picking ripeness of this fruit. takes some trial and error.
          Just keep an eye on things and sample as you go.

          Hope this helps,

          • Thank you so much for the info on when the jambu fruit is ready. Hope I get to try them before the squirrels! They’ve been eating my apples, asian pears, persimons and guavas. Luckily, they leave my cherimoyas alone.

      • I agree with you on growing Kiwi’s. Don’t waste your time. My ex-wife tried to grow them for a number of years. I don’t think she got so much as a single fruit, despite buying a number of plants, male and female. The fruit is too cheap in the stores.

        As for growing passion fruit, I have become an expert! I bought my first plant at Lowe’s, a 5-gallon size for around $30 a little over a year ago. The plant grew so good and fast that I bought a second plant, this one at Green Thumb in Lake Forest. I got maybe 50 fruits the first year.

        The two plants form one continuous vine which is 35′ long. (If I had a longer fence, it would probably grow to 100′ in length or more.) The vine covers both sides of a sideyard fence with my neighbor. This spring I learned how to pollinate the flowers. Every evening I pollinate 30 to 50 flowers. Last year most of the flowers fell off and did not form fruit. This year a high percentage of the flowers are forming fruit. Within several weeks I expect to have over 200 fruits growing at one time. The vines flower until late fall. I may end up with 500 to 1,000 fruits this season.

        Last year I did not see any bees on the passion fruit vines. This spring I see a small number of bees every day. I believe the first year, the bees didn’t know what to do with the passion fruit flowers. I also have half a dozen lavender plants and the bees go crazy swarming all over the blossoms. So, those plants attracted the bees to my yard.k

        I would strongly recommend growing passion fruit vines. They are easy to grow, you can get a large volume of fruit, and the fruit is expensive in the stores. The negative is that the vines can get out of control and grow up tall trees. If you turn your back for a week, the vines can grow another 10′. They are like Jack and the Beanstock in the children’s story.

        P.S. I live in Laguna Niguel about 4 miles from the ocean.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hey Ron from Laguna Niguel!

          Thanks for the great note and insight.
          That is timely advice for me because I started growing some passion fruit from seed.
          They are about 8 inches tall at the moment and now I will be prepared for the “Jack and the Beanstalk” challenge you mentioned.
          Thanks Ron!


  3. About wax jambus – we have one that grows well but will not flower thus not producing fruit. Nowhere have I read it needs a mate. It’s been in the ground 3 years and is 7′ tall. We’re in zone 9b Any thoughts?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey CD
      Thanks for the comment.

      I agree:
      I dont believe that the wax jambu needs a mate. From what I understand, they are self fertile.

      Sorry to hear about the lack of flowers:
      I had to grow mine for several years before I got anything…
      The varieties of wax jambu that I have only started to fruit and flower after they got to about 5-6 f tall.
      So at 7 f, I would think you are there…. However, it could be a maturity thing, or a size thing for your particular variety.

      Your growing 9b zone should work for the wax jambu.
      However the specific microclimate it is growing in the yard could play a factor.
      They appreciate being in the warmest-brightest area of the yard (if you have a coastal climate). They also like well draining rich soil that doesn’t dry out.


      • I have the same problem. When I first bought it from the nursery there were small fruits but never grew into large fruits. I’ve had it about a year but it hasn’t flowered or grown fruits since. The tree is only about 3-4 feet tall though. It is in the brightest area of the yard. I live in L.A. area.

        How much water (gallons?) do you water each time when you water it 3 times a week? Also the trunk seems to be split into 3 smaller trunks instead of one main trunk. is that normal? (i’m not sure if I’m making any sense. I don’t know much about gardening and am still trying to learn).

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hey Julia
          Welcome to the site.

          Wax Jambu:
          The wax Jambu are great trees/fruit.
          I have planted 4 of them in the yard and I am happy to have them.

          Age to fruit:
          Many trees need to spend some time getting useto a new environment (getting established) before they start fruiting.
          When you first plant a tree, they are likely recovering from the shakeup of being planted. Using good planting practices can help reduce this issue. I wrote an article about this for reference see link. Best planting technique: 7 important steps

          Even when you plant perfectly, most plants put their energy into developing a good root system early on. So its not unusual to not get fruit for the first year after planting.

          A sickly tree can mean a lot of things (gophers, infection, poor nutrients/poor soil conditions, not enough water/too much water, wrong amount of light for the species, etc). All of this will decrease your chance of getting fruit.

          Growing Wax Jambu in Southern California:
          Southern California is not really the best environment for these subtropical/tropical plants.
          For this reason, it may not be the best beginner plant.
          It seems that Southern California is just a bit harsh for them (very hot and dry in the summer and a bit cold fr them in the winter).

          How much to water:
          As you know, this year has been particularly dry which may also have turned off their internal fruiting signals.
          The exact amount of water depends on your particular conditions, (soil, shade, micro-climate, etc).
          For most plants, deep occasional watering is better than frequent shallow watering.
          For this plant, it seems like they prefer at least a bit more water than say a typical citrus tree.
          However, like a citrus, the soil has to be well draining.
          Getting to the right amount for your conditions is a bit of trial and error as well as a balance with our limited water resources.

          Splitting may mean a few different things.
          Early branching of a trunk into several trunks is not big deal… as long as it works for your growing space.
          However, if the bark of the trunk split to expose the inside of the branch/trunk, than that might be an indication of a problem.

          Hope this helps.


  4. I know that this isn’t at all similar to wax apples, but do you grow cashew? It’s growing conditions are the equivalent of mango (same family), although might need more frost cloth. The fruit appendage is similar to wax apple, but sweeter; the nuts are rather difficult to prepare and are just extra.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Nate.
      I havent tried to grow cashews.
      But I have heard the same about them that you mentioned.
      It just seemed like too much of a hassle for me, esp when they are so easy to get at any store.
      I personally try the fruits that are difficult to find in the store.

      • Cashews actually grow a sweet fruit along with the nut. Cashew fruits are extremely sweet and perishable, but I’m still unsure if it’s worth time investing. If you want nuts, try growing macadamia (not as common than cashew nuts). There are a couple macadamia nut orchards in SoCal.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Thanks Nate
          Thant is interesting but I have not tried growing cashews. As you said, it did not seem to be worth the time when you can get them ez at the store.

          However, I have been growing macadamia nut trees for several years and they are very prolific. Awesome evergreen trees. The major problem is fighting the squirrel’s for the nuts (apparently they dont have squirrels in Hawaii and that is partly why they are grown commercially there). Anyhow, I am planing on writing an article on macadamia nut growing in SoCal soon.

          • have you tried setting up traps and the works? how old is you macadamia?

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Yea, traps work well for the squirrels. The only problem is what to do with the varmints once you catch them. It is illegal to relocate them. I recently wrote an article on some options and considerations about how to deal with squirrels.

  5. Thanks for all of your valuable information. All articles are interesting.
    I have learned that Wax Jambu likes shade, the fruit in the shadiest part of the tree will turn dark red, and sweet.


    Hope you have a Chinese friend to translate for you.

  6. Good morning Dr Osborne,

    I always great website.

    Thanks for sharing wax jambu accident propagation, I will certainly share it with friends and relatives in the Philippines. Wax jambu is called makopa back home and they have different varieties now imported from other countries.

    Thank you again for all your wonderful information. OBTW my jackfruit in 15-gal container got damaged from frost, can it recover do you think? It is now in the garage. I have this jackfruit for almost three years now and it is about 5-6 ft tall. I’m hoping to put it in the ground this spring.

    Again, thanks for the great website.

    Some links that you might be interested in:




    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Eleaser
      Thanks for the note.
      Makopa are a great treat and I was so surprised to discover how easy they are to grow from cuttings.

      As far as your Jack fruit…
      Growing in Southern California is about the edge-limit of their cold tolerance.
      I have planted 2 Jackfruit directly in the yard.
      I picked the sunniest warmest place I could find.

      I lost a young one due to a cold winter spell a few years back.
      Another one has survived several winters with the help of frost cloth and is now growing strong.
      I have been plucking the fruit off the plant to help it divert its energys to growing strong for a few years… and I think that also helps.
      I think I might let it grow a few fruit when it is about 4 or 5 years old.



  7. Hi Tom,
    I just stumbled across your blog while looking for a reason that my wax jambu (in San Diego) lost ~60% of it’s leaves in the last couple of weeks. Did the same happen to yours? The tree has been in the ground since April and was doing quite well prior. I noticed that you mentioned yearly leaf drop in the winter – was that more pronounced the first few years your trees were planted?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Greg
      Thanks for the question.

      Yea, I have 4 wax Jambu trees growing in my yard here in San Diego.
      One is located in a very protected location and it has only-ever lost just a few leaves.
      The other 3 Jambu are out in the elements and they get hit with more extreme temps.
      They tend to loose a significant amount of leaves when it is extra hot-dry and when it is extra cold.
      The most leaves that any one of them lost was after some hot-dry Santa Anna winds which resulted in about 40% leaf drop.
      Basically, I think we are pushing the climatic limits of this species here in San Diego.

      I didnt notice a difference in the relative loss in leaves based on plant age or time from planting.
      However, planting in the winter could be dangerous because of the expected extra stress.

      Good luck!

  8. hi doc, I was wondering if you had more details on rooting the cuttings in water. how long did it take to form roots? cut below a node? green wood, hard wood? how often to change water? etc. I’m attempting to do this now, its been two weeks nothing yet.

    and thanks for the great articles!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey JT
      Thanks for the note.
      Good questions about the rooting

      Rooting time:
      Honestly, when I put the broken branch in water I wasnt expecting it to root… I just felt bad that I broke it off.
      Therefore, I didnt pay attention to the exact timeline. However, I estimate that it was a few months before the cutting had enough roots to plant.

      Type of wood:
      It was all green wood. This in my experience is also the best way to root rosemary and other plants that I have tried. See my article on rooting rosemary.

      Change the water:
      I had the cutting by the kitchen sink so I would keep an eye on it. I would change the water every time it looked a bit murky… which was actually not that often. I do remember that I was surprised that the water seemed cleaner than other rooting water-for other cuttings. Perhaps this is just a coincidence. However, It could also be that the roots were somehow sucking up all of the organic material in the water.. who knows. Anyhow, I just changed the water when it didnt look clear.

      Sorry I dont confidently remember if it was above or below the node… However, I suspect the cutting was above the node.

      Good luck!

      • Originally planted from a little “shrublet” , 6″ high, it grew large, over 25 feet tall, almost torn down in hurricane 8 years ago, now regrown over 25 feet. The fruit is so voluminous it falls and ferments in South Florida heat and humidity. I love the fruit, but each fruit has 1 wormy larva inside each without exception.

        I break open fruit, eat a piece, but fear other worms. Any suggestions?

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hey Jack.

          Wax Jambu do seem to grow fast, but the ones I have are not nearly that big yet.
          Perhaps they never will in California. It seems that Florida might be a closer match to their native growing climate.

          Sorry to hear about the bugs…. Not sure what to say about that other than that really sucks!
          I have been lucky enough not to have worms in the fruit here yet… Perhaps it is something endemic to Florida.
          Do you happen to have some pics of the worms?
          If you do have pictures, I will post for you and see if anyone knows about the insects that you are dealing with and how to treat them.


  9. Hi Doc,

    Do you think I can grow this in a 18″ wide pot here in Houston TX? How fast does it grow? Can I keep this under 6′-7′ if I keep it trim like a peach/plum tree? As for care, what is the lowest temperature it can handle? Thanks.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi AC.
      Not sure if I replied to you yet… things have been a bit busy lately-just got back from giving a few lectures out of state.
      So please forgive me if I already wrote back to you.
      Anyways, I am sure you can grow wax jambu in pots… at least for a while. But for how long is unclear.
      They do grow fast so I suspect they would get root bound quickly.
      As always, the bigger the pot/container the better.
      I have never intentionally trimmed/pruned my wax jambu. They seem to be quite fine without it. However, if you are trying to control size, its worth a shot. I just dont have any direct experience with that myself.

  10. Thank you so much for useful info about jambu trees.. I was amazed to know that you grew a plant through jambu branch! May I know how long did you leave near the tap for jambu rooting before putting in the clear glass water? Or how long did it take it to root?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Ayesha
      Thanks for the note!

      I was actually totally amazed that the wax jambu rooted from a broken branch too.
      After I broke off the branch by accident, I pretty much put the cutting in water immediately.
      I kept it in a sunny window.
      I changed the water once and a while to make sure it was clean.
      Thats about it.
      Because I was not expecting it to root, I didnt really pay attention to the timeline…Perhaps a few months for the whole process. But I am just guessing.
      I think part of the success might be because the wood was fairly green.
      When I did a larger rosemary cutting/rooting experiment, using green wood cutting was much more successful than using an older woody cutting.
      See that rosemary cutting article for reference below.


  11. Dr. Osborne,

    Would you happen to know where I can find wax jambu tree or planting in San Diego? I have has Armstrong Garden look for quite some time without much success.

    Thank you for extremely informative blog!


    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Stephane

      Thanks for the great feedback.

      I have seen wax jambu trees at a few smaller specialty nurseries in San Diego.
      I have seen them at each of these places below (of course I would call ahead for pricing and selection).



      I also heard they have them here.


      Good luck!


    • I bought a Wax Apple tree this morning at Green Mart in Orange, CA. Their web site is:


      The price for a 5-gallon size with blossoms was $99.99. I estimate that they had at least 50 trees, maybe 100 of them.

      • Ron,

        Thanks for letting me know! I will have to check them out!


      • I bought my Black Pearl, Black Diamond,and Thai green wax apples from Champa Nursery in El Monte.They came in 7 gallons size and about 6′-7′ tall.All their trees are very reasonable .


    • Hi….l have grown this Wax Jambu Apple, or what we call MACOPA in the Phil, for about a year now, and it’s growing lots of flowers now. I live here in Los Angeles Area, and I think they just love our climate here.
      Fortunately, I am selling this fruit, because I get them from my nursery supplier who imports them from Florida. SO if you want to get one for yourself……just get back to me.
      how l wish l could post some of the pictures here.

      • Thomas Osborne, MD

        Hey May
        Yea, they do seem to really like Southern California.
        I do notice that they are a bit sensitive to hot/dry Santa Anna days. They seem to drop a lot of leaves then.
        A cold spell will also cause them to drop a bunch of leaves, but they do seem to recover quite well.

        Sorry I dont have an option to post pics.
        Ill have to look into how to enhance the site to allow that option.
        If anyone has any WordPress ideas/suggestions for plugins that allow posting of pictures, please let me know.


      • May,

        Thank you for your note. Are you offering to sell the fruit or a tree or a scion (tree branch)? And how much would you be selling these?

  12. Hi Dr. Osborne,

    I planted a longan tree about 6 months ago. At first, it appeared to be healthy and growing. However, only two young branhces appears to be healthy. the rest of the tree looks dull and drooping leaves- they are not quite yellow but not as green as it should be. I water every other day and apply sloww released fertilizer every 3 months. What have I done wrong here. Please help. Thank you.
    By the way, I bought the wax jambu tree from California Tropical in Vista. They have nice plant.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Van
      Thanks for the note.

      I have 5 longan trees (different varieties).
      Although they are closely related to lychee trees, longans seem to be happier on dryer ground than lychee.
      In my experience, I have found that longans dont need or like daily watering.
      I water them on a citrus schedule.

      With minimal fertilizer and my citrus watering schedule, the leaves are dark green and shiny.
      Of course I started by heavily augmenting the soil which I am sure helped with the nutrients in our normally poor soil.
      See my article on planting for reference.

      Based on what you mentioned, your daily watering may be a much for them.
      I would try cutting back on the watering to every other day.

      Hope this helps!

      Congrats on your Wac Jambu.
      What variety did you get?
      Looking forward to hearing more.


      • Thank you Dr. Osborne for your response. I will follow your advices and will keep you posted. My longan tree is a kohala.

        The wax jambu i got is pink/red variety. It is seedless, very crunchy and sweet. It is about 10 feet tall right now and yielded a lot of fruits last year. I can wait for it to flower.

        hanks again.

  13. Our wax apple tree is full of plum sized fruit but they are mostly green and turn pinkish red very slowly. I’ve picked some because I find that if we wait until they turn redder, we lose them – most fall off the tree or get buggy. Please let me know if you know the answers to questions below while I’m experimenting to find out:

    1) Is there a way to ripen them inside the house if picked too early, i.e. in a brown paper bag? In the indirect sun (like a tomatoe?)
    2) Do I actually have the green variety of wax jambu? Can they be best eaten now when they are green or partially pink?

    Thanks for your assistance!
    Amy in Miami, Florida

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Amy.
      Great questions.
      I have been down the same road.

      One of the great things about the wax apple is that there are different varieties that each may have a wide range of fruit colors ranging from nearly black to purple, white, pink and green. So this can make it tricky to know when to pick an unknown variety.

      For example, one of my wax jambu/wax apple trees produces green fruit… But I didnt know it at the first harvest. It took me having to see fruit fall to the ground before I tried some green fruit. So if yous are at this point now, that might be a clue that you are in the picking stage… On the other hand, it could be that the plant is just not in the right place to hold on the the fruit and is dropping the fruit prematurely. This is a difficult quandary.

      One thing that I noticed that may help you…
      I have noticed that the skin of the fruit gets a waxy sheen on it when it is ripe.
      I am assuming this is where we get the “wax” part of the fruit name.
      So that’s one f the tings I look for.

      Of course, tasty trial and error is another option.

      Once you know that plants optimal ripe, then I would put a tag on the tree for next year.

      Let me know how the tasting goes.


  14. Christian Swarray

    Dr Osbourn. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with me which i appreciate greatly. I live in Sierra Leone and we call Wax Jambu here Bell Apple or Rose Apple. I had just planted 2 cuttings today and was asking what else to do to expect a sweet fruit in the future. May i ask if your Apples sold in our country can grow from seed ? I will like to try it even if it does not produce fruit for our climate is at times hot and humid. I have also planted Date Palm for its ornamental tree. Looking forward to hearing from you. Christian.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Christian
      Thank you for the question.

      You asked for additional advice about how to make your Wax Jambu fruit sweet.
      The sweetness of the fruit will depend on two major factors.
      1. The health of the tree and how it is nurtured (I suggest to follow the suggestions in the article).
      2. When you pick the fruit will also impact the sweetness of the fruit. Knowing the best time to pick the fruit can be tricky and that may take some experience.

      Your question about growing from seed:
      I have not grown Wax Jambu from seed so I do not have direct experience with that.
      Perhaps another reader may have some insight.

      Best to you.

  15. Dr. OSBORNE,
    do you mind mailing some of the seeds from the thai green wax jambu?
    I’m up in northern california. My sister brought back seeds of the red type and I was able to get it to sprout.
    I like to try the thai green wax one and push the limit here. I am in the process of building a greenhouse. Hopefully, it will be up by the time winter arrives.

    • Hi Kyna

      Thanks for the note.
      My green wax jambu fruit are all gone this year… Yum and bummer at the same time.
      Perhaps next year.


  16. Very informative article, thanks! A few questions:

    When is the right time to plant a wax jambu in Southern California? (I’m in Pasadena)
    Which one is your favorite for taste?

    A second question on loquats. (I’m new to planting subtropicals aside from citrus.) I put in a Loquat in April. It appeared to do well until August, then most leaves browned and dropped, and over the course of the next month, the new green growth died as well.
    It was well watered and the moisture meter said “moist” or “wet” when I checked it. My possibilities on what went wrong include overwatering, not protecting it from the sun as a new planting, or the very hot days we had; I’ve read that loquats may drop leaves in response to heat stress.

    Any thoughts on the loquat?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey El

      Thanks for the note and great questions.

      What is the best time to plant Wax Jambu?
      I have not intentionally experimented with the best time of year to plant wax Jambu.
      However, I have planted Wax Jambu at different times of the year and they are all growing great for me.
      None the less, based on experience with other similar trees (such as loquat’s), spring would likely be the optimal time to plant.
      My general planting guide may help. Check out that article titled, Best planting technique: 7 important steps

      My favorite variety of Wax Jambu?
      Well that is a difficult question.
      I do like them all.

      Loquat leaf drop:
      Yep, they don’t seem to like hot dry weather and they do drop their leaves when stressed.
      This is esp true for the young-trees before they get established.
      I also absolutely agree, too much water can also be a problem resulting in root-rot… which then limits the plants ability to get water.
      Its a catch 22 and a tough balance.

  17. Thanks! I’ll try again with a loquat, this time in early March rather than late April. And I’ll pick a pink or red wax jambu for the color alone.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey EL
      Sounds like a good plan.

      Side note:
      I have a Green Wax Jambu that is very sweet, but it can be difficult to tell if it is ripe.
      The white ones can be tricky too.
      They are also dark purple varieties of wax jambu as well.

  18. Thank you Osborne for your post. I live in Nigeria. I am thinking of commercial growing the various varieties of Wax Jambu in Nigeria and exporting it to USA, Europe and Asia countries. Is this a possible project in terms of demand of Bell Apple Fruits in oversea countries in Asia, Europe and America? Where can I get various varieties of Wax Jambu seeds to buy? Hoping to get a helpful advice from you. Send your advice to my email address provided. Thank you.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Omorodion

      There is definitely an increased demand for Asian specialty produce etc.
      As you can imagine, this is especially true for people living in another country and are looking for foods that remind them from home.
      However, I personally do not know the demand levels for specific fruits such as the Wax Jambu/Bell apple.
      Perhaps another reader has some more specific ideas or data top share with you.

      Wax Jambu seeds:
      You can propagate Wax Jambu many ways, but the fastest way to get fruit that is true to the variety that you want is through cuttings/grafting plants. Seeds will take longer to produce trees that will fruit and the seeds may not end up producing the exact fruit type you are looking for.
      Again, opening up this to the group in the event that someone else may have some seeds to sell you or additional ideas.

      Another idea:
      Another idea I would consider for you is to also grow some additional crops that I am pretty sure are in high demand.
      I have heard that Chinese herbal practitioners are looking for good quality organic supplies because they are hard to find.
      Therefore, if I was looking to grow a crop with a potential for high demand and high margins, I would strongly consider growing medicinal Chinese herbs.

      Good luck!

  19. Hi Dr Osborne,

    My wax jambu tree falling most of it’s leaves about a month ago. The tip of the branches turning black and dying. What’s happening to my tree and hoa can I rescue it…Thank you

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Van
      That is terrible. Sorry to hear that.
      There are several possible options.
      What part of the world do you live in and what has the weather been like.
      Do you happen to have any pics?

  20. Hello Dr. Osborne,

    I live in northern California and I am very interested in growing a Jambu tree myself! However I am having trouble acquiring one. May I ask where you got yours??



    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Su
      Thanks for the note.

      N. California:
      I am not familiar with the nurseries in Northern California, but you might find some online stores that will send you something.

      Main Challenge:
      The main concern I would have if I was in your location is the winter temperatures.
      These Jambu plants don’t like the cold. Therefore, I would want to be sure that your local climate could support the plant before trying to grow it outside.
      …unless you are growing in a greenhouse or want to try to push the threshold with something like frost protection techniques.

      I have a few articles that may help you with your objectives:

      For further reading:
      Climate Zones: What can I grow in my yard?

      Frost protection article

      • Dear Dr. Osborne,

        Thanks for your reply! I will probably start out with other tree then since I currently have another tropical fruit tree (mango) that is struggling



  21. vigneshwar maruthapillai


  22. Ultra helpful, thanks Dr Osborne!

  23. Elizabeth Bailes

    Just hearing about this plant/ fruit is good for cancer patients!
    I love in winter park fl
    Can I grow one here
    My Chinese dr /accup says it is a healing fruit

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Elizabeth
      It is a great fruit/tree and I would expect that the climate is suitable for it to grow throughout Florida.
      That would be exciting if it was a “healing fruit.” I really just like the taste/look and dont have any objective data about the medicinal properties of the tree. Please let us know if you find anything about that is a respected journal.

  24. Hi. I would like to keep the bush/tree to about 6ft through pruning. do you think this is possible? thanks, lesley

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Lesley
      Good question.
      I have not tried pruning my Wax Jambu trees, so I dont have any direct experience here.
      However, I would think that they would at least tolerate frequent pruning of small branches to keep them in check.
      Cutting major larger limbs can be an issue with some other plants and therefore could be an issue here too.. but I just dont know myself.
      Overall however, they seem to be rather robust if they are protected from cold and given the water/soil they need throughout the year.

      Perhaps another reader can provide more definitive insight.

  25. I want to buy a wax jambu tree. Would you tell me the differences between black pearl and black diamond varieties, and which one you prefer? Thanks.


    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Trang
      Great question.
      I have read that the Black Pearl is a sought after variety.
      However, I have not personally had the privileged of trying the black pearl or the black diamond varieties.
      Please let me know what you find out.

      • ijust saw your video, my grandfather had that in his backyard…it is not called macopa…it is called “tambis”…macopa is different it being maroon and has a strong taste..

        • not a lot of people knew abut this kind of fruit…. i came from the philippines too…..the couplefrom thevideo probably hadnt seen a fruit like this yet but wegrew up eating this fruit among others like durian, mangosteen, starapple…..etc..

  26. Wax Jambu or wax apple is a delicious and popular fruit and now an important crop for Taiwan export particularly to China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada. It is cultivated mainly in Southern Taiwan.

  27. Hi

    I am happy to read ur article and i would like to know if you have done propagation of this tree from seeds. if you please share the details.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Naresh
      Thank you for ur note.
      As it turns out, most of my fruit is seedless.
      Just an occasional seed is sometimes present in a fruit.
      I havent had much of an opportunity to try growing from seed.

  28. Hello Thomas, interested to know what steps are in volved in getting your wax jambu cutting to root

    I’ve tried cuttings with rooting hormone in potting mix and never had any luck

    I can see you have taken new growth cuttings and put them in water is that all you did ti get them to root ?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Hammond
      Yea, it was a simple as that.
      Clean water, filtered light and nothing else.
      Good luck!

  29. Hey Dr O!
    I am an ophtho in se florida with a love of rare tropical fruit trees like you! I have a wax jambu that I had planted a yr ago aprox 6ft, now easily 15ft and covered with fruit of all sizes and blossoms, but dropping fruit as well. They are all green, although the plant was supposed to have been red fruited. Last yr I had a handful of fruit but all dropped with possible maggots (carribean fruit fly?) but this year I have sprayed with sevin and no evidence of bites/larvae…tasted the dropped fruit and resinous and unpleasant, nothing like the delicious fruit Ive tasted in the past..im assuming still unripe. Is this common/normal ie/making room for fewer but larger fruits, or is this indicative of a problem? Well drained, good sun, regular fertilizer and water.
    BTW, I am also growing sweetheart lychee, gefner atemoya, bell carambola, cherry of rio grande, Jamaican cherry (strawberry tree), passionfruit (red, yellow, and giant), jaboticaba, pitaya (dragon fruit-thai giant and cosmic Charlie)), pitomba, loquat, centennial cumquat, sapodilla, monstera deliciosa, and various finger bannanas….all with varied success!
    Any advice would be appreciated!
    (I would have sent a pic but don’t see a way to attach)

    • We have a tall wax apple tree in our yard here in South Florida also. It has been producing prolific fruit for about 3 years, Since we planted a small male tree right next to it. Much of the fruit often falls before ripening, but we have been able to harvest the pinkest ones before they drop. (We have a tree company that sprays for us but I do not know what they use.) I have just hung a bird-net under the tree to see if we can catch the ripe fruit before it drops. The fruit is fragile so when it hits the ground it is often damaged. And the squirrels feast on it.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Larry
      Sounds like you have an awesome garden. Lots of amazing fruit trees!
      Thanks for the great question… that is a tricky question.
      When a plant drops prematurely drops fruit, it is usually means one of a few things.
      1. Plant too young/immature to support fruit.
      2. Fruit/flowers not adequately pollinated.
      3. Plant is stressed out about something.
      4. Self-thinning is also a possibility (as you suggested).


      Based on your fruiting experience last year, option 1 is possible… However, at 15 feet tall, I would think the tree is getting in the mature zone.

      Cross pollination always helps (even with self-fruitful plants), however, this is probably not a significant factor here.

      In my experience, plant stress is one of the most common causes of premature fruit drop. Common issues I have had is severe swings in temp and soil moisture.. esp in young trees. Bug infestations or gophers are another common issue to cause premature fruit drop.

      Self thinning is not something I have seen much with wax jambu… Suppose it is possible though.


  30. Dear DR. O and Dr. L,
    We have noticed fruit dropping this season in our South Florida yard; not only from our wax jambu but from our nine mango trees. An arborist here told me that this may be due to the fact that here in South Florida there was basically NO WINTER. The trees overproduced fruit and cannot maintain them all so they are dropping. I do not know whether this is good advice. But I have noticed that the blooming of various trees is unusually timed. Getting the fruits on the wax apple tree to ripen is not easy. The ones on top, exposed to the most sunlight, seem to do the best – and unfortunately are the hardest to reach!
    Anyone have ideas to help us harvest those?
    Thank you!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks Amy
      That is a very interesting option.
      Trees here in California are acting rather confused as well due to the weather.

      Per your question:
      Getting those top fruits is difficult.
      I try to keep my trees trimmed down to a height that makes it easier for me.
      There are also some fruit picking tools that can help.
      Heres an example of a popular fruit picking tool on Amazon with very good reviews.

  31. thank you for your responses..so far only about 10% fruit drop and plenty ripening on the tree…for now! This is my first wax jambu so I appreciate your observations. I do hope these turn out to be red or at least rose, if only from an aesthetic perspective…they have no rose/ red whatsoever, but again I believe they are still unripe. I do believe this fruit grows here despite a lack of winter as Ive had delicious samples from “Robert is here” fruit stand in homestead…my favorite place in the world, and a MUST STOP on the way to the keys or everglades national park for any exotic fruit lover!

  32. Dear Mr. Osborne,

    My name is Ely Martinez with ForemostCo in Miami. We are brokers and producers of young plant material. We have a customer in Saudi Arabia looking for the Wax Jambu plant. We need to export to him plugs/liners from either cuttings or from seed. I have found many big tree producers but I have not been able to find someone that produces these from young plants commercially.

    Do you know of any sources I could contact? If you do, do you mind sharing their information so I contact them? We need about 1000 plants and if we could find someone that can do this for us….will be great.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Best regards,

    Ely Martinez

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Ely
      Thanks for the note and good question.
      I know of some places that can help on smaller volumes but not on that scale.
      Ill think about it and perhaps another reader can share some ideas as well.

  33. Thought I would let you know that Dried Molasses thrown or applied around the yard will stop ants. I haven’t had ants in years. I don’t know how many applications you would need, but molasses is excellent for the yard and totally organic.
    Loved your article, just wish I knew the low temp that wax apples could withstand.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Carol
      Thanks for the great suggestion. I have never tried that but it is now on my list.
      Interesting… I would have thought that something sugary like molasses would attract ants. Guess there must be more to it.

      Regarding the temperature range of Wax Jambu/apple.
      I dont know for sure, but I suspect that they wouldnt like temps much colder than a Southern California winter. When it gets around freezing in my yard they really look sad and loose a lot of leaves all at once.


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