Tropical Fruit at a Glance—Carambola
by Jeff Wasielewski, Laura Vasquez and Jonathan H. Crane
Common name: Carambola (Star fruit)
Botanical name: Averrhoa carambola
Good varieties: Arkin, Fwang Tung, Kary, Sri Kembangan
About the fruit: When cut in a cross-section, the result is a star. Can be used in salads and eaten fresh.
Season: January/February and September/October.
Why you should consider it: The fruit is at its sweetest and best flavor picked when yellow color has developed along the fins but overripe if orange or dark orange in color. A tropical fruit workhorse, the carambola produces a large amount of fruit with very little effort.
Be aware: Needs wind protection for best tree growth, flowering, and blemish free fruit. Will require a fertilizer program to look its best. People who have been diagnosed with kidney disease should not eat carambola (star fruit) unless their doctor says that it is safe for them to eat. This fruit may contain enough oxalic acid to cause a rapid decline in renal function.
Pruning: The carambola takes very well to pruning and can be kept at eight to ten feet through annual selective pruning. Remove strong verticals and encourage lateral growth.
Planting: Make sure not to plant too deep. Dig the hole bigger than the container but refill the hole with the native soil so the plant’s first flare root is at or just above ground level. Protect the tree from mechanical damage (string trimmers and mowers).
Fertilizer: Use an 8-3-9 or something similar two to three times during the rainy season (May to October). Drench with chelated iron (EDDHA) and use a micro-element foliar spray two to three times from May to October.
For more information see: Carambola growing in the Florida home landscape https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg269.