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Growing Peanut Butter Fruit in Florida

Introduction

Peanut Butter Fruit Tree (Bunchosia glandulifera), also known as Monk’s Plum, is a perennial flowering plant native to Central America and South America. Other than ornamental value, the tree produces small orange-red fruits, almost one inch in size, with dense pulp, slightly juicy and sweet, resembling peanut butter in flavor and aroma. The fruits can be eaten fresh, as jellies, jam or preserves. The fruit’s appearance is like coffee and in Brazil is accordingly called caferana.

Peanut butter tree can grow as an evergreen tree up to about 23-26 ft although it can be pruned to be maintained to a smaller size.

Climate Requirements

Peanut butter tree is a tropical tree and needs full sun and warm weather to grow and it cannot survive in freezing temperatures. Although the tree is native to South America, fruit enthusiasts grow it in Australia as well as in the United States in Florida, California, and Hawaii. Peanut butter tree belongs to USDA hardiness zone 10, meaning young plants should be protected from freezing and mature trees can tolerate temperatures as low as 28°F. The tree is a tropical tree, and it does not need chill hours.

Flowering and Pollination

Peanut butter tree flowers in spring and summer. The flowers are small and yellow and appear in May then they will turn into clusters of green fruits. Fruits change into light orange and then dark red when they become fully ripe. The tree may flower two times a year. The flowers are self-fertile. It takes 2-3 years until the tree producing fruit is propagated from the seed.

Soil and Fertilizer requirements

Peanut butter tree needs well-drained soil with high organic content. It prefers neutral to slightly acidic soil (pH 6.1-7.5).

Water requirements

After planting a young tree, water daily during the growing season until the root system establishes. In hot weather, trees need more water. Mature trees (> 3 years old) need less water compared to young trees and the trees in containers.

Propagation

Usually, it is propagated using seeds or stem cutting. Seeds may germinate in 2-4 weeks.

Pest and disease

Few pests and diseases have been reported for peanut butter trees such as fungal disease and aphids.