Pushing Jabotacaba – Plinia cauliflora


by Bob G Cannon II

Plinia cauliflora, Jabuticaba is a small fruit-bearing tree native to the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo in southeastern Brazil. It is a member of the Myrtaceae Family. Jaboticaba is cauliflorous in habit – with flowers and fruit forming on the trunk and major branches. When in heavy flower a tree can appear as if the branches are covered in snow – later the branches are covered with deep purple/black fruits similar to a large grape in size.

Other common names include: Brazilian Grape Tree, Jabotica, Jabuticabeira, Guaperu, Guapuru, Hivapuru, Sabará and Yvapurũ. Related species in the genus Myrciaria, often referred to locally by the same common name, are native to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia. Growing in popularity as a dooryard fruit the Jaboticaba and its relatives remain rare due to the limited availability of plants and the fact that it cannot withstand freezing. Since the fruit is pleasant tasting it is much sought after by growers and collectors.

The Jaboticaba has a reputation of being somewhat slow of growth and slow to bear fruit. A fellow collector showed me his method to produce plants that not only grew faster but produced fruit sooner. In the late 1990’s I was visiting fellow rarefruiter Ron ‘Mango Ron‘ Hensley and this is the method he taught me with plants growing in containers sized from a few inches tall to over 4 foot. The larger plants (3-4ft) had some fruit in season. All were ungrafted seedlings.

The plants were grown in plastic pots in a soil free potting mix similar to several available commercially. Each pot was placed into a saucer that extended 2 to 3 inches from the base of the pots. Ron would water frequently and then fill the saucers with water each day. Ron also said that sometimes in summer he filled the saucers twice in a day. (Ron let the saucers become dry between filling). Plants not so treated exhibited the ‘normal’ slow growth pattern while saucered plants all showed more growth and started fruiting at a younger age. Fertilizer was used on plants under both conditions as needed.


You might want to try this yourself with Jaboticaba if you are growing them.


Leave a Reply