Big Bilimbi Cucumber Tree (averrhoa bilimbi) live fruit tree 2’-3’ feet tall
Stretching up 16 to 33 feet at maturity the Cucumber Tree has a short trunk with long upright branches. Sprouting from the trunk and the older branches, small fragrant flowers emerge for pollination. Vibrant dark green fruit turns ivory white when ripe and falls from the tree. The thin outer glossy skin surrounds the tender green flesh of the acidic, juicy, jelly-like fruit. Cultivated throughout the warmer tropical regions of the world Bilimbi requires 2 to 3 months of a dry season to remain productive.
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TROPICAL TREE CARE
Tropical trees grow happily while flowering and fruiting in a pot or in ground. They will add an edible accent to your outdoor space, garden or patio. In cooler zones a containerized tree can be relocated indoors for the winter months.
When you receive your new tree, there is no need to worry about planting right away. Your new plant can be stored for a while by simply placing it in a bucket with about a half inch of water and moving it to a shady location, simply keep moist. This will give you plenty of time to select the ideal location for your new tropical tree.
All tropical fruiting varieties grow very well in containers, indoors or on the patio. Smaller varieties grow best in 12″ to 16″ diameter pots while larger varieties need enough room for growth, generally a 16″ to 30″ diameter, a 14 ” deep container will suffice. Remember the looser the roots, the taller and healthier your tree will be. When the tree becomes root bound its growth will slow, at that point it is time for a larger pot.
SOIL Trees enjoy a well drained, general potting mix easily found at your local box store. Remember try to stay away from arid or wet, mucky soils.
To help establish your new Tree, fertilize sparingly ten inches away from the base, tri-annually with a slow time released product. Unfertilized they will tend to grow at a slower pace. Note: The heavy salts in cheaper fertilizers will damage the roots and possibly kill the plant. Its best to use a brand you know and trust.
GROW ZONE & LIGHT
Best outdoors if grown in zone 10a-11, find your zone here. This tree requires 80-100% sunlight. Depending on your location full sun is often best. In the northern end of their grow zone Trees should be brought indoors or protected during the winter months. The patio zone is 4b-11 which means the potted tree will flourish over the summer months in colder zones but must be brought inside before winter.
BEFORE YOU PLANT OUTDOORS
At the nursery these trees are grown under 20-40% shade cloth. If you plant this tree in a brightly lit area you may experience leaf burn. It is best to acclimate this plant to its environment by keeping it outside and slowly moving it into a sunny area over a week or two to avoid stress before planting.
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