Star Fruit Trees - Averrhoa carambola
The Star Fruit tree is a sub tropical species that is said to have fruit like and apple and grape with citrus undertones. Popular as a fresh fruit where the crisp 'apple like' texture is pleasing, it is also a fruit popular in restaurants for it decorative appearance. Excellent for juice, in a chicken salad, eaten fresh or as a topping for cakes.
The botanical name is Averrhoa carambola, commonly called the Carambola, the distinctive star shaped fruit give it its other common name. In their natural habitat Star Fruit trees will flower 4 - 5 times a year with the best fruit in summer.
Growing conditions and care.
Being a sub tropical fruit, USDA Zones 10 -11 are the most suitable. However with the right position, and some protection over winter in can be grown down to zone 9.
- A good sized mature tree can reach 15 - 25 ft in height depending on soil and climate.
- Grafted trees are recommended as they will fruit earlier than seedlings and are more reliable in fruit quality.
- Good moisture levels year round are essential. The better the soil, and with good drainage the faster and larger the tree will grow.
- Star fruit trees will respond well to an all round, general purpose fertilizer applied in spring.
- Full sun and a protected position are essential.
- In cold climates tees will need to grown in containers and moved indoors if temperatures drop below 30 F. You could also fleece them
The fruit is harvested when it turns from green to yellow. It is best to do a little taste test before picking all of the fruit to get an understanding of the ripeness.
Pruning Star Fruit
Carambola trees grow all year round in tropical to sub tropical climates and therefore will require pruning to keep them to a manageable size.
Pruning should be carried out to allow good air flow and good light. This improves tree health and fruit quality.
You can prune Carambola trees fairly hard in warmer climates, they respond well and pruning will often trigger new growth and flowering.
Trees will need to be protected from birds, even in home gardens we suggest bird netting.