Planting & Care Tips for Your Star Fruit (Carambola) Tree
June 14, 2011
The Carambola, also called Star Fruit, is a small to medium sized tree that produces a juicy tropical fruit. The flavor combines those of the apple, grape and citrus and is crisp in texture. The fruit can be eaten fresh and is often used in salads and as a garnish due to its unique star shape.
When selecting a Star Fruit be sure it is fully yellow then allow to ripen on your counter until the fruit becomes golden and the ribs begin to brown. Some of the common varieties of Carambola include: King, Bell, Sri Kembangan, Arkin, and Fwang Tung. Once your Star Fruit is mature it is capable of producing up to 200 pounds of fruit a year.
TIPS for Growing Starfruit:
- Temperature: Thrive in subtropical and tropical climates. Zone 10 to 11, but can be grown in zone 9 with protection from frost. Older trees are more tolerant of frost, but growth stops at 55 to 60 degrees and prolonged exposure to temperatures below freezing could kill the tree.
- Best Dooryard Varieties: Arkin is the most commonly grown variety due to it sweeter flavor.
- Avg. Height and Width: Varies with the variety, but Carambola trees range from about 12 to 30 feet tall. They are a smaller tree perfect for the average homeowner’s yard.
- Native Range: Native to Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern China. Commercial production now occurs in Hawaii, Florida and other tropical regions of the world.
- Fertilize: 4 to 5 times a year with balanced liquid fertilizer or use a slow release granular fertilizer several times during the growing season.
- Water: Star Fruit does well with regular watering. Additional watering is not needed during the rainy season.
- Plant in full sun. Trees will do better in an area that is protected or sheltered from the wind.
- Soil: Carambola are not too particular of soil of types, but grow faster and produce more fruit in a soil with more organic matter. Needs good drainage and does not like wet feet.
We currently have the Arkin variety for sale in the Garden Shoppe and grow the Arkin and Fwang Tung varieties on the grounds of the Estates.
Visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe to see some of the varieties we have available. The horticulture staff is available to assist you and to answer any further questions you may have.