Learn, how to grow jackfruit tree. If you live in a suitable climate and have space in your garden you can easily grow it.
Jackfruit is a giant melon size oblong fruit that is grown in the tropical parts of South-East Asia. Nowadays it is popularly cultivated in many other tropical and subtropical parts of the world.
USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 – 12, *can be grown in zone 9 with care
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral, around 5 – 7 pH
Jackfruit tree can’t tolerate frost and drought, even so it is a tough tree that can withstand severe temperatures. A mature tree can bear up to 118 F heat and if acclimated, about 32F cold temperature for short time. Some jackfruit varieties can reach up to 100 feet and there are some dwarf varieties like black gold that restrict up to only 10 – 20 feet height.
Jackfruit tree has a long life of more than 100 years. It bears the biggest fruits in the world, which weight anywhere between 10 – 110lb.
Why you should grow Jackfruit tree?
Well, it’s a life time investment; all parts of jack-fruit tree are useful. It is quite a handsome rustic tree that resembles oak, it provides shade, shelter and natural habitat to birds and pollinators.
A single tree provides enough home grown jack-fruit that not only you but your neighbors will get bored eating it.
It can also be propagated from stems but it is rather a difficult method, that is why seed germination is preferred. For this, take large seeds from fully ripe fruit and rinse them in warm water to remove sticky pulp. Sow the seeds immediately after that in a small pot so that you can transplant it later on the ground. You can also buy a grown up plant from a nearby garden center.
Choose a big open space of your garden that receives full sun, clear it from weeds and dig a hole. To ensure good drainage, mix 1/3 part of compost, sand, perlite and organic matter in a garden soil to prepare rich porous potting soil for planting. Transplant your healthiest plant in the dug space, water it and mulch all around.
*If you’re planting a grafted plant then don’t cover its bud patch from soil, otherwise it’ll rot down and die.
Watering and Fertilizing
Jack-fruit tree grows in hot and humid regions of Asia, where high rainfall is common. It means you need to water it often as it prefers moist, well drained soil but avoid over-watering especially when the plant is establishing in first two years.
Once in a year, in the beginning of rainy season in July or August, spread compost or farm manure adequately around the plant to boost it up. Feed it with slow release, balanced fertilizer twice in a year.
When the plant starts to bloom, feed it with 8-3-9 fertilizer by following manufacturer’s instruction for amount and rate.
Mulch heavily around the tree when temperature goes down below 35 F in winter to insulate roots from cold.
Do regular pruning to retain tree’s height below 20 feet. When it grows above 12 feet tall, reduce its main trunk to 8 feet to encourage the growth of dense branches.
Jack-fruit tree establishes after 3-4 years. During this period if it produces flowers pinch them off to promote growth.
Once in a month remove weeds around it to clear out the growing area as weeds drain the essential nutrients from healthy soil.
Mulch it in summer to save moisture and prevent weeds from growing.
Do you know that jackfruit is also used as a vegetable? It is a meat substitute for vegetarians. It is also called as vegetarian’s meat in Asia because of its texture, which is like a pork or chicken.
Its unripe fruit are used to prepare mouthwatering curry recipes, soups, puree and pickles.
Ripe fruits are sweet, aromatic and fibrous, which can be eaten alone or used in making syrups, pastries, cakes, and ice creams.
Within three to six years after planting, jack tree starts to flower and in two-three months after blossoming, young and unripe green skinned fruits are ready to be picked as vegetable.
Mature fruits are ready to harvest after four-five months of flowering when they exude sweet aroma and their skin turns from green to yellowish tinge.
*In native conditions it bears fruits year round but peak harvest season is summer.
Pests and Diseases
The most common pests that attacks it are jack-fruit borer, fruit flies and birds.
Jack-fruit borer affects all the parts of plant, but the use of organic insecticide is enough to deter it. On the other hand, covering the fruits is an handy option to save fruits from fruit flies and birds.