How to Grow Tamarind Tree | Growing Tamarind

Learn how to grow a tamarind tree in this complete article. Growing tamarind tree is easy, it’s a low care plant with a few requirements.how to grow Tamarind tree

USDA Zone — 9b to 11

Difficulty — Easy

Other Names — Tamarindus indica, tamarindo, tamarin, tamarinier, tamarinier des Indes, tamarindier, tamarinde, sampalok, asam jawa, ambli, imli, chinch, ma-kharm.

Tamarind tree is native to Africa and grows like a wild plant in Indian subcontinent. It’s also grown across Southeast Asia, South America and tropical parts of Australia and North America.

Information about Tamarind Tree

Tamarind is a slow-growing tree. It’s able to reach a height of 25 m and a circumference of 7 m, very long-lived, in fact, it can survive for more than 300 years.

growing tamarind
Tamarind flowers look beautiful like a mini orchid

Tamarind leaves are evergreen, like pinnate up to 15 cm long consisting of 10 – 12 pairs of leaflets. Its leaves somewhat looks like acacia leaves.
Tamarind flowers are grouped in inflorescence and have five yellow petals with red streaks. Pollination of flowers is entomophilous (pollinated by insects).

Tamarind fruits are legumes. Slightly curved, 10 to 15 cm long and have a brown color. Its seeds, 4 to 12 in each pod, make up 34% of the legume and are inserted into a yellowish or brown colored pulp that taste very sour and sweet but pleasant and represents most of the fruit.

Compared to other fruits, in tamarind, during the maturation phase the acidity does not decrease, while the hydrolysis of the starch leads to an accumulation of reducing sugar (sucrose).

Tamarind pulp contains 70% carbohydrate, 3% protein and less than 1% fat, it also contains tartaric acid (8-10%), which also occurs in other fruits like bananas and grapes.

Tamarind Tree Varieties

There are different types of tamarind varieties, among which include: Sweet Tamarind, Australian tamarind, Manila tamarind, Velvet tamarind, Spanish Tamarind.

Propagation

Tamarind is propagated by seeds, grafting, cuttings and air layering. Seeds are viable for many months.

How to Grow Tamarind Tree from Seed

Soak tamarind seeds overnight in warm water to speed up germination. Sow seeds 1/2 inches deep in good quality seed starting mix. Germination occurs within one or two week after sowing.

*Plants grown from seeds do not go into production before the 6 – 7 years after germination. So it is better to grow tamarind from cutting or buy a plant from nursery if you want quick results.

Planting Tamarind

Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball of the plant. Gently remove the plant from the pot and cut dead or damaged roots. Insert the root ball in the hole and fill the soil around root ball to maintain the tree trunk above the soil line. Firm the soil and water the plant thoroughly.

For commercial growers, the planting density is large because of well developed foliage and width tamarind tree needs, the spacing should be around 5 – 15 m, depending more on the variety.

Position For Growing Tamarind Tree

Tamarind prefers tropical and subtropical, dry and windy climate. It can adapt even to the warm temperate climate, but there it’ll not be very productive. Young plants can’t withstand the cold, while the adults are resistant to temperature till 28 degree Fahrenheit only.

Best planting position is in full sun. For flowering, fruit setting and fruit development, tamarind tree needs clear sky and drier days.

How to Grow Tamarind Tree in Cold Climatetamarind bonsai

Tamarind is a tropical tree, it endures mild winter but growing it outside in colder climate is definitely a bad idea. If you want to grow it, grow tamarind tree in pot and keep it indoors or in a greenhouse during winter. You can also make a beautiful bonsai of tamarind tree.

Tamarind Tree Growing Requirements

Sun

Tamarind loves full sun and heat.

Soil

Tamarind prefers deep loamy soil. It thrives in neutral, gritty, clay, even saline soil type. Soil should be well drained. For growing tamarind you don’t need to care about soil pH level. It grows in pH level around 4.5 – 9.

Watering

Water saplings deeply when the first inch of soil is dry to the touch. Once established, tamarind trees don’t need watering and can withstand periods of extreme drought conditions without experiencing adverse effects.

Fertilizer

Feed the tamarind plant with organic fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fertilize young trees with 6 – 6 – 3 (N – P – K) fertilizer every 2-3 month during season. Mature trees don’t need fertilizer but can be fertilized occasionally with 8 – 3 – 9 fertilizer to give a boost.

Application of compost and manure should be done too, to reduce the need of fertilizer.

Tamarind Tree Care

MulchingTAMARIND-04_mini

Spread 4 or 5 inches thick layer of mulch around tamarind tree at the beginning of each spring. This helps to protect the roots of the tree, prevents weed and keeps the soil moist, mimicking the effects of a natural forest floor.

Pruning

Prune your tamarind tree regularly to control its growth and maintain its shape. Remove dead and damaged wood from the plant.

Pests and Diseases

Tamarind tree is susceptible to pests like scales, mealy bugs, aphids and fruit borers. In diseases, it’s affected by root rot, sooty mold and leaf spot.

Tamarind Uses

Tamarind fruits are used for fresh consumption and for the preparation of juices, sauces, jams, beverages and syrups. Tamarind pulp is used in preparation of many South Asian cuisines and curry recipes.



7 COMMENTS

    • hi jenny,i saw your comment im a fan of tamarind and i have a plenty of tamarind from seeds training to be a bonsai and they are 3 years old now,do you have an fb ill show you my bonsai tamarind tree

        • Soak seeds for a day or two. Plant an inch below potting soil. keep covered in plastic wrap and water every couple of days, keeping the soil moist. It takes a couple of weeks to germinate. I kept mine on a north facing windowsill. Hope this helps!

        • Place your seeds in lukewarm water, and begin peeling the outter shells of the seeds off, until you are left with the soft, yellowish inner seed meat. Plant about an inch deep in natural fertile garden soil, or sprout in shallow warm water kept in a warm sunny place. Keep watered (I use a mister to keep the top soil most). You’ll want to transplant into contained 1-1/2 times the size of your seedling. Once the seedlings are about 5 or 6 years old, you’ll be able to transplant outside of you live in zones 10 or 11.

  1. I remember fondly a tamarind tree we had in our backyard in Puerto Rico. A year ago I bought some at the grocery store and decided to plant the seeds. Living in PA I never thought the seeds would germinate, but, alas to my surprise, after soaking the seed for about a week in water, and changing the water every couple of days, I planted the softened seed and voila tamarind plants, about 15 of them!

    Being dark cold December, at the time I made a light fixture on a table and religiously turn the light on at 6AM and off at 8PM. My plants grew rapidly. In late Spring I placed them in the porch facing East for sunshine and watered them sparingly once every 3-4 days. I now have plants 20″+ and I know they will not survive in PA, I plan to build an atrium in the middle of my living room. I will plant a couple of plants there and try to make bonsai with the rest. Now I need to learn how to prune the plants and learn more about the process. I am excited about this project.

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