How to Grow Barbados Cherry | Care and Growing Acerola Cherry

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With delicious and juicy cherries on offer, growing Acerola is rewarding and fun! Learn everything on How to Grow Barbados Cherry! 

barbados cherry tree

Not only the Barbados Cherry is tasty, but it is also rich in vitamins! When the plant starts to get full of these bright red berries, it looks really beautiful in the garden! Let’s have a look at all the information you need on How to Grow Barbados Cherry! 

Botanical Name: Malpighia emarginata

USDA Zones: 9 – 11

Other Names: Acerola, West Indian cherry, Acerola cherry, Cerise des Antilles, Cerise de la barbade, Puerto Rican cherry

Check out our article on growing blueberries in containers here

How to Grow Barbados Cherry?

Barbados cherry can be propagated from cuttings and air layering. However, growing from air layering is not feasible. If you can get a plant from a nursery, nothing like it! 

From Cuttings

  • Take 4-6 inches of a cutting from a healthy plant with atleast one leaf node.
  • Dip its end in a rooting hormone and plant it in a potting mix.
  • Make sure that it gets plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.

Here’s everything you need to know about growing mulberry in pots! 

Requirements for Growing Barbados Cherry


The plant does really well in plenty of bright and indirect light. If you are growing them in pots, keep them at a wet lit location. For gardens, choose a spot that gets dappled sunlight. Avoid keeping the plant in the harsh sun.


Rich and well-draining soil is best for growing Barbados Cherry. Barbados cherry tree prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil. Add lots of organic matter in the soil during the time of planting.


Water the plant thoroughly and wait till the top 1-2 inches of soil goes dry before the next watering schedule. Depending upon the climate, you may have to water the plant frequently or less. Do not keep the soil soggy as it will cause root rot.

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Caring for Barbados Cherry


Apply citrus fertilizer, once you start to see growth. Alternatively, you can also use 8-3-9  during the growing season. Follow the manufacturer’s directions with regard to the amount and timing of applying the fertilizer.


Spread a layer of 2 inches of mulch in a diameter of 3 feet around the tree. Straw, grass clippings or bark can be used to help retain moisture and keep the roots cooler in the summer heat. Keep the mulch at least 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree so that it does not hold up against the softwood and inflict rot.


Prune the tree in fall, after the harvest, to give it the desired shape. You can cut dead, damaged or diseased branches off at any time.

Pests and diseases

The most serious disease of Barbados cherry is a root-knot nematode. It can also be attacked by leaf spot, brown rot, and powdery mildew. Pests that might attack it are aphids, scales, borers, and whiteflies.

Harvesting and Storing

  • Pick the cherries when they turn to a bright shade of red from yellow.
  • During the fruiting season, the growth will be plenty. Harvest timely to save them falling off the tree.
  • The cherries can be kept for 3-4 days.

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  1. I just bought a Barbados Cherry Bush in a 2 Gallon pot an planted it in a larger pot an added root stimulate when I transplanted to larger pot. When should I fertilize it with a 8-3-9 Citrus Fertilizer.

  2. Something is eating my cherry trees leaves looks like Caterpillar…. what can i do to prevent this… an all natural way?

    • Zoe, make sure to water it once a day with a drip for say 15 minutes on days it isn’t going to rain. Spray with Alaska Fish Emulsion (2 tablespoons per gallon of water mixture) and if you can find it add Alaska Pure Kelp (2 tablespoons per gallon of water mixture) . Use as both a foliar spray and spray the ground. The foliar application will help give the tree some nutrition right away. Do the spraying sometime between dusk and dawn.

  3. We planted a Barbados cherry grown from an air layering. Took off fast and we have had the first fruit 11 months after planting.


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