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.
USDA Zone: 9b to 11
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. 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.
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.
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 Climate
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
Tamarind loves full sun and heat.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Is it possible to get a tamarind to fruit if it’s indoors in a colder climate but in a sunroom?
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
hi, may i know how to plant tanmarind?detail from the seeds step by step?
because we want to plant in outdoor area
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.
i have 6 trees growing in pots when can i plant them in the ground
I would be interested in this!
Hello. I have tamarind seeds and want to plant them and eventually make a bonsai. To soak the seed in luke war for 1/2 days is not a clear step. I mean after 1 hour the water wont be warm anymore. Should i keep changing the water? And how do i peel the external part of the seed? Maybe just after soaking it becomes soft.
i have a room height tree indoors in an east facing room in Switzerland. I learned today that the leaves are edible – taste great too.
I have a wild tamarind growing close to my house. How far away should it be to ensure the roots don’t infiltrate my cistern?
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.
I would love to know more!
I have tamarind tree in full bloom and wanted to know how long it’ll mature to become a tamarind fruit?
6 or 7 years if it is in the right climate, but what kind of climate do you live in? It could affect how much it produces or even IF it produces…
Um.. his tree is perfetly fine, dear and mentioned that it was in bloom as flowered already.. he only asked how long it takes flowers to turn into pods? ☺
The flowers will turn into pods around two to three months and ready to harvest
I want to plant a tamarind tree in West Texas .. doy you think it will grow and give fruit?
Considering you’re in zone 7 or 8, you’ll need to take good care of it in winter.
Thanks. I’m 300km south of the Texas border in Mexico and wondering how my tiny trees will fare this winter. I was planning on bringing them inside. I’m hoping to plant them at the ranch in a couple years but not sure about the seasonal temperatures
Is it possible to grow a tamarind tree from cuttings?
Yes. It tells you in the article.
I have tamarind trees all around my state but we don’t know how to use it, in case anyone needs it, I can ship it to the person at little cost.
I have five sour tamarind plants/trees that I have planted from seed about 6-7 years. They are now each about 7-8 ft tall. I planted them in a cluster about 1 foot apart from each other. I am living in Central Florida and they appear to be disease free and thriving. I have not seen any blooms and am wondering if they will be appearing any time soon? I was hoping to sometime reap fruit but am very happy with my large fern looking bush as it is. Any help would be appreciated.
They say to plant a minimum of 5m apart. If only 1ft apart, the trunks will probably meld as 1 large trunk after some time, or start choking each other out.
Does Tamarind tree grow in Bay Area, Northern California? I bought a plant and it’s approx. 4 ft tall now. If so, can I plant it outside or only green house?
I NEEDED TO KNOW HOW LONG TILL FRUIT MATURES, REASON BEING IS THAT MY TREE LOOKS GORGEOUS IS FULL OF FRUIT BUT IS HARD,,,ALSO I LIVE IN SOUTH FLORIDA AROUND ZONE 9- 10…
ANY ADVICE WILL HELP….
Hi I live in the California, Monterey area, close to the coast. We get a lot of fog and some breezes from time to time. I would not say it gets hot here. Sandy soil. Don’t know what zone I’m in. Do you think I could grow a Tamarind tree?
My mom passed on just over a year ago & as we went through her belongings my attention turned to the few “pill bottles” that housed various seeds. I did not know they were tamarind when I planted them, no soaking, straight into the soil a good inch plus deep. I then watered, and covered, growing under light set-up & voila! I planted two of the seeds and they have broke through the soil & the first few fern-like fronds have emerged. I only realized last night what I have as my mom had started one of her own that my sister had taken possession of. Now I too will reap the rewards.
I am so excited as I am going to do my best to see how far I can go with these plants/trees. I live in Canada, so they will definitely have to winter indoors. We have hot, sunny & windy summers so fingers crossed!
I live in Connecticut. I tossed Tamarind seeds into my garden bed over the winter. They have emerged. I am going to pot them. I hope they survive! Good luck with yours!
I am leaving in India Maharashtra, I have 100 numbers of tamarind trees,I am not getting expected fruit .so kindly guide me.
Hello would someone explain how to grow tamirand into bonsai? Text my sideline number as it’s just an app with phone number not connected to any address or phone plan that I can change whenever I want 2534468384. I am seriously interested in growing a tamirand into a bonsai.
Help. I have a mature and healthy 20 year old tamarind tree but the fruits are very small. Any recommendations on what fertilizer to use? I feed it with steer manure once in a while.
പുളിയില ടെറസ്സിന്റെ മുകളിൽ വീണാൽ കോൺഗ്രീറ് ദ്രവിച്ചു പോകുമോ. എന്റെ വീടിന്റെ മുന്നിൽ അഞ്ചു പുളിമരം ഉണ്ട്
Ray Cruise, try using a fertilizer for “blooms” Miracle Grow has one that you add to water then water your plant.
we are having a very old tamarind tree (may be 70 yrs old) but till date it don’t have/grow fruit to it, flowers come and they all fell. can any one tell me the reason for it and how can it be fruitful.
Thanks for your article provided a lot of information. I like your post, keep going to bring good things to life. They are extremely beautiful.
I Have a tamarind plant upto what temperature in the winter would it survive through, thank you
I have a Tamarind tree growing in Central Florida..In April it started showing lots of flowers, Its the end of May, still no fruits, more and more flowers.
How long will it take to produce fruits? Thanks..
Hi, I am trying to grow a Tamarind tree from seed. I have soaked, peeled, and put between moist paper towels, and they keep getting slimy and rotting. Is there a surefire method for sprouting these seeds. Thanks