Growing Jamaican Strawberry Tree

This is an on-going documentary of my experiences growing in Florida and pictures of other people’s trees on their home property.

Other names

  • Scientific name: Muntingia calabura
  • English: Jamaica Strawberry, Jamaican Cherry
  • Vietnamese: cây trứng cá
  • Other names: TBD

Native to several countries, including Vietnam.

Varieties: There’s only two, one with red fruits, and one with yellow fruits. They both taste the same to me.

Flower: white petals, attract wasps

Fruit: yellow or red, sweet, “taste like cotton candy”

Foilage: insert image

Growing Zones: Zone 9B and warmer is recommended since Jamaican Strawberry tree is not cold hardy. It will die to the root of its going to be on freezing degrees. If in Zone 9B, it may be doable in a pot and bring the pot into the garage or shed or barn during freezing nights.

Tree’s growth: Very aggressive and fast growing. I was suggested by Leaph’s Fruit Trees in West Palm Beach, Florida to not plant it close to the house, foundation or building structure.

Pruning: My friend Leaph hard prune the tree everyday spring back to about five feet tall. New branches shoot out and becomes 15 feet tall every year.

Propagation: Some folks said they have luck propagating my cuttings. One of my gifted tree started from a rooted cutting. But I had no luck propagating from cuttings. Air layering is the better guarantee. It takes anywhere from one to three months for air-layering. My first gifted Jamaican Cherry tree was an air layered branch.

Growing in Container:

My experiences growing this Jamaican cherry tree has always been container growing. I grew my Jamaican cherry tree in a pot from an air layered branch gifted by friends. The air layered branch was just about two-foot tall when I started out in a three-gallon. In two months, I up pot it into a 7-gallon. In six months, I up pot it into a 15-gallon for a year. By the second year, I up pot the tree into a 25-gallon pot. That’s just to let you know how fast this tree grows. I kept the tree happy and fruiting nicely in a 25-gallon pot for a year or so. Then I rehomed it to start over with a small air-layered branch again. I was not able to maintain the tree in a pot for more than three years due to its aggressive growth rate from a 3-gallon pot to a 25-gallon pot just within less than two years. I planted in a pot and it grew from a 2-ft tall air layered branch to a 7-ft tall tree in two years and not counting me having to prune at least ten feet of branch growth every year.

Potting soil: I used Lowe’s Sta-Green Potting mix.

Watering: Jamaican Strawberry tree sucks up a lot of water. I had to be on top with the watering. My friend placed a plastic kiddie pool under his 25-gallon potted tree and fills the pool up every two days. The tree absorbs all the water quick. When I don’t water the potted tree enough, I noticed leaves start yellowing and falling.

Fertilizing: tbd

Growing in Ground:

I do not have experiences growing this tree in the ground but will share pictures of other people’s Jamaican Strawberry trees planted in the ground. I was suggested by Leaph’s Fruit Trees in West Palm Beach, Florida to not plant it close to the house, foundation or building structure.

West Palm Beach, Florida: Leaph’s Jamaican Strawberry tree is planted the furthest away from his backyard food forest. I would say 60 feet away from his house.

insert picture of Leaph’s Jamaican cherry tree

Melbourne, Florida: Here is a Jamaican Strawberry tree planted in ground on an urban HOA corner lot 10 feet from the pool. I hope the owner is not going to regret planting it close to the water pipeline and swimming pool later on. I thought his tree is beautifully pruned and shaped. I was strolling in my friend’s neighborhood and we stopped to ask permission to pick the fruits.

St. Cloud, Florida: Summer 2021, a gardener in St. Cloud invited my kids and I over to harvest all her Jamaican cherries because they ripen hundreds everyday. Her two trees was planted in the ground for just two years.

If you would like to showcase your Jamaican Strawberry tree on my documentary, please email me at three or four pictures: Photo of your whole tree, photo of your harvested fruits, and photo of you with the tree. Please include the city name and climate zone. Email photos to me at Thank you for contributing to my plant documentary.

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