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Starfruit

After years and years of waiting... we finally have a Starfruit Tree setting fruit. Starfruit is also know as Carambola which is derived from the botanical name Averrhoa carambola. The name Starfruit comes from the shape of the fruit, that when sliced in a cross section, resembles a star.


Starfruit bloom and fruit Carambola
Starfruit bloom and fruit. Photo taken by FOL in The Serene Forest

We have long since heard of how productive these fruit trees can be. But like most other fruit trees, they need a few years before being productive. While we had Starfruit planted around 4 - 5 years ago.... We up and moved them from our old home to our new home. Now that they have been in the ground since the beginning of 2021, we are finally seeing the productivity that we expected.


We push the limits with these trees at our new property. We have a lot of mature oak and pine canopies that were preexisting. That means we have a lot of shade in most of our yard that is available for planting. While most fruit trees do best in full sun, we have found that our Starfruit trees still thrive in part shade to almost mostly shade. The one pictured here receives 6 hours or less of full sun. And 6 hours is a stretch. We have tall wood lines on our eastern property line preventing early morning sun. The house and mature tree lines also blocks a lot of our western sun.


This is good news. Because I can grow Starfruit underneath these mature canopies, that means they are able to grow in this microclimate within my Central Florida foodscape. Starfruit does not tolerate frost very well. Taller tree canopies help protect understory from frost. The canopy traps heat and also shields cold moisture from settling on understory foliage. So while missing out on sunlight, our Starfruit is protected from would be frost in our 9b zone. Starfruit is normally zoned for 10-11.


There are several varieties of Starfruit that have different fruit sizes and tastes. This early into our journey we have not found a variety we like more than another. But, if we do, we will update you all.


I believe that most Starfruit sold in nurseries are grafted onto hardy rootstock that helps them grow in most Florida landscapes. These rootstocks are better adapted to the sandy soils and pH levels commonly found in Florida. While this means a more successful tree overall, it also means that branches that sprout below the graft should be pruned and removed as they will not likely produce like the "mother tree". I've also found that this makes propagation through cuttings slightly more difficult than other fruit trees. Although I am not sure that there is a direct connection between grafted trees and an increased difficulty in propagation through cuttings.


The last thing I'll mention is how productive Starfruit is. Most varieties can fruit more than once in a year. The fruit are very nutritious and have several uses. From eating raw to a good addition to smoothies, these fruits can be a valuable source of nutrition to homesteaders living off their foodscapes. We strive to be self sufficient and Starfruit helps to achieve that.


Do you have any experience growing Starfruit in Florida? Feel free to drop a comment with your insights on this plant in your own landscape.


See you.....................................




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