Carambola

  • Averrhoa

    Averrhoa

    Common Name:

    Carambola

    General Information:

    Averrhoa is named after Averrhoes, an Arabian physician. The most popular Averrhoa is the carambola or star fruit. A favorite in fruit salads, the carambola is just beginning to be used for bonsai. It is a small, tropical tree which grows to about 25 ft. Native to Malaya and S.E. Asia, it has dark green, evergreen compound leaves of 5-11 leaflets, small, rose coloured flowers and fleshy five-lobed fruit. The plant will flower and fruit 2-4 times yearly.

    Lighting:

    Will grow in semishade, although they prefer full sun. Temperature: Young trees should never go below freezing. Older trees can withstand temperatures down to 28F.

    Watering:

    Likes generous watering, although Averrhoa can be damaged by water-logged soil.

    Feeding:

    Supplement liquid bonsai food/ half-strength plant food with trace minerals.

    Pruning and wiring:

    No information available, as the use of carambola in bonsai is still in the experimental stage. Carambola is a naturally upright tree, so formal/informal upright styles are logical choices.

    Propagation:

    Lesniewicz lists Averrhoa as a tree which can be grown from a seed obtained from a grocery store fruit.

    Repotting:

    No information on time/frequency of repotting, although most tropicals like to be transplanted during warm weather. Averrhoa prefers acid soil, pH 5.5-6.5, although it will tolerate most soil types. It is not salt tolerant, however.

    Pests and diseases:

    No serious pest problems, although caterpillars, mites and scale are occasionally reported.

    Bibliography:

    Lesniewicz’s “Bonsai in Your Home”

    “Florida Fruit” by Lewis Maxwell

    Florida Landscape Plants, Revised Edition, John V. Watkins, et. al.

    Compiled by Sabrina Caine and Thomas L. Zane