Starfruit is an edible fruit that earned its name with its unusual shape, which resembles a five-pointed star when it’s sliced. Starfruit trees can actually be found in commercial nurseries and they can also be grown from fresh seed taken from a ripe fruit. A study has shown that seed-grown starfruit trees are differ from grafted types because they take longer to bear fruit and also their fruit may not be of the same quality. The ornamental value of their rosy flowers and evergreen foliage makes them worthwhile to grow them in the garden.
Seed Selection Process: Actually the ripe starfruit contains about twelve oval-shaped, about 1/4- to 1/2-inch-long seeds. It is advised to use only the healthy starfruit seeds with a dark brown, glossy seed coat for propagation. The starfruit seeds lose viability quickly, you need to plant them immediately after removing them from the fruit in other to increase your chances of success. No pretreatment or stratification is actually needed to sprout starfruit seeds, but 2- to 3-day-old seeds benefit from a twenty-four hour soak in water to revive them.
Timing Matters: This particular fruit hails from the tropics and is available in markets throughout the year. Starfruit seeds will germinate year-round, though they take only 1 week in summer and 2 to 3 weeks in winter. No matter the time of the year you can start the seeds indoors so that their germination conditions can be more easily monitored and controlled.
Sowing and Germination of Starfruit Seeds
Step one: Start by preparing a 2-inch pot with multiple drainage holes for each starfruit seed. You need to wash the pot in hot, soapy water, and then rinse it and wipe it dry.
Step two: Then fill each of the pot with a mixture of two parts vermiculite or perlite and one part sterile potting soil. Make sure you don’t compact the growing medium too much because it won’t drain properly.
Step three: Sow 1 starfruit seed in each of the pot. Place the starfruit seed on the surface of the soil. You can spread a very thin layer of medium over the starfruit seed, and then tamp it down lightly to increase contact. Make sure you don’t cover the starfruit seeds with a thick layer of medium; the starfruit seed should be visible beneath the medium, but still covered.
Step four: You need to set the pot on a propagation mat or on top of the refrigerator — anywhere where temperatures actually stay above seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Drape a sheet of plastic wrap loosely over the pot to hold in humidity. Make sure you don’t seal the edges, and don’t place the pot in direct sunlight.
Step five: Make sure you always lift the plastic wrap every day and check the moisture level in the growing medium. You can water with a spray bottle if it feels almost dry on the surface, and then put the plastic wrap back in place. Try and avoid overwatering and don’t pour water into the pots because a strong stream can dislodge the starfruit seeds.
Step six: Watch for sprouts in 1 to 2 weeks, though depending on the season. If the seedlings do not emerge after 3 weeks, the starfruit seeds are probably dead and need to be discarded.
Step seven: Remove the plastic wrap and then move the starfruit seedlings to a room with south-west or east-facing windows where temperatures stay above fifty- five degrees Fahrenheit.
Starfruit Care Tips
Actually Starfruit seedlings grow rapidly and they need to be transplanted into gallon a container that is filled with sandy, loam-based potting soil as soon as they produce 2 or more sets of leaves.
Water requirement: Make sure you water deeply when the soil surface looks dry, avoid letting them wilt.
Fertilizer requirement: This fruit trees are moderately heavy feeders. You need to water them weekly with 1/2 teaspoon of 15-15-15 fertilizer diluted in a gallon of water.
You can grow them indoors near a south-facing window, or you can easily move them outdoors to a bright, sheltered location. Starfruit trees will only grow outdoors year-round in USDA plant hardiness zones ten to twelve, nevertheless they can be grown outdoors during the summer months outside their range and moved indoors during the winter. You can grow them in their container for at least 2 full seasons, then plant in the ground in spring after the soil has warmed above seventy degrees Fahrenheit.