Pitanga, the pest-free tree for the orchard or garden

The pitanga or cayenne cherry is a tropical tree that grows in the jungles of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay whose fruits are edible and the tree can be used to decorate the garden or to grow in the garden. Did you know this tree? Today we are going to talk about your care.



Know the pitanga

It is a tree that can reach 7.5 meters in the jungle but with proper pruning its height can be controlled like all fruit trees. Although there is no need to prune for it to bear more fruit as the opposite effect occurs, it bears less fruit after being pruned. It would be better not to prune it, it all depends on your preferences. Its leaves are bright green and its flowers emerge in spring being white, when pollinated, the fruit begins to form. Depending on the variety, its oval fruits when ripe can be dark red or purple. Its flavor is bittersweet and it can be planted from seed, in about 3 years when it will start to bear fruit, unless it is grafted it will start to bear fruit after a year.

How to plant Pitanga

The pitanga is planted from seeds and it must come from a recent fruit because its germination power is low. To plant a pitanga we must follow the following steps:

  • It should be outdoors in full sun or partial shade.
  • The soil should be well drained as it does not tolerate waterlogging.
  • In summer it should be watered every 2 days as that is when it produces fruit and in winter it will be every 5 days.
  • The fruit needs fertilizer rich in phosphorus to improve the quality of the fruit.
  • The seed will take about a month to germinate and it is recommended to plant it in the spring.

sow pitanga seeds

Pitanga fruit

It is a fruit in the shape of a globe and flattened at the poles. When the fruit begins to grow it is green, then it turns yellow and as it ripens it turns orange and finally turns purple or red depending on the variety. The pulp is juicy and has a slightly acidic taste, and it can be eaten straight from the tree or in preserves, salads, juices, ice creams and pastries. You can also make a very rich liqueur by macerating the fruit in alcohol.

Can it be grown in a pot?

Depending on the size of the pot, remember at least 60 liters, the pitanga can reach between 2 and 3 meters in height. It should be outside and get as much sun as possible. Irrigation should be whenever the soil dries out in spring and summer.

pitanga care

Pitanga soil is not very demanding unless it has good drainage. In clay soils, it has been observed that it takes longer to develop than in softer soils. Irrigation, as we have explained, must be frequent, although we can also put one or two bottles of solar irrigation so that the soil always has some moisture. It would be advisable to pour every 2 weeks if it is liquid fertilizer, if it is manure or humus, 2 times a year if it is manure or humus. Even being a tropical tree, the pitanga supports a minimum temperature of up to -3 degrees centigrade. As for pruning, some dry branches can be removed but not much else to avoid accidentally cutting off branches that have the buds that will sprout next season.

The pitanga sheds the new reddish leaves, this may be due to a defense mechanism to prevent them from being eaten, so we will know if the tree grows or not.

Plagues and diseases

The pitanga tree is rarely affected by a pest because its leaves are natural insect repellents. Some animals like ants or snails can climb but that does not mean they are harmful since they do not cause damage. Diseases can be caused more by weather conditions or excessive irrigation.

Properties of Pitanga

Pitanga has many good health properties such as improving eyesight as it contains vitamin A, it strengthens the immune system as it contains vitamin C, it fights diarrhea as the leaves have astringent and digestive properties, it helps to lose weight because it contains few calories.

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