29 November 2009

The Barbados Cherry makes a great bonsai tree.



Malpighia
mal-PIG-ee-uh
Family: Malpighiaceae


Named in honor of
a seventeenth century
Italian professor and anatomist.





Native to American Tropics and West Indies.



Mapighia punicifolia” Dwarf Barbados Cherry”
Malpighia glabra “Barbados Cherry", "Acerola"
Renamed Malpighia emarginata by recent authorities.





This small shrub has arching dark brown stems with green leaves. Pink flowers appear periodically from April to October followed by bright red, tart-tasting, 1-inch “cherries” which are extremely high in vitamin C. The edible fruits may be made into syrup, wine, jelly, jam, or other preserves.

Tiny leaves and weeping compact habit make it an excellent plant for a hanging basket.
Barbados cherry develops into a thick, rounded canopy of fairly delicate foliage

Often used for bonsai, the creeping stems and exposed roots can create really interesting shapes.
Use a well draining soil. Keep the soil moist. Water frequently, but allow the soil to dry slightly between watering. The Barbados Cherry does not like wet feet. Wire with care as the branches are brittle. Clip and grow is the best method for training this tree. Repotting can be done anytime during the summer, when the lows are above 50°F and highs are over 90°F. More sun exposure produces smaller leaves, many flowers and best fruit; however, the tree should be protected from full sun in the hottest months. Protect the potted tree from freezing in winter. Mature trees planted in the ground can survive brief exposure to 28°F, while young plants are killed by any drop below 30ยบ F.
USDA hardiness zones: 9B through 11

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