Star Fruit

sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)January 14, 2006

Does anyone know the differences between the different varieties of star fruit trees?

I found 3 different types for sale and wondered what others experiences were. (Varieties are listed below)

Which one is sweeter/better flavor?

Which one will bear more fruit?

Sizes? Suitability for pot culture?

Disease resistance?

Are grafted plants better?

Thanks in advance.

Star Fruit "Arkin"

Averrhoa carambola

Star Fruit "Kari"

Averrhoa carambola

Star Fruit "Sri Kembangan"


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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

If at all possible, taste the fruit before you buy a Carambola. They are ***very*** prolific producers, and you will be drowning in fruit in no time(G). I have a dwarf "Hart" variety and give away buckets of fruit. There are good tasting ones, bitter ones and boring, bland ones. The link below has descriptions of different varieties.

They are good for container growing, are commonly grown from seed, and I've not seen any disease issues with mine. I also have a seedling tree of an unknown variety that is 4' tall, that was given to me. The parent tree reportedly had wonderfully sweet fruit, but this baby has not produced yet.

They are quite attractive trees.


Here is a link that might be useful: Carambola fruit facts

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 2:44PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Oops, forgot to tell you that seedlings usually take 4-6 years to produce, while grafted ones can bear the first year.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 2:48PM
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tropicalfreak(z10b Ft Lauderdale)

guy near tampa has grafted trees for sale. gonna get one from him in a couple weeks

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 10:37PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Thanks for that link. There are alot more varieties than I thought! I will for sure get a grafted tree but may plant a seed later for fun. I don't know if I will be able to taste a fruit because I will have to order via the net. It would be a good idea though (:
Wow you sure have alot of fruit trees (took a peek on your webpage)and they look fabulous. You are a master =D
What kind of drainage/potting soil do you use with most of your tropical trees?
(You probably get as much moisture as we do here in LA- so I could probably use some good advice on pot drainage from you.) Also, is the 'Hart variety that you have sweet or bland? Thank you for all the advice.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 2:48PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

SJN, you are welcome!

Thank you for your kind comments. I sure made lots of mistakes when getting into fruit trees, but now I'm doing okay.

My "secret" to growing successfully in containers is coconut husk chips as a base for my mixes. The chips make growing soo easy. I no longer kill plants by overwatering, and the chips promote terrific root growth/health. My potted plants outperform the ones in the ground!

The "Hart" variety, from Excalibur Rare Fruit Nursery, is sweet, mild, a bit watery. I've tasted better ones, but I wanted a small tree.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 3:50PM
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SJN-I have been growing starfruit in containers for several years now and they do really well. I have several varieties (Kari, Fwang Tung, Sri Kenbangan, Hart, Bell and Arkin) and each has it's own taste. In my opinion, the best is probably Kari. I have gotten most of my trees from Pine Island and Excalibur Rare Fruit Nursery that Lisa mentioned.

I grow mine in a maximum pot size of 20 gallons, squat container. (I refuse to move anything larger than that unless they contain a papaya or banana plant.) I have found the starfruit to almost always be in fruit (as Lisa mentioned). (I picked 6 today in the greenhouse.) They seem to be very happy in containers. This past year I picked over 100 fruit from the Kari tree.

Here's a picture of my Kari from back in the late summer.

And a picture of the fruit to give you some idea of the size.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 11:42PM
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Very nice pictures. Thank you for sharing.

Do you have problems with spider mites? In my experience,
star fruit plants are a major magnet for spider mites when grown in a greenhouse.

How do you control spider mites in your gh, if you have them, that is...


    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 4:46AM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

I too experience spider mites on my star fruit. Mine is 2 yrs from seed. I've pruned it back several times. It seems to outgrow its own strenth to support the branches. It would probably be 7 feet tall by now and thin as a pencil. Anyone have this problem?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 7:23AM
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siafu- Thanks for the compliment. Spider mites are a constant problem in the greenhouses during the winter. I use neem oil as needed to try to control them. I also find that if I can keep the humidity levels up and good air movement in the greenhouse that seems to help keep the spider mites at an acceptable level.

I also have a lot of leaf loss on the starfruit during the winter in the greenhouses. The first year this really bothered me but when spring came they put out new leaves very quickly and seemed to do fine. Now I don't worry so much about the leaf drop that always seems to happen. Some varieties seem to drop more leaves than others in the greenhouse.

ohiojay- I have a few that I have grown from seeds and they do seem to grow a lot thinner in diameter than grafted trees. Is it getting enough light? Low light levels sometimes causes plants to stretch.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 9:57AM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

Yeah. Should be receiving plenty of light. Since I pruned it back, the main trunk and most branches are fine. Any new growth that pops up and takes off can't seem to support its weight very well. I believe my plant could be a little chlorodic just now. The leaves are mostly light green. I gave a plant to a co-worker a long time ago and he keeps his in his cool, dark office with only a 20W flourescent light! His plant is 6 times smaller and whipier than mine but his leaves are larger and darker green. It's odd. He doesn't get the growth but the leaves seem to appreciate the lower light levels. I noticed over the summer that when I moved mine beneath a tree, the leaves responded more positively than they did in full sun.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 12:27PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

What a good idea using the coconut chips. I will have to try to find some. I have alot of citrus that I am going to have to repot this spring, so I will try chips with them. I try not to overwater but sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate lol.

thanks for posting that pretty photo. How tall is your Kari tree? I will have to find a bunch of recipes for starfruit because they sure seem prolific-yeah :) I wonder if parrots like them too?

When the weather is dry sometimes I get spider mites on some of my brugmansia, so the mites will have a festival between the brugs and starfruit lol. I used NEEM on mites but this last year they got so bad I had to use a ortho systemic (which I really hated to do.)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 3:24PM
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SJN- The Kari is about 6.5 feet tall. I have cut it back a few times to keep if from getting too tall. The fruit are really tasty and are so much better than the ones from the grocery store.

Happy Growing.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 9:43PM
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Eggo(z10soCal LBC)

Awesome looking starfruit GA. Thanks for sharing! Wow that's a lot of variety, you must really love the fruit. They seem like a good fruit to juice too but I haven't tried that yet. Are they easy to grafte, have you ever tried grafting among the different varieties?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 12:27AM
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Eggo- That is an excellent idea. I will juice a few of them next time I pick some. My wife and I both enjoy the fruit (along with my brother and a few of the neighbors). I got the different varieties to compare the flavors and see which one we liked the best. So far the favorite is Kari or Sri K. but the Fwang Tung and Hart are so different in taste until it is hard to really compare them to the others. I have not grafted any of them yet but have a few seedlings and I am thinking about trying to graft 2 different varieties onto a single rootstock.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 10:23PM
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I received a star fruit from a neighbor but I have no idea what variety it was. It was greenish in color & kind of tart. I would like to have one with a sweeter tasting fruit. The pictures that were posted wouldn't show up. I have no idea of where to buy or what to look for. Any help will be appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 12:39PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Here's my two cents lol The ONLY way to get into growing fruit is seek out samples of the fruit. Find a selection that you like and buy a named clone of this type.
Will save you years of work
Carambola is incredibly easy here but they definitely resent cold I would suspect a freeze would be fatal??
They can be grown in pots in the ground ,no pest problems either for the plant or the fruit IME. Can be pruned to almost any size. Have long life on the tree donot bruise easily I could go on and on. Just be sure that you get a variety that YOU like lol
If you only grow one tropical fruit this is the one!!!
My transplant was producing fruit in two years!!
One complaint. It produces sooo much fruit it will snap the limbs so thinning is necessary.
One question for you . If these are so easy and productive why are they so expensive in the grocery store??
I'd always thought thet bruise easily like Mango or have serious pests like Guava or Papaya.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 6:16AM
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Hi im new as a member but have been using these forums to get answers for years dose anyone know if sir kembangan and kajang star fruit trees are capable of cross pollinating? I have one of each from lowes and both have been flowering for weeks but still no fruit set any ideas?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 2:04PM
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Are your trees outside? My Sri K. is outdoors, and is setting almost every blossom. I notice some kind of tiny bee all over it, they seem to love it. I'm in Michigan, so I can guarantee there are no other carambola within pollination distance of this one. Seems to be self-fruitful. I wonder why you are having issues, but you could try hand pollinating with a tiny artist's paintbrush and see if that helps.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 7:42AM
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both of my trees are outside but i have never seen any bees around, also i live in zone 9 Florida so i would assume that i might have other trees in the area. Thanks for the suggestion denninmi i'll try the hand pollinating and post a follow up.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 11:42AM
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Thanks Agin denninmi, the hand pollinating did the trick i now have loads of friut on both if my trees.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:39AM
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