Coccoloba diversifolia/uvifera in NYC

bronxfigsJuly 28, 2011

Hello Forum Member

Question: Coccoloba

Has any member been successful in overwintering either "Sea Grape", or, "Pigeon Plum"? I plan on growing some of these plants during the summer, on my back deck, exposed to the full, broiling, NYC sun, and then grow them through the winter months right up against my sliding glass doors that lead to the back. Full sun all winter, streams through glass doors, and indoor temp's. about 60 - 68 degrees F.

Should I just follow houseplant culture? Will they go dormant/quiescent in lower light levels?

Any suggestions will be welcomed.



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Sea Grape should not be a problem in terms of overwintering given your conditions. They will not grow very much in the Winter and may drop some foliage but no big deal. I keep mine on the drier side in Winter. Full sun is fine
for them just make sure you water adequately and the soil drains well--add coarse sand to the mix. I have no idea why they are never sold as 'houseplants' as MUCH more difficult plants are sold.

What is 'pigeon plum', Coccoloba?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:36PM
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Thank-you for the quick response to my questions.

I plan on adding some "Turface" to my usual soil mix. This will not only give me a well drained medium, but also one that retains some moisture. Much nicer to use that the white, rice-krispies, Perlite, ... which I really do not like using. I hate the way it always floats to the top of the soil!

Coccoloba diversifolia: ("Pigeon Plum"), in my opinion, is a much nicer looking plant than the much coarser-leaved, "SEA GRAPE". It has smaller, broadly-oval leaves, and is a more refined, tree-like cousin to the "SEA GRAPE" Leaves have beautiful veining, and, are also thick and leathery in texture. Bark is beautifully mottled like a Sycamore. Do a quick search for photos, and you'll see some of the differences between the two species. Both are grown the same way. Coccoloba diversifolia is harder to find, but growers in Florida can send up small plants, ... 3 gallon- 7 gallon, or, larger.

Thanks again. You've helped.

Best regards,


    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 10:28PM
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stefpix(6b NY [Brooklyn NY])

I am growing some C.uvifera from seed. they are still small (4" pot) and single stemmed. seem pretty resistant to different condition. a couple are on my roof. How do you grow them? where did you get them? I would be interested in a C. diversifolia. How large are yours?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:57PM
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I just ordered from a source in Florida. and the prices are fantastic !!!!!!!

I ordered 3ft. "Sea Grape" ... seed grown liners, ... so there's a good chance for male and female plants = friut crops, and I also ordered "Pigeon Plum" = Coccoloba diversifolia. I also included some "Southern live Oak" in my order.

Anyone who is interested in growing tropical climate trees/plants, check out this supplier:

D.R. BATES, Liners and Gallons
Phone: 561-790-3246
located in Loxahatchee, Florida

The gentleman who processed my order could not be any nicer.

My plants will be arriving next week.

I plan on pleaching the "Sea Grape" and "Pigeon Plum" stems, hoping the will fuse together like a braided Hibiscus. Each original terminal stem will then be trained as a branch emerging at the top of the composite "trunk". Picture an Elm tree shape, and you'll get the general idea of what I hope my "man-made" trees will eventually look like. After the main stems fuse together, I'll have a nice thick trunk, AND, a nice rack of branches/leaves growing out of the top. Instant tree!

Good luck in your growing endeavors.

BronxFigs ...Frank

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 9:43AM
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stefpix(6b NY [Brooklyn NY])

Frank, do you already have the plants? does the grower have a website?


    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 11:05AM
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Check my last reply for the name and phone number of the grower who will supply the plants you want. He also has many other tropical trees/plants. Do a search, and you'll get the site, and plant list.

I just placed the order for my plants yesterday, and the grower will be sending out my Coccolobas/Oak on Monday coming.

Now, I'll have to play the waiting game until my plants arrive, .... just like a kid, I can't wait to rip open the box.

Keep in touch.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:07PM
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stefpix(6b NY [Brooklyn NY])

I emailed him but the email bounced.

Frank, what else do you grow? can you post photos when you receive the plants?
I wish this forum had email notifications for new posts or at least a RSS feed.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 12:21PM
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Call him directly for information and ordering plants. My e-mails to him also were lost in space.

My main obsession right now, is growing edible Figs. My growing area is very limited to just a back deck, which is so hot and sunny, that it's useless for anything except growing sun-loving plants, and of course, my fig trees. The fig trees are planted in very large containers, and I overwinter the them in my unheated storage shed. They have survived this way since 2008, and each summer I get to pick dozens of tree-ripened figs.

Over the years I grew a lot of exotic plants, bonsai, etc. and killed most of them because of low light levels in winter months. They just weakened without the tropical growing conditions. I'm always experimenting with new plants. I like pushing the limits.

The "SEA GRAPE" and "PIGEON PLUM" thing is my latest brainstorm. I'm going to try out these plants just to see if I can grow them through the winter, into next summer. They'll also go out on the back deck for the growing season(s).

I wish I could post photos, but I'm not very well adapted to computer use, but maybe some day, I'll find out the way to do this.

We'll talk when I get the Plants.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 4:13PM
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Where did you find a source for viable seed for the "SEA GRAPE"? Everything that I read about this plant says seed must be fresh and that it's difficult to germinate. Have you ever grown this plant, and/or the seeds before?

Just before I opted to order live plants, I thought about sending for some fresh seeds. I found a source in Belize, and I would have to wait for a fresh harvest to be gathered before they would ship. I'll list the source(s) below.

As I have mentioned, if it's live plants that you need, give D.R. BATES a call, ... he's a real mensch.

TEAKETTLE ENTERPRISES, LTD./E-SPECIES 501-822-0520 or, 305-847-7612

TRADE WINDS FRUIT: (go to web-site for ordering).

Good luck


    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 5:46PM
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stefpix(6b NY [Brooklyn NY])

i had bought seeds at Trade Wind. Happy in general but Coccoloba uvifera only one or 2 germinated. Some one from Florida sent me some fruits from a tree outside his office. Sea grape is everywhere in southern FL and if you know someone there they may send it. Also found some seagrape fruits fallen from a plant at the Botanical gardens. Now I have about 5 or 6 saplings/ seedlings.
In the winter i use fluorescent lights. I am into Ficus as well, I am growing Ficuse bengalensis and Ficus religiosa from seed. I would be interested in Ficus aurea, F. destruens and F. rubiginosa.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 10:20AM
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Way back when I had no experiences growing "Sea Grape", I thought that it would be a difficult plant to keep alive in The Bronx/NYC-weather. No true! Very easy, and very decorative, disease-free plants, and far more interesting than the old, and very boring, Ficus elastica/Rubber tree.

I ordered seedlings from D. R. Bates Liners and Gallons, FL, and they are growing happily in a bright window waiting for the warm weather to arrive. Then, they will go outside in full sun, on a back deck.

I also ordered 400 seeds from Banana Tree, Easton, PA. Last season, I had 300 seedling all over my kitchen. The seeds are very easy to crack, and with a 24 hour warm soak before sowing, you will have a very high germination rate.

Folks....these plants are tough, and will make a wonderful classroom project for kids. The coppery-red, new leaves glow like fire, when the sun shines through the leaves. You will need male and female plants to get "grapes".

I wish I lived down in Florida. If I did, I'd order some single-stem trees to plant on my property. Very decorative with the wide, round, red-veined leaves, and mottled bark.

I plan on growing the seedlings out until they get tall enough to braid the stems into a nice thick "trunk". I will grow it as a "patio-tree" and over-Winter the plant in my sunny kitchen, up against the sliding glass doors, then out on a sunny deck.

Today, NYC is freezing cold, and windy....can't wait 'till Spring!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:15AM
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