Starfruit (carambola) growing as a thin stick

va_canuck(8A)August 24, 2009

I have 2 starfruits planted from seed. They are easy to germinate and grow but I am puzzled by how they are growing. They are 5 feet tall but pencil-thin, and fall over instantly without constant sturdy support. This doesn't seem to be improving as they get taller - if anything they are getting worse.

What am I supposed to be doing here? I like the little trees but how am I going to make them behave like a real tree rather than a vine?

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ohiojay(z6 OH)

My first plants did the same thing and I've learned the hard way over the years. A few things may factor in here. Too much fertilizer and not enough pruning. As you've noticed, they have a tendency to grow straight up and keep going.

Fertilizing is fine for seedlings if kept pruned. I've always lopped mine off to encourage branching and most importantly, a very sturdy plant. You can keep a single leader branch but I would cut the entire plant back to no more than one foot...maybe shorter. They will come back fast and strong and you will have a more attractive plant to boot. Starfruit, when/if they begin fruiting, can often overproduce and overwhelm the plants branches... resulting in broken branches or even loss of the tree.

Keeping the central leader will give you a good platform to later do a possible graft attempt with an established cultivar.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 7:25AM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

High nitrogen fertilizer can make them grow tall and skinny. Also not enought sun/light will also cause that to happen. Some of my If they get enough light they should start getting a thicker stem.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 1:51PM
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