A Jackfruit is a huge, spiky, melon-like fruit whose origin is in the Southeast parts of Asia.
Jackfruits are now a common fruit grown in many other parts of the world. It not only has nutritional benefits but is also said to have great health benefits.
The article explains all you need to know about growing a jackfruit seed to a mature jackfruit plant with ripe fruits.
The process is quite simple and occurs in three stages, as explained below:
- Germinating the seeds in a pot.
- Transplanting the seeds outside.
- Caring for your tree.
Step 1: Germinating Seeds in Pots
Buying jackfruit seeds
To purchase the seeds, check at the local nursery or market in your area. If unavailable, try online gardening stores that sell growing seeds and enquire for the jackfruit seeds.
As an alternative, if you have a ripe jackfruit or can have access to one, you can get the seeds from the fruit. In this case, you will have to wash the seeds with warm water to get rid of the pulp, which is a bit sticky.
Let the jackfruit seeds soak in water for 24 hours
After purchasing the seeds, soak them in lukewarm water either in a container or a bowl. Let the seeds stay soaked for 24 hours.
This step aids in hastening the germination process, enabling the fast growth of your seedlings.
Add potting mix in a 3.8 L water-filled pot
Fill a pot with 3.8 liters of water and add your potting mix. A plastic pot with drainage holes is more convenient so as to let water flow out of the bottom of the pot.
The potting mix should be well-drained and mixed with sand, organic compost, and perlite for perfect drainage in your pot.
You can choose to purchase the premixed potting soil mix at gardening stores, or you can as well have a homemade one.
Plant three jackfruit seeds in a pot inside the soil at 2.5 cm deep
Place three seeds inside the pot, ready to plant. You can also choose to have more than 3 seeds. However, the seeds may not do as well since they are all competing for the same resources.
For the seeds in the pot, ensure they are uniformly spaced but close to the center of the pot.
Placing seeds close to the edges of the pot will not allow for the full development of the roots. While covering the seeds with the soil, faintly press down on it so as to compress the potting mix.
This is to provide adequate support for the soon-to-develop roots of the plant during harsh weather such as rain and wind.
Ensure to water the jackfruit seeds each day
Always make sure the soil is wet by watering the seeds. In addition, take caution that it is not overwatered. While jackfruit thrives in wet tropical climates with plenty of rain, too much water can cause rotting of the seeds and roots.
Dip your finger into the soil until your first knuckle to feel the moistness of the soil. If the soil is dry, water the seeds.
For seedlings that are starting, use distilled or untreated water to avoid toxic build-up as sometimes seedlings can be susceptible.
Place the pot in a sunny or warm location
Always place the pots in a warm place or outside in the sun. You can take the pots out when it’s warm outside and return them to the house when the temperatures begin to decrease.
When you have them indoors, place them on the window sill so that they may receive maximum sunlight.
If it is during the cold season and there is barely any warmth from the sun outside, you can substitute the warmth from sunshine with a heat lamp.
After they begin to germinate, pick one healthy seedling
Germination of the jackfruit seedling takes around two to three weeks. At this point, figure out the seedling with its leaves looking healthy and has grown the tallest.
This will be your best fit for the next process of transplanting as it has the potential to grow into a mature jackfruit tree.
For the remaining weaker seedlings, you can remove them by gently uprooting them from the soil.
It would be best if you refrained from using thin or grown seedlings close to the edge of the pot as their roots might not have fully developed.
Step 2: Transplanting the Seedling Outside
Take the seedlings out after the formation of 3-4 true leaves
The seedling takes 3-4 weeks to form its first true leaves. True leaves appear huge and green with no ridges and grow taller compared to seed leaves. At this point, the seedling is ready for the outdoors.
Locate an area that is 9.1m away to plant the trees far from other trees and buildings
A jackfruit tree requires adequate space to grow and develop. They may grow up to 3m tall if allowed to develop on their own.
Planting the jackfruit away from other trees is also key when planting to avoid competition for resources.
Also, the planting area should be away from your house or any other building as the roots may grow extensively and damage the underground.
The area should not be prone to high winds and should be away from residential places to prevent unforeseeable accidents.
In well-drained soil, dig a hole that is 2 × 2 × 2 feet
Dig a circular or square-shaped hole using a shovel ready to plant your seedling. Check the soil to see if it has mixed clay and sandy soils, as this will aid in quick drainage.
For a jackfruit, the soil pH should be between 5-7. You can add compost as a supplement of natural nutrients to the soil. Moreover, a mixture of sand and compost gives the soil a better drainage feature.
Carefully take the seedling out of the pot and put it in the ground
To get the seedling out of the pot:
- Loosen the soil by squeezing the edges of the pot.
- Grasp the seedling from the base and pull gently by twisting to get the seedling out.
- Place the seedling into the hole dug.
- Let the base of the seedling be at the same level as the ground.
Fill the soil around the tree, making a mound at the base of the trunk
Using the base of your shovel, tap the top of the soil to hold it down onto the roots.
A cone-shaped mount forms around the tree trunk, allowing water to run off the soil. You can add some mulch to the ground. Immediate mulching is important to absorb moisture for longer.
Step 3: Caring for Your Tree
Watering the tree each day
New trees require adequate water for the establishment of their roots. To water, the bottom of your tree trunk, use a garden hose pipe.
The soil should be wet to up to 3.8 cm deep but ensure you do not overwater so that you do not destroy the plant.
In dry seasons, water the tree two times a day as the soil tends to dry up faster.
Weed the tree every once a month
Weeding at least once a month is essential for the growth of a healthy plant. You can weed the tree by hand and avoid the use of herbicides that could harm your plant. The use of chemicals such as herbicides requires you to thoroughly wash the fruits when ripe before eating them. You can as well make a homemade weed killer using vinegar and rock salt to kill the weeds around the tree.
Leaving the weeds on the ground makes them compete for essential nutrients from the soil with the jackfruit plant.
Mulching or adding wood chips can be another way to control the growth of weeds. It prevents the growth of weeds due to lack of exposure to sunlight, which is a requirement for the growth of the weeds like any other plant.
When temperatures drop below 2 °C, place a layer of mulch surrounding the tree
Jackfruit trees have an adaptation to survive a climate of winter and frost. Nonetheless, at the point where the temperatures decrease below 2 °C, mulching is necessary to form a layer of insulation for the roots during winter or such cold temperatures.
Fertilize after every half-year
In the first six months, use 30g of fertilizer in the ratio of 8:4:2:1 nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and magnesium, respectively.
For the consecutive 2 years, every half a year after the first half-year, use a double amount of fertilizer with the same mix.
When the tree is 2 years old, use 1 kg of fertilizer in the ratio of 4:2:4:1 of the nutrients listed above, respectively.
Use a double amount of fertilizer with the same mix for the next two years, every half-year after the first half-year.
For bugs, use organic pesticides to deter
A jackfruit is resistant to a number of fungal diseases, though a jackfruit borer can destroy all the parts of your tree.
Spray the tree using a natural pesticide to get rid of the bugs as well as to avoid damaging the tree. You can purchase organic pesticides from a local gardening store, or you can make a homemade one.
To keep off fruit flies, cover the developing trees with either old newspapers or paper bags. Wash your fruit thoroughly before eating to get rid of the pesticide chemicals.
Pruning the jackfruit tree in spring
The tree grows quite tall, and its fruits can develop beyond reach. During each season, it is best to use hand shears or loppers for cutting down the bark of the jackfruit tree.
This will help in regulating the tree’s height. When the tree height goes above 6.1 m, cut it to a reasonable height, thus supporting the outward growth, not the upward growth.
Jackfruit harvesting is after three to four years
After 3 or 4 years, the jackfruit tree develops a feasible fruit. Three to five months later, the young fruit ripens and is ready for harvesting.
At this point, they have a sweet smell with an outer appearance of green or yellow shade.
Harvesting unripe fruits can be suitable as an alternative to meat when kept for two to three months. The ripe fruits have a sweet taste and can be edible on their own or used as a recipe.
What season does jackfruit grow in?
Jackfruit has an adaption to survive in only moist tropical and near-tropical climates. In its early stages of life, a jackfruit is sensitive to ice and intolerant to drought at the same time.
If there is insufficient rainfall, the jackfruit will require irrigation. Most times, this climate is what determines the season to grow your jackfruit.
The fruit then ripens during summer and fall, which may be in varying months of the year, depending on the area you dwell in.
For instance, in most instances, jackfruits are normally in season from March to June or even from April to September, for instance, in states like Australia and China.
Nevertheless, there are those that can grow during the off-season. This is from September to December, like in Hawaii and Florida. In India, Malaysia, and the Philippines, where the fruit is quite popular, it is grown throughout the year. Basically, when to grow and harvest depends on your state.
Add the first jackfruit plant to your garden
A jackfruit is best planted during the spring season. At this stage, the tree trunk grows straight and has a reddish-brown bark. It also develops large side branches roughly 8 inches long.
Mostly during fall, the tree produces attractive green flowers, though it can also blossom in other seasons of the year. The fruits then begin to grow and ripen during summer and will soon be ready for harvesting.
During winter, a jackfruit can survive during the cold weather; however, mulching is necessary to insulate the roots from the icy frost that may damage the plant.
Considering a jackfruit plant takes 3-4 years to mature, it is important to look out for it during all seasons to ensure the growth of a healthy plant.