The Q&A Archives: carambola culture

Question: I purchased a carambola tree in a gallon can, and do not know the best culture--should it be repotted to larger container, or would it be best transferred to the ground in a sunny location?

Answer: Carambola, or Star Fruit, is a member of the Oxalidaceae family, and is a slow growing, short trunked bush. The deciduous leaves are spirally arranged leaflets of soft green. The leaflets are sensitive to the light and fold inward at evening. Small clusters of tiny red stalked, downy lilac flowers form in the arils of the leaves. The showy yellow orange angular fruit are pleasantly aromatic. When sliced in cross section, they form a perfect star.

Carambola originated in Ceylon and Moluccas; was taken to China, India, Philippines, Australia, Tahiti, Hawaii, Zanzibar, the Caribbean. Carambola tolerates any soil but grows faster in rich loam. You can plant it directly in the ground, or keep it in a container. Mature trees tolerate freezing temperatures for short periods. The tree needs full sun. The tree is relatively disease and pest free. Fruits keep at room temperature for 2 weeks.

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