Jaboticaba not doing much

I’ve had this plant for two years. It hasn’t grown at all. Once in a while it would grow a set of new leaves. Then almost invariably the tips of the leaves would dry and turn brown. Eventually they would drop and a couple of new leaves would appear. It’s not growing and not dying either.

This is hybrid red jaboticaba that I got on Etsy because supposedly it produces faster than other varieties. I was inspired by @aap 's pictures.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance

Are you fertilizing? You can burn a plant like that (few leaves)with it.

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Not really. I give it a little citrus fertilizer in spring but the leaves do this thing regardless

Same thing is happening to mine! It did well for a couple of years, but then turned stationary. Curious if anyone has any thoughts

I hate growing stuff in pots because everything has to be right. I would plant in ground for growing season. Not sure your climate but I keep citrus alive in 7b with c9 lights and frost fabric. Zone 6 or lower probably have to dig up again

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Jaboticaba needs a lot of acidic water, p/h 5 or 51/2 no strong fertilizer, mostly compost and peat. Saucer need showing water. Espoma holly tone fertilizer works good. No hot sun, partial shade. Don’t need a big pot at that size, 5gl is plenty big, wait till they take of. A bag of Happy Gro compost is a good start.
I find Red Jaboticaba about the easiest to grow. I get usely 3 yields through the year.


I agree. It was just too runty to put in the ground (still is).

Thank you! I’ll repot it in a couple of weeks and follow your advice.

I germinated two seedlings about a year ago of M. vexator (“blue grape” or “false jaboticaba”) and one of them was very vigorous for a few months and the other was a runt. Same conditions, same soil, watering, light, etc. Then one day the vigorous one just keeled over without warning, looked like yours but worse and died in about a month. I might have let it get too dry when the greenhouse was hot in the late summer, and then it just couldn’t recover.

The runt kept growing slowly until fall, and now looks pretty sad after a winter in my greenhouse (lows in mid to upper 40s for most of the winter and spring so far), having lost a bunch of its leaves. But looks like some new buds may be swelling! This is it today:

You didn’t mention temperature and humidity. I gather jaboticabas like humid air, more humid than your average home. Is it in a greenhouse? Does it get misted regularly or have some local humidity source like a nearby humidifier?


Good point. In winter I keep it in a south facing window so it gets plenty of sun and average room temperature of about 65. I don’t mist it though - will start and see if it helps. Thanks!

Do you give this tap water ?

I heard they don’t like that , but Have no personal experience myself.

I hope something good could come out of it, and for you as well
Like the plant growing through so much stress, through it’s environmental
the next generations will have some added in adaption.

About the Humidity
That little thing You could put a Mason jar over it !

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Thank you!

I use tap water for watering but I let it sit a day or so in the watering can to get rid of chlorine.

The mason jar cover would probably turn it into a fungus gnat party central but I did find an unused humidifier - will see if it makes a difference.


Have you ever tasted it? Is it something worthwhile to grow? It looks really cool. I keep my house on the cooler side in the winter, around 67°. Some of my house plans do not really like that, due to the tropical origins. I’m wondering if it would die in my house because of the cold winters (if I were to try to grow it)

I haven’t tasted it. But when did that ever stop us from adding another mystery species to an already crammed collection? Lol

Fast Growing Trees has it in 1 gal size for $80. I’ve been sitting on it for a while - might pull the trigger and order it.


I ordered my seeds from Tradewinds and they came moist and clearly fresh, though I’ve heard other people have mixed results. They have a lot of species to choose from, you could get a LOT of seeds for $80:


Edit: take that back, looks like mostly out of stock


I got a couple extra ones. Can’t send it out, just for pick up. Free!

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Is this the one you have @urbangardener? They do appear to be in stock:

If you got 25 seeds for $38 then surely at least one would prove to be vigorous and productive!

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Yes, that seems to be the one

$38 is much better than $80 plus $20 for shipping.

If your tap water is 7 to 8 pH and aap is stating that Jaboticaba needs 5-5.5,then it could be twenty times too alkaline.It sounds like these plants need to be treated like Blueberries in that sense.
All it might take,is to use some rainwater or add a little vinegar to what’s coming out of the tap.


I’ve tasted it from the tree in Emma Prusch park, planted by CRFG folks. I heard it fruited after 17 years :slight_smile: They say it tasted like muscadine grapes and I’ve never tasted muscadines before. I can say that it does taste closer to a grape but nowhere near the flavor of modern grapes. It has slip skin and dispersed seeds, so same effort as eating Concord grapes. Of course, this is one tree that’s grown from seed and one season (although I went back a few times to see if the ripeness is different) of fruits. The tree and fruits attached to the stem look cool though.