Phalsa Berry

Every year I try and pick some strange exotic fruit to grow. Last year I grew Tzimbalo. related to tomatoes. The tropical fruit required a very long season and was rather astringent. I got about 800 fruits off of two plants, but I really didn’t care for it. So I didn’t save any seed. It requires a long season and most were not ripe. It didn’t work for me.
So another year, another fruit. This time I bought a plant the Phalsa berry

Phalsa Berry (Grewia asiatica)
Also called Indian Sherbet Berry, Phalsa is a fast-growing subtropical plant native to India and Southeast Asia. The fruits are borne in clusters and turn from light green to red to purple when fully ripe. About the size of a blueberry, Phalsa berries have a pleasant, sweet, almost sherbet-like flavor. Fruiting usually starts in mid-summer and the fruit needs to be harvested daily. The plant tends to have a a sprawling habit and reaches about 6-8’ tall when planted in the ground. When new canes emerge, the leaves have a bronze-burgundy tint. In India, Phalsa is commonly used to make beverages since it’s reputed to have a cooling effect on the body. It’s also classified as a “superfruit” that’s rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C.

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I’ve seen this plant at some online nursery sites.I’d probably need to grow the thing in a container,to be stored inside during the Winter.
I work with a guy from India and asked him,using the name Phalsa,about the bush.He didn’t recognize it.When I showed him your pictures,Drew,he immediately knew and said the name,Channia Mania Boor and they are very common there.But also,since they have many dialects,he told me the plant could have thirty different names. Brady

Usually these experiments don’t pan out, but what the hey! Yes, i have to bring inside. I’ll put it next to my black pepper vine. Which overwintered really well. Also from India! Hoping this berry does as well!

One year I grew Magnolia vine berries. And even though the berries are terrible fresh, they make a very unique tea. It’s a keeper for me! The leaves can be used for tea too. I look forward to the tea every year.
Next year I’m going to try Solanum Sisymbriifolium, A sort of wild tomato that has a cherry like taste with a tomato finish. You grow the same way as tomatoes. I would grow it this year, but my plate is so full!

I’m hoping to find a use for Phalsa, maybe just for juice/jam. Time will tell!

Tried Miracle berries(Tree/shrub though)? Fruit that takes away sour. That was my choice for exotic fruit.
Favorite thing. Eat a berry, Find a tasty apple, slice it up and coat it in 3-4 lemons, Just delightful, can eat like 2-4 apples straight then and there.Sweet Lemony coated sugar apples which also are slightly sweeter/different tasting.

Slow grower, Dosen’t take much space, though gotta keep it above 50’sh for the lowest. Handled 40’s but wouldnt recommend. Good inside plant. Requires alot of distilled/rainwater, and acid soil. Takes 2+ years to fruit from seed or 2 feet-tall, Seeds expire fast as well, and cost like 1-2$ pre-seed. 30-45+Range for one fruiting already.

White little nothing flowers, and green little stubs appear. Pic from yesterday of mine. Self-pollinating. Still trying to figure out how to handle the plant after a year. Some people get 50+ berries at a time on the still small like mine tree’s in pots. I think I need to put it in a mini-greenhouse and set up an auto-mister or something to get crazy amounts of berries.

How is your Phalsa doing this year… Since you posted about it I’ve been debating it myself. How would you describe the berries?

Also, re your magnolia vine, have you had any problems with stems turning white? It hasn’t seemed to bother the leaves, but it seems weird.



Well it is a new plant. Growing slow, but growing. No berries yet. Probably not for a couple years.

My magnolia vine is doing well, never saw white stems. Maybe too much Sun?

A bit of research leaves me thinking it has powdery mildew. I sprayed it with baking soda, soap and oil and hope to see an improvement.

How old was yours when you started getting berries? I had one before, but it was in a terrible location, I had it in pretty deep shade, and it struggled for about 3-4 years before I lost it.


Also try seaweed extract for the powdery mildew. Or if a small area, remove it, and keep spraying the rest of the plant.
Mine had a few berries the 2nd year. It is now 3rd leaf.
It is located between houses, only getting some eastern exposure. In this photo you can see it behind my dog and the currant bush, on the right, on the fence.

Third leaf, it produced about 500 berries.

Here are some of the berries, dried and fresh.

This plant is doing well, maybe a cutting off of this plant would be best? One of my friends wants a piece. I have to research the best way to propagate.
I mulch with compost every spring, and I feed it when i remember to do so. Often i forget about it! As you can see it is in a mini-raised bed. The wood is 1 foot tall. It may prefer these dry conditions. I often forget to water, and see it drooping. In ground, you may not want to water at all.
Trying to go over why this plant is thriving and yours is not. Raised bed, compost and leaves as mulch, fertilized, left fairly dry.

Mine is brand new, only in The ground for about a month. I would hate to lose it as the other plant I purchased at the same time, actinidia polygama died (which I will replace next spring). By the time I had sprayed it, about 3/4ths of the stems were covered and white, the leaves looked fine, though.

Yours looks great. Are you familiar with the process of air layering? Bend a stem down so that it can be buried or pinned into soil. I generally cut a small slit in the stem and wedge a piece of toothpick into it. (With or without rooting hormone). This allows the stem to root, without losing the support of the mother plant. I’ve never done it to Magnolia vine, but this works fairly well with many woody plants (vines can be funny, though…passionflowers I just use cuttings, clematis I air layer)

How seedy are the fruit? Are the seeds noticable, like currants, or less so? What kind of currant do you have?


The fruit has a large seed in the center. They are not good at all fresh. I could not eat them fresh. The only good use is for tea. If you like Earl Grey. or Constant Comfort tea, you may like this. Both those teas use spices to flavor the tea, this has a citrus like favor, rather bitter. One of the 50 essential Chinese herbs.

I grow currants strictly for processing too. I have every kind I can think of. Red, white, pink, black. The blacks are very new, from cuttings. i would like to add more. I will be adding more.
The one pictured is a red, Laxton’s Number One. It grows well so I want to make a cordon on the fence. Most of the canes on the ground will eventually be removed. Rovada is easier to pick as pointed out by Bob, but this one grows better for me and is easier to make a cordon with.
My Rovada isn’t doing well. I’m going to get another plant, this one just never established.

Hi Bradybb & Drew51,

I going to guess the Indian guy was the owner at I just noticed he stocks Phalsa and recently went on-line. (Probably a smart move 'cause his place in Raleigh NC did not do his rare and unusual plants justice). I’m also going to experiment with Sherbet Berry / Phalsa / Channia Mania Boor also - looks beautiful.
Happy gardening!