Are you thinking about growing jackfruit in your yard? That’s a great project to take on, if you’re in the right growing zone! Read on for a comprehensive jackfruit planting guide, including step-by-step instructions and helpful tips.
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When is the Ideal Time or Season to Plant Jackfruit?
Rather than going by months, we’re going to aim for a particular time of the season. This is because seasonal weather will be different depending on where you are. After all, springtime in Australia doesn’t happen at the same time as it does in Costa Rica.
Whether you’re planting a young jackfruit tree from a nursery or transplanting a young seedling you grew yourself, aim to plant in between late spring and mid-summer. This will ensure that the weather is warm and wet enough for the tree to take root properly.
If you try to plant too early, the tree might be subjected to weather that’s too cold for it to endure. Alternatively, if you wait until later in the summer season the weather might get sweltering. As a result, the tree may suffer dehydration before it has a chance to establish its root structure. Allow it enough time to get those roots locked in. This way, they’ll be able to suck up the water you’ll offer it on hot days.
Proper Way of Planting Jackfruit (Step by Step)
Just like all other plants, there are right and wrong ways to plant jackfruit. Many people fail in their jackfruit growing endeavors because they’ve chosen the wrong soil, or haven’t prepared the seeds properly prior to planting. If you follow the steps listed below, your jackfruit seeds will have a much higher chance of germinating properly. From there, you can follow the care guide we’re providing to keep your trees happy and healthy for years to come.
Step 1: Get High-Quality Seeds
First and foremost, do some research ahead of time to figure out which variety you’d like to grow, and where you’ll be planting them. For example, dwarf trees do better in suburban backyards and can often be grown in large containers. Alternatively, if you’re planting a small orchard somewhere rural, just choose a species that you feel will do best in your growing zone.
If you’re growing jackfruit from seed rather than purchased seedlings, make sure you get the best quality seeds possible. You should be able to find them at a local Asian or Caribbean grocery store. If not, look for a reputable seed company online.
Another option is to harvest seeds from a fresh jackfruit, if there are any available near you. Simply purchase a fruit that’s as ripe as possible and collect the seeds from it.
Generally, jackfruit seeds have an intermediate germination percentage of 50%. This means that if you plant 10 seeds, it’s likely that only 5 of them will germinate. Furthermore, it’s possible that only 2 of those will grow into healthy, fruit-producing trees. As a result, it’s always a good idea to plant more seeds than you think you’ll need.
If you end up with more healthy jackfruit trees than you anticipated, you can sell them or give them to friends and family.
Further Reading: 30+ Types of Jackfruit
Step 2: Prepare the Planters
You don’t need a large planter to start your seeds. You’ve probably noticed that jackfruit seeds are huge, so you’ll need planters that are large enough to accommodate them.
Choose planters are are about 8 inches in diameter, and 8 to 10 inches deep. These will be large enough to allow the seeds to root well.
Wash the planters thoroughly with hot, soapy water to remove any residue or pathogens. Do this whether you’re using new containers or older ones. The soap will destroy soil-borne diseases like powdery mildew or mosaic virus. Rinse them well and allow them to dry completely.
Once they’re dry, fill them with loose potting soil. Organic seed-starting medium that has a lot of coconut coir in it is ideal, if you can find it. Alternatively, a general, all-purpose potting soil with plenty of perlite and well-aged compost will work too.
Step 3: Soak the Seeds
Jackfruit seeds need to be soaked in warm water for 24 hours before being planted. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a thermos. The water should be warm enough to stimulate germination, but not so hot that it’ll cook or otherwise damage the seeds. Run it over your wrist to check the temperature and adjust as needed to get it right.
Fill a thermos with this water, pop the seeds into it, and close it up. Let this sit on the counter for the full 24 hours and then strain the seeds out using a sieve.
Step 4: Planting Time
Use your finger to poke a few holes into the soil in each planter, then push the seeds in so they’re about 1″ deep. Cover lightly with potting soil, and water them well.
Then place the planters in a spot where they’ll get as much daily sunlight as possible. If you find that the weather is overcast or the plants aren’t getting as much light as they need, consider investing in some sun lamps. These plants really do need a lot of light and heat or they just won’t grow at all.
Step 5: Care for the First Couple of Months
Jackfruit seeds need consistently moist soil. As such, make sure to check their soil daily to see if it needs watering. You can do this by poking a finger into the soil, up to your first knuckle. If it comes out dry, then it needs more water. If it doesn’t, then water the following day instead.
There’s a fine line between offering the seeds enough to drink and drowning them. They can rot if the soil is too wet around them, but can also dry out and die very quickly if they don’t get enough water. Aim for that magical middle ground where they’re just getting enough.
The seeds should start germinating within three to four weeks. Allow them to grow until they’re about 5″ tall and have three or four healthy-looking “true” leaves.
Step 6: Thin Out
At this point, you’ll choose the biggest, strongest seedlings out of the bunch. The weak and spindly ones won’t grow into big, healthy trees, so pull those out of the soil and toss them into your compost bin. This way, the healthier seedlings won’t compete for nutrients and can grow into large, healthy plants.
Step 7: Choose and Prepare Your Planting Location(s)
Since jackfruit trees can grow up to 100 feet tall, they establish some pretty significant root networks. As a result, you’ll need to choose a spot far away from other trees. This way they won’t compete with the other trees for soil nutrients, and they’ll have plenty of room to stretch out their roots.
Select a spot where the young plant (or plants) won’t be shadowed by any buildings or other trees. Once you have some places selected, use a shovel to dig a 2′-square hole for each seedling. This means that each one should be 2 feet across by 2 feet deep. Add in some well-aged compost mixed with sand and perlite.
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Step 8: Transplant
Use a trowel to lift one of your strong, healthy seedlings out of its pot. Alternatively, you can lay the pot on its side and gently pull the seedling out.
Once you have it in your hand, use your other hand to “tickle” the roots a little bit. This simply means loosening the soil that’s in and around the roots so they spread out a bit. Then place the seedling into the middle of the hole.
Push the soil you removed around the base of the plant to make a small hill around it. Water it well, then add more soil if necessary to re-shape that hill. Make sure that the seedling’s stem is covered with soil about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way up the stem. This will provide support as it establishes its roots.
How Do You Take Care of a Jackfruit Plant?
The most important thing you can do to care for your jackfruit tree is to water it daily. You don’t have to water on rainy days, of course, but aim to offer it a drink daily otherwise. In fact, on hot, sunny days you should probably water it twice: once in the morning and once in the evening. This will prevent moisture from evaporating over the course of the day.
Make sure to eliminate any weeds growing around the plant. Otherwise, the weeds will gobble up the soil’s nutrients that should be absorbed by your jackfruit instead.
If you live in a location where the temperature gets cooler than 46F (8C) in autumn or winter, then spread mulch around the tree’s base. A thick layer of straw is ideal for this, as it will insulate the tender tree’s roots. Jackfruit is very sensitive to temperature variations and can die if its roots get too cold.
Use clean shears to prune your tree every 6 months or so to keep it from growing too tall. Aim to keep it around 15 feet tall. Work some fertilizer into the soil around the tree’s base around the same time so it gets a nutrient boost. This will counteract the shock from pruning and encourage healthy fruit growth.
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How Long Does it Take a Jackfruit Tree to Bear Fruit?
Most jackfruit trees take 3 to 4 years to bear fruit, and will start bearing regularly after the 8-year mark . Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. A perfect example of this is the Vietnam Super Early variety, which starts to produce fruit after just one year.
How to Make a Jackfruit Tree Bear Fruit
You can’t force a jackfruit tree to bear fruit, but you can certainly help to encourage it to do so. If your tree is over 5 years old and isn’t producing the way you think it should, first determine whether it’s getting enough water and sunshine.
If it is, then you can start feeding it with abundant amounts of fertilizer. Consider this like giving superfood power smoothies to a toddler.
Look for a good equally balanced organic fertilizer that has either 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 N-P-K ratios. This means that it’ll have equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (aka potash). Feed your jackfruit tree with this every 10 to 12 days in amounts suggested on the package.
Additionally, consider applying a foliar fertilizer ever 2 weeks. Foliar feeding means that you create a nutrient-rich liquid and then spray it onto the tree’s leaves. Most people don’t realize that plants absorb nutrients through their leaves as well as their roots. As such, feeding them at both root and leaf level increases their nutrient absorption exponentially.
By following this protocol, you’re very likely to see abundant fruits on your tree in record time.
Jackfruit Ideal Growing Zones
Jackfruit can grow between USDA zones 9 and 12. The ideal range is within zones 10 and 11, in an area that gets abundant rainfall, sunshine, and humidity. This is why jackfruit grow so well in Florida and Hawaii. In contrast, although parts of Texas and Arizona are hot enough to grow this fruit, there’s not enough water there to sustain them.
Now that you have a solid jackfruit planting guide, are you ready to dive in and start growing them yourself? They do take some time and patience to cultivate, but if you have a lot of space and plenty of sunshine, they’re well worth the effort.