Caimito is a big tree when grown in the ground. But did you know that if grown in a container, its size can be controlled and with proper care, the tree will bear fruit.

About five years ago, at the Sarian Farm in Teresa, Rizal, a couple of grafted purple caimito seedlings were planted in big rubberized containers. Now, they are in their second year of fruiting. The fruits may not be as many as those grown in the field, but it is something fascinating to own a fruiting caimito tree in a container.

The potting medium is important because it has to provide not only the nutrients needed by the plant but also to make sure there is good drainage. The potting medium could be a mixture of top soil, processed organic fertilizer such as Durabloom or well-decomposed chicken manure. For good drainage, carbonized rice hull or even non-carbonized rice hull will do.

Because of the limited growing medium where the plant will absorb its nourishment, regular fertilization should be made. Every month or so, about a hundred grams of chemical fertilizer can be buried in the potting medium around the edge of the container. Foliar fertilizer can be applied every two weeks to enhance the vigor of the tree. Also, don’t allow the soil to get too dry. The plant should be regularly watered to make the soil moderately moist.

Nilda Montilla with close up of the Caimito fruits.

For best result, situate the caimito in a container in full sun although it will also tolerate partial shade. There’s not much problem regarding pests and diseases in caimito. However, when the fruits are about to ripen, they may be bagged or wrapped with newspaper to prevent damage from fruitfly.

Aside from caimito, there are many other fruit trees that can be grown in containers. Different mango varieties, including the imported ones, can be planted in containers and they will bear fruit. Also good candidates for growing in containers are chico, pummelo, Abiu, makopa, mabolo, berba, and others.

This appeared without a byline in Agriculture Monthly’s March 2019 issue.