Star Fruit Plants- Growing Unique Tropical Fruit

Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) is probably not unfamiliar to you. This subtropical tree’s fruit is star-shaped, making it stand out from the crowd of unusual tropical fruits. Its tangy flavour is evocative of apples, grapes, and citrus. Star fruit plants have huge clusters of lilac-purple blooms that draw bees and other pollinators to them. In addition to its star-shaped fruits, you may also consider star fruit plants for their decorative appeal.

star fruit plants

The star fruit plants are the short, pretty, slow-growing tropical tree that is thought to be native to Malaysia, Indonesia, and southern China. Even though the tree is no longer found in the wild, the star fruit plants are grown commercially for their strange fruit. Fragrant rose flowers grow in the leaf axils, followed by waxy, five-sided yellow fruit. When sliced, the fruit looks like a star, which is how it got its name. The fruits are usually eaten fresh in fruit salads or star-shaped decorations.

Knowing Star Fruit Plants

  1. Usually, the star fruit plants grow between 20 and 30 feet tall and have a wide, round crown.
  2. When fully ripe, the mature fruits, which range in size from 5 to 7 inches, change colour from bright olive green to warm bright yellow.
  3. Shiny and edible, the skin can be left on the fruit. The fruit, used in meals and beverages all over Southeast Asia, is juicy and has a firmness similar to firm green grapes.
  4. The fruit harms dogs and cats because it contains soluble calcium oxalate plants.

Planting star fruit plants

  • In the tropics, you can plant star fruit plants any time of the year. In colder areas, however, you should plant Carambola in the summer.
  • You can grow star fruit plants from seeds or by grafting them together. Still, the seeds from this particular fruit are only good for a few days at most, so use the newest seeds to give yourself the best chance of success.
  • You can also try grafting to grow star fruit plants. Take wood for grafting from mature branches with leaves and, if possible, buds.
  • It would help if you made rootstocks from healthy one-year-old seedlings.

planting star fruit plant

Care of star fruit plants


The star fruit plant does best in soil that drains well and is sandy. Using topsoil, compost, and 10% sand to make your soil mix should work out well.

If you want to try growing a starfruit tree, choose a sunny spot with rich, loamy soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.


These star fruit plants need at least 7 hours of direct sunlight daily to grow well.

If you grow it in a pot and bring it inside for the winter, make sure it has a sunny window and that the tree is turned every so often so that it gets light from all sides.

care of star fruit plant


Your star fruit plants need to be watered often when topsoil feels dry. Prefer weekly watering as per need.

Drought is not good for starfruit plants. But too much rain or too much watering can stop fruit from growing.

Temperature and humidity

The star fruit plants grow in tropical areas, so they can’t live in places where it gets below freezing. But it can be grown in pots in colder areas if the plants are brought inside for the winter and put in a greenhouse or sunny room.

It needs to be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring to set fruit, and it does best when it’s over 70 degrees Fahrenheit all summer.

As a tropical plant, it also does well in humid places. If your growing area is dry, misting the plants with cool water at least once or twice a week will keep the leaves looking full.


Lightly prune the star fruit plants in the early spring to keep them looking neat and help the fruiting branches grow balanced.

If the branches bend because of the weight of the fruit, then it needs to be pruned.


Most star fruit seeds don’t stay alive long enough to grow trees from them, so the best way to get a tree is to go to a nursery.

You can also graft star fruit branches onto other fruit trees that grow in the same way and need the same climate.

Growing Problems for Star Fruit Plants

  • If your home-grown carambola tree grows in soil with a pH above 7, it may not get enough nutrients.
  • A lack of iron can make the leaves yellow with green veins or make the leaves smaller.
  • Manganese deficiencies cause leaves to shrink and turn yellow. When there isn’t enough magnesium, the leaves mix yellow and green. If these show up, treat them with the right micronutrient.
  • Also, even though mature trees can handle short periods of cold weather, different stages of damage could happen.
  • Star fruit plants stop making fruit when the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Young leaves can die when the temperature is between 30 and 32 degrees.
  • Temperatures between 25 and 29 degrees can kill young trees, almost fully grown leaves, and young branches. Star fruit plants can die when the temperature is 24 degrees or less.

Pests and Diseases in Star Fruit Plants

(1) Pests

(a) Scales

Three different kinds of scale insects often hurt Carambola. Leaves and branches are eaten by plumose scales (Morganella longispina) and philaphedra scales (Philephedra tuberculosa). Brown scales, called Coccus hesperidum, go right for the fruit.

The number of these will go down if you spray them with horticultural oil regularly.

(b) Weevils

There are also two kinds of weevils. The diaprepes weevil (Diaprepes abbreviatus) hurts roots and can kill both roots and shoots. Occasionally, a fruit weevil called Myctides imberbis will show up and eat the tasty starfruit.

Pyrethrin can be used to treat both of these.

(c) Bugs

Stink bugs and squash bugs can make small holes in fruit that let in fungi or bacteria that make the fruit go bad. You can kill stink bugs with soap that kills insects.

Pyrethrin is a better choice for squash bugs and works on stink bugs.

(d) Thrips

At least one type of thrip, red-banded thrips, eats flowers and fruit.

To get rid of these pests, use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil.

(2) Diseases

(a) Leaf-spot

Star fruit plants often get several fungal leaf spot diseases. These are all caused by fungal pathogens like Cercospora averrhoa, Corynespora cassiicola, Gloesporium sp., Phomopsis sp., and Phyllosticta sp.

Even though they aren’t usually very dangerous for your tree, they show that it is under some stress. This could be due to a lack of food or stress from the weather.

No control is needed. All that’s needed is to find out what’s causing the stress and take care of it.

(b) Algal-rust

Cephaleuros virescens is what causes algal rust. This kind of rust makes rough grey or red circles on the bark, and it can kill back branches.

If you think your tree has algal rust, you can contact your local agricultural extension to find out for sure and get information on how to treat it.

(c) Fruit rot

Fruit rot from anthracnose doesn’t happen very often, but you’ll usually see spots on the leaves of anthracnose plants first. Treatment of the leaves should stop the spread of the disease to the fruit and protect your tree’s ability to make fruit.

Use a bio fungicide with Bacillus subtilis or a copper fungicide spray to treat it. Once the fruit is damaged, you should throw it away.

(d) Root rot

Lastly, Pythium fungi can cause root rot when the soil is too wet. Ensure that the soil around your tree drains easily when it gets too wet.

Some soil mycorrhizae are showing signs of protecting plants from fungal root rot, but there is no way to treat an infected star fruit tree, so it is important to keep it from getting sick in the first place.

Special Tips for Growing Star Fruit Plants in Pots

  1. If you are in colder climate, You can put them in a sunroom or greenhouse in the fall and winter. You can move them outside to a patio or deck during the warmer months.
  2. If you live in a mild climate, you can leave the plant outside all year as long as it is in a protected area and can be moved if the temperature drops. Low temperatures can cause leaves to fall, sometimes all of them, but the tree usually gets better when the weather warms up.
  3. Select the suitable cultivar according to your local climate. There are many different cultivars, but only few of them seem to do well in containers.
  4. Do not overwater the tree because it is sensitive, but its roots are resistant to many root diseases that affect other potted fruit trees.
  5. Carambolas do best in full sun, but they can also grow in partial sun. It will help if you put on a balanced fertilizer for star fruit plants grown in pots from spring until fall. Granular fertilizers that break down slowly or are made from natural materials are best and can be used every few months.
  6. During the winter, starfruit trees may show signs of iron chlorosis, which looks like yellowing between the leaf veins on young leaves. You can use chelated iron as a foliar spray to treat the tree, or if warm weather is coming soon, the symptoms will often go away on their own.


There are many kinds of carambolas, but they can be sweet or sour. Most of the time, the tart kinds are used as a garnish or in savoury dishes like curries or stews. The sweet ones are used to make jams and jellies, juice, cocktails, or desserts.Like other strange fruits, growing star fruit plants might not be for everyone. There is enough oxalic acid in the starfruit that it could be dangerous for people with kidney disease to eat. But it’s easier than you think. Follow these tips to grow healthy and fruitful star fruit plants.

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