Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Synsepalum dulcificum (Miracle Fruit)

I haven't received the seeds yet, but this is the information that I've managed to put together on germination and propagation of this amazing fruit. If any one has tried growing it for themselves I would really appreciate any tips or recommendations.

Synsepalum dulcificum (Miracle Fruit) is native to Western Africa and has been known for hundreds of years. The indigenous peoples of the region eat the berries prior to meals, as most of the food in the region is bitter. It was rediscovered by the West about 50 years ago but attempts to commercialize it's sweetening properties have so far failed. The protein responsible for these properties only lasts about two days after the berry is picked and is destroyed by cooking.


Clean seeds
Soak for 24 hours (about 1/4 of seeds should be exposed to air)
Temperatures around 30 - 35C
Biodegradable pots to protect roots from future transplant trauma
Depth of minimum 10cm, long root grows before germination visible on surface
Soil 1/2 peat moss, 1/2 perlite
About 25% germination so gibberrelic acid helps, takes several weeks
Push seeds into soil until just barely visible
Warmth, humidity and indirect sunlight are important
*Note: I found one website where fresh seeds were germinated in warm, moist paper towel with a high success rate


Transplant when roots are showing (be very careful not to damage the roots)
One quart size should be fine for quite some time
Use same soil mix as before or you're own version but with 5% by volume coffee grinds
If you choose a different soil it must be well drained and rich
Growth is slow
Expect fruit in 2 - 3 years (possibly earlier under ideal conditions), usually at 30cm height
30 - 45 days from flower to fruit
*Note: Acidic soil is essential or the plant will die


Can take full sun if close to 100% humidity maintained, but partial recommended
Mixing in bone and blood meal is said to help
Never let the plant dry out
Enjoys being pot bound
Fertilize 20-20-20 1/4 tsp per gallon or tree fertilizer
*Note: Temperatures below 18C (65F) are not good for this plant

Hopefully this information is useful and you can start some plants of your own. Many nurseries offer plants that are about a year old to speed up the process and get past the issue of poor germination rates. These tend to be very expensive and difficult to get across a border so I decided to go with seeds.

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