The miracle fruit is a tropical evergreen tree that is native to West Africa. This showy plant produces large, rich green foliage and blooms small, white flowers that often last for many months. Often referred to as the miracle berry, the miracle fruit produces small, bright red berries that are known to temporarily eliminate the sour taste of lemon when eaten immediately before the citrus slice.
Soil and pH
The miracle fruit is an acid-loving plant that requires a soil acidity from 4.5 and 5.8 for successful growth. Failure to provide this highly acidic environment will cause the miracle fruit to experience gradual but continuous growth stunt and dieback until the plant perishes. In order to achieve the appropriate soil acidity, the potting or gardening soil must consist of peat and perlite mixes, as explained by the California Rare Fruit Growers organization.
As a tropical plant, the miracle fruit plant requires warm, high humidity environments that are free of extreme temperature variations and cold temperatures. It thrives in locations that receive at least eight to 10 hours of full, daily sunlight with humidity levels at or above 50 percent. The miracle fruit plant is intolerant of cold temperatures and should be protected from temperatures that fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Like many tropical plants, the miracle fruit plant requires lots of water and should be watered frequently to avoid dry soils. However, the miracle fruit is also intolerant to wet feet and should never be allowed to sit in standing water.
The frequent irrigation required can quickly drain the soil of its nutrients. Therefore, it is important to provide the miracle fruit with regular fertilization applications throughout its growing season, from early spring through late fall. The California Rare Fruit Growers organization recommends that you fertilize your miracle fruit with a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. The fertilizer should be applied as instructed to avoid over-fertilization, which would result in injury to your plant.
Disease and Infestation
Miracle fruit trees are relatively resistant to disease. However, improper watering, resulting in a waterlogged plant, can quickly lead to root rot. Though resistant to most diseases, the miracle fruit is quite vulnerable to pests, including mealy bugs and spider mites. These pests feed on the foliage and fruit of the miracle fruit, which causes stress and injury of the plant. Pest infestations of the miracle fruit are easily eliminated by cleaning the plant with a insecticidal soap and warm water. A light insecticide spray treatment is also effective in treating these infestations.
The miracle plant is a slow- and low-growing plant that averages mature heights of about 6 feet in the unnatural environment. Top Tropicals explains that, though slow-growing, the plant begins its fruit production when it reaches heights around 1 foot. The miracle fruit is a constant grower with no dormancy period. It produces fruit year-round and its fruit can take up to three years to mature.