The sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera) is a small, multi-stemmed coastal tree native to Florida and the Gulf Region. This attractive tree takes salt spray, poor soil and drought in stride. It produces a rounded canopy up to 25 feet high with leathery, dark green, disk-shaped leaves that turn bright red in fall. A delicious jelly is made from the mature fruits, which resemble rounded, green grapes. These tough trees are often used in coastal gardens, parking lots and streetscapes. They can be easily propagated by using cuttings.
Select a healthy, actively growing, green branch from a sea grape tree in April or May.
Make a clean, diagonal cut about 8 to 10 inches from the tip of the branch with a sharp knife. Strip away any leaves from the lower two thirds of the cutting, leaving the terminal buds intact. Wrap the cutting in moistened paper towel and place it in a plastic bag. Keep the cutting cool and shaded, and plant it as soon as possible.
Fill a clean 6-inch pot with a mixture of one part coarse sand and one part peat-based potting mix. Water the pot until water drains from the bottom and the mixture is evenly moist. Use your finger to make a 3- to 4-inch deep hole in the center.
Dip the bottom 2 to 3 inches of the cutting into rooting hormone powder. Follow the instructions on the product label carefully, and use care not to inhale the powder or get it on your skin.
Insert the cutting into the hole and firm the soil gently. Water the pot until water runs from the bottom and place the cutting in a warm, sheltered place, in filtered sunlight. Keep the soil evenly moist but never allow it to become waterlogged.
When new growth appears, gradually move your plant into partial sunlight and water the pot once a week.
Things You Will Need
- Sharp knife
- Paper towel
- Plastic bag
- Rooting hormone powder
- Coarse sand
- Potting mix
- 6-inch pot
- Transplant your sea grape cutting into a large pot or outdoors when it has filled the pot with roots and shows active growth. Select a location that is sheltered from strong winds, with sandy, well-drained soil.
- Be sure to take your cuttings from a female tree if you want to use the fruit for jelly, because males do not produce fruit.
- Try growing variegated cultivars for a striking specimen adapted to coastal conditions.
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