Originally from West Africa, the famous “miracle berry” grows on a tree of the Sapotaceae family, which bears the name of Synsepalum dulcificum. Its fresh fruits are very difficult to obtain at the moment in Europe. It is a rare plant, the fruits of which are not yet present on market stalls, nor even in specialized grocery stores. The ideal is to have a green thumb in order to cultivate the plant directly at home! In this article, we will see the optimal growing conditions for this plant!
How to properly grow Synsepalum dulcificum?
Synsepalum dulcificum grows very well in pots indoors, in a veranda or in a hot greenhouse at a temperature of 20-25°C. For its cultivation, it appreciates cool, draining and slightly acid soils (pH 4.5 to 5.8). For example, you can make a mixture of 40% horticultural soil, 40% heather soil and 20% sand (or perlite). Regarding the exposure, choose a sunny or semi-shaded location, and avoid direct sun. Being of tropical origin, it is advisable to spray the foliage from time to time (with non-chlorinated water), because this shrub likes to have a good level of humidity in the air, around 80%, crucial point for the success of its culture.
This shrub does not tolerate stagnant humidity, hence the importance of using a well-draining substrate when repotting and paying particular attention to watering. To do this, I advise you to water in such a way as to keep the substrate slightly moist, but not soggy. Ideally, let the substrate dry on the surface between two waterings. Synsepalum dulcificum is a non-hardy species, which absolutely does not support frost. During the winter period, it is advisable to place the plant in a light exposure at a lower temperature than during the summer of the order of 15-18°C.
Common problems and solutions!
-The leaves of the plant become dry and brittle: In general, this occurs during a lack of watering or a lack of humidity in the air. To avoid this inconvenience to the plant, be careful and never let the substrate dry out completely, keep the soil slightly moist and spray the foliage of the plant with water (without chlorine) daily.
-Some leaves turn red or the spots turn black: Leaves that turn brown on the edges or leaves that turn red is often a sign of too much sun or heat. It’s not a big deal, let those reddish leaves grow quietly. Leaves with brown edges will stay that way, but should not continue if you place the plant in a place without direct sun at a temperature of 20-25°C.
-The leaves of the plant become pale, dull : It is probably the substrate that is the problem, it is often a sign that the pH of the soil is too high. Make sure the substrate is acidic (between 4.5 and 5.8). If necessary, repot the plant by adding heather soil.
– Fine cobwebs form on the plants: This indicates the presence of mites, often red spider mites. These insects feed on the contents of the cells and can in the long term lead to the death of the plant. If necessary, use an insecticide (preferably organic) or introduce predatory insects.