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How to Make Miracle Fruit Bear

miracle fruit berries ready to be picked
Ripe miracle fruit Synsepalum dulcificum
Click to enlarge.

A common question asked and searched for with little success by people growing miracle fruit Synsepalum dulcificum is how to make an apparently healthy yet unproductive miracle fruit bear fruit?

When asked, the nurserymen who sell miracle fruit shrug their shoulders and say their miracle fruit plants in the greenhouse typically have fruit. I had the same problem with a miracle fruit I bought for my mother and will describe what I did to make her plant seen at right bear abundandly.

Much has already been written about miracle fruit needing rich, acidic soil that is moist but not soggy, shade, humid air, frost protection, etc. The following is how I grow my mom's miracle fruit:

You Need to be the Bee

Insert the tip of an artists brush inside the petals of the miracle fruit flowers
Hand pollination by inserting tip of brush inside each flower.
Click to enlarge.

After about two years of trying different things, the answer in my case appeared to be lack of a pollinator. I noticed that I never saw an insect on the flowers that might qualify as a pollinator. The miracle fruit is self fruiting but the flowers are quite small and I observed that the flowers never seemed to open as I assumed they would.

On the chance that mine as a single plant wasn't getting pollinated, I rolled up a piece of tissue and touched the end to the tip of several flowers. I pressed in enough that the tip of the rolled tissue got inside the tip of the petals. Perhaps two or three weeks later, I noticed green miracle fruit berries where I previously hand pollinated. Viola!

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