Pitanga care

In recent times we are seeing fruits in supermarkets that we have never seen before, one of them being the pitanga. But what plant produces it? Can you stand the cold?

Our protagonist, whose scientific name is Eugenia uniflora, is a shrub or small evergreen tree known by the common names of ñangapiry, capulí, currant, cherry, cayenne cherry and, also, pitanga.

Characteristics of the Pitanga

It grows in the rainforests of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay. It reaches an approximate height of 7.5 meters. The leaves are simple, opposite, with the entire margin, bright green and 4 to 6.5 cm long.

Its flowers, which sprout in spring, are white. They can appear in groups or solitary. Once they are pollinated, the fruit begins to ripen, which is an edible oblate berry up to 4cm in diameter, with eight clearly visible ribs. When it finishes maturing, it is deep red in color.

Inside they are normally a spherical seed, but there can be up to three. Its fruits grow in isolation, being able to give between ten and twenty fruits in the same cluster.

If the pitanga is cultivated in fences, it can withstand intense pruning, thus achieving a dense foliage of it, although the fruit production will be lower than in those trees that have not been pruned.

Another interesting characteristic of this fruit is that it has anti-cancer properties, thanks to the amount of antioxidants present in its pulp and skin.

The pitanga can be used to increase energy, since it contains a large amount of proteins and carbohydrates, thus quickly replacing the energy lost during physical exercise.

You can use the skin of this fruit to treat colic, diarrhea or its symptoms.

In few occasions it is seen that insects affect the pitanga, since its leaves have repellent characteristics, so they are also used to scare flies and other insects.

Thanks to the large amount of phosphorus it has, it helps to eliminate serious problems in the kidneys, such as free stones.

What are Pitanga leaves like?

This plant has leaves that are simple, glabrous, opposite, ovoid in shape and of an intense green color. The leaves of this tree are usually kept throughout the year, so it maintains its foliage permanently and it will remain its color all the time, even in autumn.

It will not be necessary that we can the pitanga tree, so the care you will have to give it will be much less than that of other plants in your garden. In addition, since the seeds of the pitanga do not attract birds, these will not be a problem for your crop.

How long does the pitanga take to bear fruit?

After you have done the process of growing the pitanga in your garden or space conditioned for it, you will have to arm yourself with patience to wait for the first fruits, since this plant will take three years for it.

However, given all the benefits that we have told you about the pitanga, it is worth the wait, right?

How is it grown?

To be able to cultivate the pitanga you will not have to do a lot of work, but be very attentive to some things that allow your tree, flowers and fruits, to have the right conditions to be able to have a good harvest, especially during the ripening cycle, since the size and flavor of the fruit depends on it, as well as the size that the tree itself can reach.

The first thing you should know to grow pitanga are the basic conditions that are necessary for this and which are the following:

  • Location: it must be sown outdoors, in full sun or in semi-shade.
  • Soil: the one necessary for the pitanga is not demanding, but it needs good drainage.
  • Irrigation: you will have to drain it every 2 days in summer, and every 4-5 days the rest of the year.
  • Fertilizer: it is recommended to fertilize it with fertilizers rich in phosphorus to improve the quality of the fruit.
  • Rusticity: supports up to -3ºC if it is for a short time.

Also, if you are interested in sowing pitanga, you have to do it with seeds that are literally new, those that have just germinated after a month of planting, since, otherwise, germination would be possibly interrupted.

When you go to water the plantation to the pitanga plant, first check that the land is really dry, since this tree does not support land that has excess water, that is limestone or very saline. The best thing you can do is add fertilizer watering at least once a week during spring and summer.

During the cultivation process, you will have to do maintenance to the plants, but don’t worry, it is something extremely simple. Use a garden scissors to prune the pitanga tree, cutting those branches that are more deteriorated, but without pruning too much, because you can eliminate branches that have good wood for the growth of the fruit.

When you go to remove the fruit from the pitanga, do not pluck it, you just have to touch it and let it fall into your hand. Remember that the less you prune the tree, the more fruit you will get from it.

Is it suitable for interiors?

No, although the pitanga can develop almost anywhere, it must be located outdoors, since it needs to be in contact with it or in semi-shade, as well as having good water drainage.

If you have it inside your house, the safest thing is that the plant will not develop, its flowers and of course, neither will its fruits.

Is it suitable for low temperatures?

Low temperatures do not allow the pitanga to develop well, so, as you must plant it outside your house, it is best that the climate of that place does not have temperatures below -3ºC, since below that temperature the plant will not resist.

Is it suitable for direct sun?

Although this plant can be planted outdoors where the sun shines directly on it, you have to consider that when it is a very hot season, it may not resist it, so it is best to look for a place that has semi-shade or that In times where the sun has a high intensity, it cannot affect it.

Pitanga diseases and pests

Something that people are also unaware of is that the pitanga is one of the few plants that is not affected by any type of pest, thanks to the repellent characteristics it has, so it is totally unlikely that an insect or worse, a plague, they will want to be in it.

How to plant it

On many occasions, surely you limited yourself to growing your trees because you thought that a garden or a large area of ​​land was necessary for it, when the reality is that you can start with a simple pot for it.

As the dimensions of the pitanga are not going to be greater than 7.5 meters, we can place it perfectly in a pot, which must be enabled to drain the little water it requires to maintain itself.

Use the newly germinated seeds of another pitanga plant that you have or that a neighbor has, bury it in the pot 1 cm deep and in a short time you will begin to see the tree grow. In addition, you will have to add fertilizer rich in phosphorus so that the fruits of this plant can grow properly, in terms of flavor and size.

Uses of the pitanga

We are talking about a fruit that is edible and that has, as we have already mentioned, many properties that are beneficial for health, thanks to the large amount of vitamins, phosphorus, iron and calcium it has.

The pitanga fruit can be eaten whole or broken. It can be used for the preparation of jams, preserves, juices or infusions, as it can also benefit you with its medicinal properties to treat digestive problems, diuretics, among others.

Another use that is given in the food industry, although it is more in the liquor part, is for the preparation of alcoholic beverages such as brandy.

Beyond the edible, with the pitanga perfumes and even anti-inflammatories are also made to soothe gum pain.

The leaves are also taken as an infusion. To do this, you just have to put them in a shady place, and wait for them to dry. Then, you can put them in a saucepan with water until it boils.

Of course, it is used as an ornamental plant. Its size and its flowers are very decorative, and as it does not take up much space it can be had in small-medium gardens.

All the aforementioned properties of the pitanga may have motivated more attention to be paid to it and that its crops will reach regions where they have never known it before.

As you have seen throughout the article, the pitanga is a fruit that has many properties that we can use, in addition to growing it is nothing to write home about, so we could well have it in the garden of our homes.

If you are interested in growing pitanga, follow our practical tips for it, which we are sure will help you. But if you need the healing properties of this, it is also a way to start to know more about it.

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