Averrhoa is named after Averrhoes, an Arabian physician. The most popular Averrhoa is the carambola or star fruit. A favorite in fruit salads, the carambola is just beginning to be used for bonsai. It is a small, tropical tree which grows to about 25 ft. Native to Malaya and S.E. Asia, it has dark green, evergreen compound leaves of 5-11 leaflets, small, rose coloured flowers and fleshy five-lobed fruit. The plant will flower and fruit 2-4 times yearly.
Will grow in semishade, although they prefer full sun. Temperature: Young trees should never go below freezing. Older trees can withstand temperatures down to 28F.
Likes generous watering, although Averrhoa can be damaged by water-logged soil.
Supplement liquid bonsai food/ half-strength plant food with trace minerals.
Pruning and wiring:
No information available, as the use of carambola in bonsai is still in the experimental stage. Carambola is a naturally upright tree, so formal/informal upright styles are logical choices.
Lesniewicz lists Averrhoa as a tree which can be grown from a seed obtained from a grocery store fruit.
No information on time/frequency of repotting, although most tropicals like to be transplanted during warm weather. Averrhoa prefers acid soil, pH 5.5-6.5, although it will tolerate most soil types. It is not salt tolerant, however.
Pests and diseases:
No serious pest problems, although caterpillars, mites and scale are occasionally reported.
Lesniewicz’s “Bonsai in Your Home”
“Florida Fruit” by Lewis Maxwell
Florida Landscape Plants, Revised Edition, John V. Watkins, et. al.
Compiled by Sabrina Caine and Thomas L. Zane