The Abiu tree is a tropical fruit tree grown commonly in Hawaii and native to the Amazon region of northwest Brazil. The tree has a rounded crown with oval shaped leaves and can reach 25 to 30 feet tall. The pulp has a smooth, clear, jelly-like texture, with a sweet caramel flavor. The seeds are easily removed so the pulp can be simply scooped out and enjoyed with a spoon. When ripened, the fruit is a pale yellow color on the bottom with a slight gradient to the green top and a soft leathery texture.
Choosing a location: Abiu Trees can be grown in all 50 states simply by keeping them potted but are most commonly grown outdoors in tropical areas. Bring them indoors before temperatures drop below 40 degrees and provide lots of sunlight. Most tropicals like the Abiu Tree are very fast growing and easier to maintain over domestic fruit trees.
Planting directions (in ground): A well draining soil is of primary importance as Abiu Tree’s roots do not like to be wet and will rot if allowed to sit in standing water for extended periods. Abiu Trees are fast growing and require space to stretch out, so plant at least 10 feet from other trees or shrubs.
1) Abiu trees love lots of sun so try to dig your hole in an area that will receive 10-12 hours of bright sun for the best fruiting results. Partial sun will still work but these are tropical trees so think “hot and humid” to keep them happy and healthy.
2) Make the hole twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. You may want to test the drainage of the spot by filling a 1 foot wide by 1 foot deep hole and filling it with water. If the water has not fully drained after one hour, you may need to amend the soil a bit.
3) A mixture of amended soil containing sand and perlite is highly recommended for proper drainage.
4) Back fill your hole while gently tamping down the soil as you go along to prevent any air pockets.
5) Water generously when you’re done and spread a good layer of mulch around the tree. Avoid the mulch being right next to the trunk to avoid any rot or fungus from forming.
Planting directions (potted): Abiu Trees can be grown very well in containers. Be sure to provide an adequate sized pot to start with for good root development.
1) Select a pot 18-24 plus inches in diameter and 20 plus inches in height, with adequate drainage holes.
2) A mixture of potting soil, compost and a little fertilizer will make up the best potting medium for the tree.
3) A bright and sunny solarium or window location with a more southern exposure is best for growth and fruit production.
Watering: Good drainage is essential, abiu trees will not tolerate waterlogging. Depending on light conditions, location and foliage, watering may be required weekly or daily. Be sure to not over water, mucky soil will cause decay and rot which will ultimately kill the tree. During the warmer seasons the tree may need to be watered on a daily basis but mulching around the tree will help the soil retain moisture. Outdoor mulch is too heavy to use on an indoor, potted tree. Try to use something like aged mulch or stone to cover the top 1 inch of the soil surface and preserve moisture.
Pruning: Young trees need to be trimmed and trained into 3-5 main scaffold limbs over the first 2-3 years. Always remove dead, upright or poorly placed limbs. Sterilize your cutting tool using a household rubbing alcohol to ensure a healthy cut. Always trim at a 45 degree angle.
Fertilizing: Fertilize your abiu tree once every two months in the first year. Start out using 1/4 lb of fertilizer and gradually increase to 1 lb. For the next year you will only need to apply additional fertilizer 3-4 times yearly. Do not exceed more than 20 lbs worth of fertilizer in a single year. The most commonly used (recommended) fertilizer is a 6-6-6 formula.
Fruit production: Abiu may have several flowering periods a year, with potential for both flowers and fruit on the tree at one time. The fruit development is fairly quick! You will notice a marble sized fruit within a few days after the flower drop. These quickly grow into larger fruit that is good to pick once the skin turns bright yellow. Be sure to let it sit on your kitchen counter for a day or two after picking to let it fully ripen.