The Jackfruit tree (or “Artocarpus heterophyllus”) is the producer of the biggest, tree grown fruit in the world. There have been some cases where this unusually exotic fruit can get to be as heavy as 80 lbs. and roughly 35 inches in length; 20 inches in diameter! A healthy, mature tree can produce anywhere from 100-200 of these gargantuan fruits per year. The Jackfruit tree is a tropical native hailing from areas of South-East Asia. It is typically grown in zones 9-11 but can be potted and brought indoors during cold seasons for zones 4-8 (typically when temperatures start dipping to 50 degrees or lower). Reaching mature heights of 50-70 feet and 20-30 feet wide, the Jackfruit tree will perform best if planted in rich, porous soil. They love heat and humidity as they are tropical trees but will not tolerate standing water around their roots and will not produce fruit if the soil is left soggy.
Choosing a location: Find a spot where you’ll have 12 hours of full sun exposure and where water will never pool. Remember, this is native to the tropics so think lots of heat and humidity to keep these trees happy. Avoid areas where there is competing vegetation and where an old tree’s roots may have been.
Planting directions (in ground): The most common time to plant a Jackfruit tree is in the spring so the rain can do most of the watering for you.
1) Once you have found an ideal location for your jackfruit tree, make your hole twice the size of the root ball and just as deep. You may want to loosen the soil a bit more at the bottom to assist with the taproot getting established.
2) If you want to guarantee good drainage, you can mix in sand, organic matter, perlite, and a ⅓ part of compost mixed with a gardening soil.
3) Be sure that the bud patch is not lower than the soil line once you begin to backfill the hole as this can lead to root rot and other health problems.
4) Press down on the soil as you fill the hole to prevent air pockets from forming. You can also fill the hole partially, water a little to settle the soil and then continue to backfill.
5) Once you have fully filled the hole, water generously and spread a good layer of mulch around to conserve moisture while keeping competing weeds away.
Planting directions (potted): The Jackfruit can be successfully potted and cared for, but it will require lots of sun while indoors and the height will need to be maintained or else it will get to be too large to move easily.
1) The most difficult thing about potting a Jackfruit tree is taking care not to disrupt the delicate taproot. It’s best to find a pot roughly 18-24 inches in diameter and 20 (or more) inches tall to allow plenty of room for the root system.
*Tip* Taproots can break through the bottom of a pot that is too shallow. Try to find a container that has some height to it so there’s ample room for the taproot.
2) Before you pot your tree, an easy way to keep the soil from becoming overly saturated is to line the bottom of the container with a couple inches of gravel. This will assure you proper drainage of the soil. Try to use a light, fast draining potting soil.
3) Place your Jackfruit tree next to a south facing window for maximum sun exposure. You may even want to utilize a grow light to ensure the tree is getting enough light exposure. Tropical plants like 10-12 hours of full sun.
4) Jackfruit knows it’s a tropical tree and will act as such. Be sure to keep the humidity up around the tree by daily spritzing or utilizing a humidifier. Potted Jackfruit can be a bit of a challenge but is possible with proper care.
Watering: Jackfruit needs a constantly moistened soil but cannot tolerate standing water or poor drainage. Root rot can easily set in if there is excess moisture being retained in the soil or pooling at the base. Due to the tree’s need for a constant water source, most people wait until the rainy season to plant Jackfruit.
A potted Jackfruit is more easily monitored for water. You can stick your finger into the soil and feel around for moisture. If the soil feels like it is beginning to dry, then water enough to where you see it escaping the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and stop. You may need to water more regularly in the hotter seasons so be sure to check your soil if the weather is getting hotter.
Pruning: Prune regularly to maintain the tree’s height to about 20 feet. When it has grown to 12 feet or taller, cut back the main trunk to about 8 feet to encourage dense branches to form. Pruning the tree to this height will also facilitate harvesting. Be sure to remove any competing weeds from growing in the area that can steal nutrients from the soil.
Fertilizing: Jackfruit trees are moderate to heavy feeders and will greatly benefit from fertilizing regularly. Use a time release fertilizer for your in-ground Jackfruit such as a 8-3-9 formula or similar. Be sure to follow the application instructions to avoid burning the tree’s root system. The amount to feed the tree will vary upon its age. Here is a beneficial chart to break down how much to feed the tree based upon its age.
|Amount per tree/
|Time of application|
|1st year||G||4 oz||every 3 months|
|2nd year||G||6 oz||every 3 months|
|3rd year||F||1 lb.||every 4 months|
|4th year||F||2 lb.||every 4 months|
|5th year||F||3 lb.||every 6 months|
|6th year||F||5 lb.||every 6 months|
|7th year on||F||6-7 lb.||every 6 months|
G = Growth mixture F = Flowering mixture
Feed your potted Jackfruit weekly using a weaker liquid fertilizer. They are not heavy feeders in the containers but younger trees will thrive with regular applications of fertilizer.