miracle berry plant

Growing and Caring for The Miracle Berry Plant (Synsepalum dulcificum)

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The miracle berry is a really fun plant. It’s not your typical houseplant, but with a bright and sunny spot, you can certainly grow this fruiting plant indoors. Read on to learn how to grow and care for this miraculous shrub.

The miracle berry plant (Synsepalum dulcificum) is an evergreen shrub that produces attractive glossy red berries. What’s in the fruits is more popular than their looks, however. 

Something fascinating happens when you eat these berries. They don’t taste particularly remarkable, but they do make sour and bitter foods taste sweet if eaten within about half an hour! 

This tropical evergreen has attractive foliage, consisting of 2-4 inch (5-10cm) leaves that are crowded at the ends of branches. It fruits from a size of about 2 feet (60 cm) and will produce miracle berries throughout the year with a peak in summer.

Plant Facts

Scientific nameSynsepalum dulcificum
Common namesMiracle berry, miraculous berry, miracle fruit, sweet berry
FamilySapotaceae
Plant TypeTropical shrub
Height and Width2-5 ft. tall (indoors), 1–3 ft. wide (indoors)
OriginGhana and other tropical West African countries
Flower colorsWhite
Foliage colorGreen
Sun ExposureBright indirect sunlight, direct sunlight
Soil Type & pHWell-drained, acidic soil (pH 4.5-5.8)
Special featuresEdible plant, showy fruits

How to Grow a Miracle Berry Plant

The miracle berry can be grown both outdoors and indoors. This plant can grow into a small tree of over 14 feet (4.3m) if grown outdoors. It is easy to keep to a manageable size as a potted indoor plant, however. 

Read on to learn more about growing your own miracle berry plant.

Propagation

Miracle berry plants can be grown from cuttings or seeds extracted from ripe fruits. The seeds must be fresh in order to germinate, however. 

Alternatively, you can purchase seeds online if you don’t have access to ripe fruits. If grown from seed, you can expect your plant to begin fruit production after 3 to 5 years if well taken care of.  

Soil

Your miracle fruit tree will need an acidic soil to really thrive. You can easily prepare your own growing medium by mixing equal parts of peat moss and perlite. This mix has a low pH and provides excellent drainage. 

Pruning

This miracle plant can reach ceiling height indoors if grown under ideal conditions, but don’t worry, it is easy to prune. It is also slow-growing, so it will not need frequent attention. 

Always use a sharp cutting implement that has been cleaned and sterilized before pruning your houseplants. Leaves and other material that has been pruned should be removed from the container. 

Repotting and Transplanting

You might want to transplant your miracle berry plant when it has outgrown its container, or if you wish to move it to a better-looking pot. You can tell that your plant is rootbound when its roots begin to grow out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the container. Other signs you might notice are reduced water drainage and a slower growth rate. 

Make sure you use a pot that has drainage holes so that excess water does not collect around the root zone. The pot should be one or two sizes larger to help you maintain a similar watering schedule.

Water the miracle fruit plant well the day before moving it, and take care not to disturb the roots too much during the transplant.  

How to Care for A Miracle Fruit Tree

Miracle berry plants are pretty easy to care for if you get the basics right. With the right environmental conditions, this plant should provide you with years of good looks and miraculous berries. Read on for more information. 

Water

This plant prefers evenly moist conditions and should not be overwatered or kept in saturated soil. Provide water when the soil has dried out to a depth of about 2 inches (5cm) for a happy and healthy plant. 

Ideally, this plant should be watered with distilled water or rainwater as it can be sensitive to some of the chemicals found in tap water. If you do use tap water, make sure it is not too alkaline as this plant requires acidic conditions.

Sunlight

The more light you can give this plant the better. A position near a west or south-facing window (in the northern hemisphere) would be ideal. 

Temperature and Humidity

This tropical plant enjoys plenty of heat and humidity. Temperatures should not dip below 60°F(16°C), and warmer conditions will certainly be appreciated. Keep the plant away from air conditioners or cold winds. 

Certain areas of the home are naturally more humid than others. Bathrooms and kitchens, for example, tend to be relatively humid because of the plumbing. If your home is very dry, an inexpensive room humidifier may be the ideal solution. 

Fertilizer

You may wish to fertilize your miracle berry plant to help it put on maximum growth and berry production. This is only necessary during the active growing seasons in spring and summer. 

Wet the soil before applying a liquid fertilizer and avoid over-fertilizing as this can burn the plant’s roots. If you suspect your plant has been overfertilized, go ahead and water the soil through to wash out the excess salts. 

Pests and Diseases

Synsepalum dulcificum can be susceptible to spider mites and mealybugs. Keep an eye on the plant’s leaves for signs of ill health.

The foliage can burn if exposed to too much sunlight. The leaf tips may turn brown if the environment is too dry or if the plant has been overfertilized.

Chlorosis of the leaves may occur if the soil or water is too alkaline, resulting in pale, yellow foliage. The roots are very resistant to disease, but care should be taken to avoid overwatering nevertheless. 

Conclusion

Growing the miracle berry bush is a great project that you can enjoy with friends and family. If you have a bright and sunny space available in your home, there’s no reason not to give it a go! This miraculous plant is ornamental enough to earn a space in any home, and the berries are the cherry on top. 

*image by [email protected]/depositphotos

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