Strawberry Tree

Growing Zones in Ground: 8 - 11 / in Pots: 4 - 11

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The Strawberry Tree, also known as the Jamaican Cherry, is a drought-tolerant, ornamental fruit tree that grows small, tart berries that taste like a blend of strawberry and mulberry. When growing in the ground a Strawberry Tree will grow up to thirty feet tall and eighteen feet wide. The trees bloom once a year in spring and their tiny white flowers look like strawberry blossoms. The half-inch red berries ripen in about a year, and are usually harvested when when the next round of flowers start to arrive.

Strawberry Trees do best in the ground within USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7 to 10, or in pots in Zones 4 to 10. Young trees have infrequent thorns, but mature trees lose their thorns and have smooth grey bark. Some small thorns may remain on higher branches, where they offer protection for nesting birds. Strawberry Trees have deep green leaves that produce dappled shade, and their delicious berries make these trees a welcomed member to the edible landscape.

Strawberry Tree Care

Strawberry Trees and their juicy fruits are unusually resistant to pests, bugs, and many diseases. Some foraging birds may take a liking to the Strawberry Tree fruit, but the trees grow such large crops that there is always enough for birds and growers alike. Strawberry Trees do not need to be pruned to bloom or make fruit, but they can be trimmed to keep them at certain heights.

Choose a loctaion that gets full sun or mostly sun and some shade. Water new trees once per week for the first year, then water when the soil under the tree is dry to two inches deep. Strawberry Trees are resistant to drought, so slow, deep watering from a soaker hose is better than quick sprinkling. Slow deep watering helps the trees to grow deep roots which support their natural ability to take dry spells.

Fruit & Harvesting

Strawberry Trees bloom in spring and while the berries are small, they take a long time (a year) to ripen. Once the blooms mature they transform into clusters of round, green, bumpy fruit about one-half to one-inch wide or more. The berries slowly change from green, to yellow, then to red or red-orange. Strawberry Tree fruits are most often eaten fresh. They are slightly sour, but many people love their tart, strawberry-mulberry taste.

Strawberry Tree fruit can also be used to make jelly, muffins, cakes, and other baked goods like tarts or cobblers. Strawberry Tree Berries are also the main ingredient in a traditional Portuguese fruit brandy called medronho. The fruit can also be used to flavor ice cream and smoothies.

Growing Zones


Strawberry Trees can grow in rocky or poor soil as long as the ground dains well. They do best in acidic to neutral soil, and benefit from pine mulch or a mulch of oak leaves which can help retain moisture and prevent weeds. Plant new Strawberry Trees by digging a hole with at least six inches of growing room on all sides of the potted tree’s rootball. Plant at a depth that puts the tree’s rootball surfce level with the soil surface. Backfill with soil and compost, then water in well.

Strawberry Trees can also be grown in pots. Choose containers with at least four inches of growing room on all sides. Pots must have drainage holes so the soil does not remain soggy. Strawberry Trees can take cold temperatures, but freezing will cause leaves to drop. Bring potted Strawberry Trees indoors for the coldest months, and return pots to the outdoors in spring.


How big are Strawberry Tree Fruits?

Strawberry Tree fruits are from one-half to two inches in diameter, depending on tree age and size.

Do Strawberry Trees really grow Strawberries?

No, but Strawberry Trees grow a fruit that tastes like a mix of strawberry and mulberry. The blooms also resemble strawberry flowers.

Can a Strawberry Tree survive a freeze?

Yes. Strawberry Trees can take temperatures as low as 5ºF. In cold winters the leaves may turn yellow and drop, but new leaves will return in spring.

Should I prune my Strawberry Tree?

Strawberry Trees do not need pruning to grow fruit. You can prune them in winter when the tree is dormant.