Monday, July 6, 2009

Can you identify this flower?

Starfruit Flower 2

Give up? This purplish-pink beauty is a flower of the starfruit (or carambola) tree. It measures a quarter of an inch in diameter and is in full bloom for only about a day. It grows in pretty little clusters along the branches and main trunk of the tree and is very delicate to the touch.

I purchased my newly grafted starfruit tree last January during an excursion to Logee's Greenhouses in Danielson, Connecticut (I couldn't resist the novelty of growing something tropical in the midst of a New England winter). It came in a 5 inch pot, measured about a foot tall, and had 4 leaves on it (each leaf comprised of 5 to 11 leaflets). I have to admit, however, that by the time we arrived home, most of the excitement of this purchase had faded away. My exotic novelty had turned into my Charlie Brown Christmas tree. You see, starfruit trees are very prone to shock, evidenced by the leaves folding in onto themselves. I didn't have much confidence in its life expectency. Indeed the first couple of months were very much touch and go. (Note to self: just because your lemon tree loves its special food doesn't mean your other houseplants will.)

Fast foreward 5 months later, my starfruit tree has grown to almost 4 feet tall! It has developed these striking little flowers, beautiful foliage, and has become quite an attractive addition to the household greenery. Who would have guessed? Certainly not me. I suspect it will be at least a couple of more years before "Charlie" will fruit. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Anyone else growing starfruit as a houseplant? I'd love to hear your experiences!

Starfruit Flower 1 Starfruit Plant

P.S. Anyone interested in visiting Logee's will be in for a special treat. Their selection of rare tropical plants is amazing. Be advised, however, that you will find yourself contorting your body into extreme yoga positions trying delicately to maneuver your way through the labyrith of flora that is their greenhouses.

Starfruit Leaves


  1. Have you tried growing dragonfruit? They are super easy to grow (just buy a fruit and plant the seeds) and they are a pretty cool-looking plant (catus-like) and produce a very yummy fruit. I have a few plants growing now.

  2. Really? Julie, send me some pics! I wanna see!

  3. I really, really want to try this, but my house is SO cold in the wintertime and I don't have great light from the south. It looks like the view from your house is gorgeous! I might have to try this anyway. I love growing exotic things. I'll be planting a hardy kiwi in Zone 5 this fall!