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Carissa macrocarpa

Pronunciation: kuh-RISS-uh mack-roe-KAR-puh
Family: Apocynaceae
Synonym: Carissa grandiflora
Common Name: Natal Plum
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
  • fruits, vegetables
Height to: 10ft (3m)+
Width to: 10ft (3m)+
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • repeat bloomer
Bloom Description: Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa) produces an abundance of white starlike flowers with five thick and waxy petals. The flowers are about 2 in (5. 1 cm) across and sweetly fragrant, like orange blossoms, especially at night. The edible fruit is a pretty plum shaped red berry abut 2 in (5. 1 cm) long which tastes like sweet cranberries. Natal plum blooms almost all year long and most of the time both flowers and fruit are present.
Soil Type: Under glass, grow in soil based potting mix. Outdoors, grow in moderately fertile, well drained soil.
Plant Perks:
  • Fragrant
  • Container Gardening
  • Drought Tolerant
Pests and Diseases: Anthracnose, stem galls, and dieback
Propagation: Sow Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa) seed at 59-64ºF/15-18ºC as soon as ripe or in spring. Root semi-ripe cuttings in summer.
Native to: Northern South African province of KwaZulu/Natal. It is a popular hedge plant, widely cultivated in the New and Old World tropics.
Winter Sowing Zones: None
Notes for Identification:

Source: Floridata - Natal plum is the perfect hedge plant. Its dense foliage makes it a good screen, and its thorns make it an effective barrier as well. Add on the deliciously fragrant blossoms and edible fruits, and it's hard to think of a better shrub for the tropical garden. Plant the larger cultivars on 5 ft (1.5 m) centers for hedges and the smaller cultivars on 4 ft (1.2 m) centers for foundation plantings. Natal plum is tolerant of salty soil as well as salt spray and is therefore an excellent plant for the seaside garden, even in exposed conditions. The dwarf cultivars can be grown as container plants. Keep them outside in summer, and in a well-lit, cool and dry position in winter. Sprawling cultivars can be used as ground covers, planted on 2 ft (0.6 m) centers. The fruits are made into jellies and preserves.


Care: Natal plum prefers a sandy, well-drained soil. It responds well to close pruning and is easily kept at any size. Many of the cultivars have a tendency to produce branches that revert to the species characteristics, so it may be necessary to prune frequently to prevent the cultivar from reverting completely. Natal plum does best and produces the most flowers when positioned in full sun, but it tolerates partial shade. Natal palm is drought tolerant.


USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 0
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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