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Art of Cultivating Fragrant Rose Apple Trees

Discover the secrets of harvesting rose apple trees that can enrich nature's bounty.

Shreetu Singh
Rose Apple Cultivation Guide, Image source: Canva
Rose Apple Cultivation Guide, Image source: Canva

Rose Apple (Syzygium jambos), native to the East Indies and Malaya, is a tree reaching 25 to 40 feet with glossy leaves and creamy-white flowers. It has nearly round or oval fruit having pale-yellow skin and sweet, fragrant flesh. It is widely known as jambosier, plum rose, or malabar plum. It provides various health benefits, including controlling diabetes, improving heart health, boosting immunity, aiding digestion, managing weight, and supporting bone health. It also cleanses the liver and kidneys, may prevent cancer, and hydrate the body, making it great for skin health. 

Rose Apple is grown in several parts of India, especially in the South, coastal West, and North-East, and on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and consumed fresh or as jelly and jam.

Climate and Soil

  • Rose apple thrives in tropical and semi-tropical climates, growing in India up to 4,400 ft (1,350 m). It prefers the banks of canals and streams but can tolerate semi-arid conditions, though prolonged dry spells are harmful. 

  • The ideal soil for rose apples is deep, red loamy soil.


  • Rose apple trees are mostly grown from polyembryonic seeds, producing 1 to 3 sprouts, but seedlings vary. In India, vegetative propagation aims to standardize crops and develop dwarf varieties.

  • Hardwood cuttings fail to root, but treated semi-hard wood has a 20% success rate.

  • Air-layering in spring with 1,000 ppm NAA achieves 60% success.

  • Veneer grafting in July on 1-year-old rootstocks has a 31% success rate, with fruiting typically beginning within 4 years.

Sowing Time

Planting seeds is ideally done from spring to autumn, with the best success observed from spring to early summer, ensuring sowing occurs after the final frost. In tropical regions, sowing can also be carried out during the winter months.

Plantation Method

  • Before planting rose apples, clear and plough the field, then dig 1 x 1 x 1 m pits spaced 5 to 6 m apart.

  • Fill pits with 75% topsoil and 25% compost. Rose apple trees need minimal fertilization: apply 20 kg FYM annually before fruiting and 50 kg per mature tree.

  • Adjust fertilizer doses based on growth; seedling trees bear fruit in 5-6 years, and grafted ones in 4-5 years.

  • For 4-5 year old trees, use 50 kg FYM, 500 g nitrogen, 200 g phosphorus, and 200 g potash per plant annually.


The high-yielding rose apple variety, Arka Neelachal Akshay, was developed via seedling selection at the Central Horticultural Experiment Station (ICAR-IIHR) in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Recognizing its quality, drought tolerance, and market potential, the variety was officially released by the ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Water Management

In the early stages, rose apple trees need frequent watering, with young trees requiring 8 to 10 irrigations annually. Once established, mature trees need about half that amount, mainly during May and June when the fruit ripens. Occasional irrigation in autumn and winter helps prevent frost damage.

Plant Protection

  • To ensure optimal growth and fruit production of rose apple trees, it's important to maintain consistent soil moisture levels without causing waterlogging.

  • Annual pruning should be conducted to eliminate dead or diseased branches and to shape the tree.

  • Additionally, organic fertilizer application during the growing season promotes healthy growth.

  • Young trees should be safeguarded from frost by utilizing blankets or other frost protection methods. 

Training and Pruning

  • Rose apple trees do not require regular pruning, but removing dry twigs and crossed branches in later years is recommended. When training the plants, the branch framework should develop 60 to 100 cm above the ground.

  • Mature seedling trees typically yield 3-5 kg of fruit annually, while grafted trees produce 6-8 kg per year.


  • Culinary Delight: Rose Apples are enjoyed fresh or used in jams, jellies, and desserts due to their sweet, rose-scented flavor.

  • Traditional Medicine: The fruit, leaves, and bark are used in remedies for fever, liver health, diarrhea, and sore eyes.

  • Non-Food Applications: Rose Apples offer versatile uses, such as making rose water, weaving baskets, and producing essential oils.

  • Cultural Significance: Revered in Buddhism, the Rose Apple tree is associated with enlightenment and holds sacred value in various traditions.

  • Agricultural Versatility: Thriving in warm climates, Rose Apples are easy to cultivate and adaptable to a range of soil types, making them a valuable crop in tropical regions.

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