Indoor Breadfruit Trees: Can You Keep A Breadfruit As A Houseplant

Indoor Breadfruit Trees: Can You Keep A Breadfruit As A Houseplant

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Image by Tanantornanutra

Breadfruit is a unique tropical fruit primarily grown in the Pacific Islands. While it is suitable only for warmer climes, can you grow breadfruit indoors in cooler regions? Breadfruit trees can thrive in containers for many years. Provided you can give it plenty of sunshine and the heat it craves, you can grow the plant but fruiting may be compromised. It is an attractive specimen and one which would add sultry ambiance to your home interior.

Can You Grow Breadfruit Indoors?

The answer is a resounding yes. However, indoor breadfruit trees should be moved outside in summer so they can get maximum sunlight and pollinate through wind and insects. Additionally, breadfruit needs quite a bit of humidity which you can provide by misting and setting the container on a bed of rocks with water surrounding them.

Once the plant is in a large enough container with good, rich but well-draining soil, there are just a few tricks to keep it happy and healthy. Breadfruit as a houseplant shares many of the same cultural requirements that many indoor plants need and make interesting specimens with their large palmate leaves.

Breadfruit trees need temperatures of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 C.) and can become damaged if they experience temps of 40 F. (4 C.) or below. Best growth and fruiting occur during warm periods of 70 to 90 Fahrenheit (21 to 32 C.). This can be hard to achieve inside the home comfortably but a heated greenhouse or sunroom can often provide such steamy conditions. If you have such a situation, read on for tips on growing breadfruit inside.

Use a container that is at least twice as wide as the root ball of the new plant. Install the breadfruit in organic rich soil with some horticultural sand added to enhance drainage. While these plants enjoy humidity and like plenty of water, the roots will rot if drainage isn’t optimal.

Keep the container in a sunny room of the home but, if near a southern facing window, pull it back a bit to avoid sunburn.

Plants in containers will require some pruning to keep indoor breadfruit trees from getting too large. Start pruning when the plant is 4 years old to train a strong central leader, allow plenty of circulation and create a sturdy scaffold of branches.

You won’t have many pest issues unless you have the plant outdoors and something nasty makes its home in the container. Use insecticidal soap sprays to treat any small invaders. The primary diseases are fungal and can be combated with a fungicide.

When watering a breadfruit tree, soak it deeply and allow excess water to drain through the drainage holes. Water deeply at least once per week or when the soil is dry to the touch as you insert a finger to the second knuckle.

Feed container plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer once per month during spring and summer. Suspend feeding and reduce watering slightly in fall and winter.

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