How to Grow Jackfruit Trees

jackfruit tree

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

In This Article

The tropical jackfruit tree (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a large evergreen tree that bears edible fruit. It has a relatively fast growth rate, and new trees can start producing fruit within a few years. It’s best planted in the spring. The tree trunk grows fairly straight and has reddish-brown bark. From it extend large branches with glossy green leaves that are around 8 inches long. The tree produces showy green flowers mostly in the fall, though it can bloom sporadically at other points in the year. Its yellow-green, kidney bean-shaped fruits are notoriously huge, maturing on the tree in the midsummer. They average between 10 and 40 pounds, though some fruits have been known to weigh 80 pounds or more. The inner yellow flesh is mildly sweet and has been compared to bananas and pineapples.

Botanical Name Artocarpus heterophyllus
Common Names Jackfruit, jack tree
Plant Type Tree
Mature Size 30-70 ft. tall, 20-50 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full
Soil Type Loamy, moist, well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time Seasonal
Flower Color Green
Hardiness Zones 10-12 (USDA)
Native Area Asia
Toxicity Nontoxic
closeup of jackfruit

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

jackfruit tree foliage

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

jackfruit tree

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jackfruit tree

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Jackfruit Tree Care

Jackfruit trees are fairly easy to care for if you have the appropriate climate for them. They require ample light and warmth. When initially planting a tree, choose a young nursery tree with any signs of disease or distress. Aim to find a nursery tree whose roots haven't yet outgrown its container. If a young tree's roots have been cramped, they might not ever grow normally even when planted in the ground, and this can impede the tree's overall growth throughout the course of its life. Select a planting site with some space from other trees and structures, as the jackfruit tree will ultimately grow quite large and generally doesn't take well to being transplanted if you ever needed to move it to a more suitable planting site. 

It’s key to keep the soil evenly moist, especially for young trees as they establish their roots. Also, regularly weed around your jackfruit tree to prevent other plants from competing for nutrients and moisture in the soil. Mulch around the tree both can help to suppress weeds and to retain soil moisture. Plus, it can keep the roots warm if the temperatures happen to dip.

The jackfruit tree doesn’t have many serious problems with pests or diseases, though wildlife might be attracted to its fruit. The fruit turns from a green color to a yellowish-green when it is ready for harvesting. Simply cut it off by its stem with loppers. 

Light

This tree needs full sunlight to grow well and produce fruit. That means it should get at least six hours of direct sun on most days. A tree grown in conditions that are too shady might never bear fruit.

Soil

Jackfruit trees prefer a nutrient-rich soil with excellent drainage. They are not overly picky about soil pH, though they seem to grow best in slightly acidic soil.

Water

As tropical plants, jackfruit trees like consistently moist soil year-round. Water them whenever your soil begins to dry out due to a lack of rainfall or extreme heat. However, be sure the tree roots aren't sitting in pooling water. This can inhibit fruit production and ultimately kill the tree.

Temperature and Humidity

These trees like warm temperatures and are very heat tolerant. However, they are quite sensitive to frost (especially young trees), and temperatures below about 35 degrees Fahrenheit can easily weaken or kill them. Moreover, jackfruit trees prefer humid conditions and don’t tend to thrive in dry climates unless you can keep their soil very well watered.

Fertilizer

Fertilize jackfruit trees twice a year in the spring and fall with a slow-release granular fertilizer. It also can be beneficial to mix compost into the soil around the tree annually.

Pruning

Young jackfruit trees don’t need much in the way of pruning except for removing any diseased, damaged, or dead portions. For mature trees, you can keep them at a manageable height for harvesting fruit by annually pruning off select upright branches. This will encourage more lateral growth, rather than vertical growth. Also, remove some old branches throughout the tree to improve air flow and ensure that sunlight can hit all parts of the tree. But don't remove more than a third of the overall branches. Wait until after your fruit harvest to prune the tree. 

Jackfruit Tree Varieties

There are several varieties of jackfruit available, including: 

  • ‘Black Gold’: This variety produces a high yield of medium-size fruits.
  • ‘Gold Nugget’: This tree bears a high yield of relatively small fruits.
  • ‘Dang Rasimi’: This tree produces a very high yield of medium to large fruits.
  • ‘Kun Wi Chan’: This variety is very vigorous and bears a high yield of large fruits.
  • ‘Lemon Gold’: This variety produces an average yield of small to medium fruits.