Breadfruit, A Healthy Tropical Fruit | Planting & Fertilization

jack fruit

Breadfruit is a tropical fruit that is well known for its fibre content. The fruit is from the mulberry family and has a close relation to the jackfruit family. Its name comes from the texture after the fruit is baked, it will turn to the soft texture of freshly baked bread and its taste will somewhat similar to the boiled potato. This fruit is widely used in tropical cuisines, sometimes it is baked, roasted, boiled, dried and turn into powder.

People of the South Sea prepare clothes from the inner bark, which is well known for fibre. Its wood is used for multi-purposes, especially for making furniture. The wood resists termites and shipworms, which makes the wood favourite for boat making.

Characteristics of breadfruit and tree

The breadfruit tree is an evergreen tree that has large, glossy and thick leaves. Every part of the tree has latex that is used for boat caulking.  The tree grows up to 12-18 metres if it’s not controlled by pruning. Male and female flowers are born on the different clusters of the tree. The tree cannot withstand frost and requires well-drained soil. A mature tree bears approximately 150-200 fruits.

The fruits are round which will be 10-20 centimetres in diameter. Normally, they weigh from 300 grams to 500 grams. After ripening the fruit turn from dark green to yellowish-green and has fibrous pulp. In Kerala, normally, the plant flowers in March- April months and it will take 3 months to ripen the fruits. It is said the flesh of the fruit helps in digestion because of its fibrous character.

Nutritional values

The fruit is high in carbohydrates, which has a large quantity of pectin, iodine, iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and carotin. Vitamins such as A and C is also found in the fruit. Studies point out that the use of fruit reduces blood pressure as well as cholesterol level. The fruit is also rich in antioxidants.

How to plant breadfruit?

  • Dig a hole that is 1 metre deep, wide and long.
  • Leave a gap of 15 metres if more than one sapling is planting.
  • Saplings that are emerging from the root of the trees, as well as grafted plants, can be used for planting.
  • Plants should get direct sunlight and prefers well-drained soil.
  • As the base, use compost or cow manure. Later, fill the ¾ of the hole with soil and plant the sapling when the rain starts.
  • Irrigation has to be done regularly during summer.

Premature fruit drop

Many people face premature fruit drop of the breadfruit. This is a common issue that farmers and growers face. Even though the tree flowers, and bears many fruits, only a few last till the ripening time. This is mainly because of the fungal infection they get. It is mostly happening during the rainy season. This issue can be identified by the colour change of the fruit, and one more clue is that the white substance that can be seen on the fallen fruits.

To avoid this, use Bordeaux mixture or diluted copper oxychloride (2-4 grams) in 1 litre of water. Another issue of premature fruit drop is the lack of moisture in the soil. So, water the tree adequately.