Miracle fruit, otherwise known as Miracle Berry, is an evergreen bush or tree.
The origins of this plant start in the hot, wet tropical lowlands of Tropical West Africa, and therefore makes it intolerant to frost and should be considered a container plant except in regions such as southern Florida and Hawaii.
Older plants can survive a light frost, but it is best to avoid this. If placed outdoors, it will do best in partial shade.
The Miracle fruit can grow to 18 ft. in its natural habitat but otherwise will reach up to 5 ft.
The plant has deep green, elongated leaves. Throughout many months of the year, small 1/4 inch white flowers will be produced, thus creating the Miracle Berry.
When ready to harvest, the fruit is a little bright red, oval berry approximately 2 to 3 cm long.
The “Miracle” of the plant comes from its fruit’s effect. Although not sweet itself, when a fruit is eaten and allowed to coat the tongue, it will enable one to eat a slice of citrus without having to endure the sourness.
The effect will only mask the sourness, but leave the other beautiful aspects of citrus, like its marvelous aroma and inherent sweetness. The result can remain for 30 minutes or more.
While a unique plant, its sour deactivation properties are still being experimented on and have yet to be commercialized.
To propagate, use either its seeds or cuttings. For seeds, plant immediately below the soil line.
Provide the plant with bright light, somewhere inside. Plant in acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.8. One can create acidic soil by planting equal parts of Canadian acid peat and pine bark.
Excellent results can also be achieved through peat and perlite mixes. If planted in basic soils, like those of California, the plant will slowly die until barely only the stems remain.
In the summer, the plant can be moved outside to a warm, lightly shaded spot. Before transplanting, make sure the roots have been allowed to permeate throughout the entire container to avoid damage.
The biggest danger to the Miracle Fruit plant would be common indoor potted plant pests, such as mealybugs and spider mites.
Due to their native tropical climate, the plants should be kept in highly humid conditions and well-drained soil.
An easy way to do this is by simply misting the leaves. However, to create a fully humid environment, cover the plant with a clear plastic bag that can be supported by wire or wood or add a tray with stones and water to the bottom of the plant container.
Humidity is especially crucial during the winter months. Water regularly, but allow the soil to dry before the next watering. Be careful not to waterlog the plant as it will succumb to root rot.
During colder seasons, use a water-soluble fertilizer, but sparingly. Fertilize more frequently in the summer. There is no need to prune.