Surinam Cherry Bonsai Tree Eugenia niflora

Because cherries are sweet and juicy, they make a fantastic accompaniment to desserts. They’re also great in jams, juices, tarts, and other baked goods. Surinam cherries are one of several cherry kinds cultivated worldwide. 

Plant Profile

When choosing an outdoor tropical bonsai, the Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uniflora) is definitely a great pick. It has a long life expectancy and is relatively simple to cultivate.

The Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uniflora) is a tropical South American tree native to the east coast of the continent, from Suriname to southern Brazil. It is a little tree with a conical structure that grows slowly and is known as Pitanga across Brazil or angapir in neighboring nations.

The leaves are lustrous green and develop in pairs, with new copper-colored leaves. The exfoliating bark is a bright red color (flaking). Reddish fruits develop from fragrant white blooms.

Surinam Cherries are resistant to pests, easy to grow, and high in antioxidants. The fruit is high in vitamin C and is commonly used in jams and jellies as a flavoring and foundation. This Surinam Cherry is broom-trained and grows well indoors.

If you believe you have seen a familiar type of tree before, it’s because Australian Brush cherry and Jaboticaba, also known as Brazilian Grape, are botanically related with each other. These two more Eugenias are also suitable for tropical cultivation. Flowers and fruit add to the charm of all three.

Origin and History

The plant is widespread in Surinam, Guyana, and French Guiana, as well as northern, eastern, and central Uruguay and southern Brazil. In Paraguay, it grows naturally in thickets along the borders of the Pilcomayo River. It was named after a shrub that grew in a garden in Pisa, Italy, and was thought to have been transported from Goa, India.

The seed, like the cashew, is believed to have been brought from Brazil to India by Portuguese explorers. It is grown and naturalized in Venezuela, Argentina, and Colombia, as well as along Central America’s Atlantic coast and on a few West Indian islands

It is commonly planted as a decorative plant in Hawaii, Samoa, India, and Ceylon, as well as in tropical Africa, southern China, and the Philippines, where it was first recognized in 1911.

The first Surinam Cherry was brought into coastal Israel in 1922, and it sparked widespread interest due to its ability to yield fruit in May when other fruits are limited and its low maintenance requirements. However, the yields obtained over the course of ten years were disappointingly low.

Throughout Florida, the Surinam cherry is a popular hedge plant in the state’s central and southern regions, as well as the Florida Keys. Children now consume the majority of the fruits. Many people used to let the tree grow organically and gather the fruits for culinary purposes. Smaller amounts were supplied in Miami marketplaces for a while.

The plant is planted in pots in temperate zones for its lovely foliage and brilliant fruits.

Growth Requirements

The Surinam Cherry is a huge shrub that can grow to be over 25 feet tall.  The fruit bears one to three seeds and is thin-skinned with seven or eight ribs, about 112 inches in diameter. When the fruit is young, it is green, then turns orange, then vivid red or dark purple-black. Because of its resinous flavor, some people find the sweet, juicy meat refreshing, while others find it an acquired taste.

Generally, this plant prefers full sunlight and is drought resistant, requiring only moderate moisture. In about 3-4 weeks after blossoming, the fruits mature and ripen.

Easy to say, the tree requires little care in subtropical and tropical settings and appears to grow in a variety of soil types. In locations where rainfall is scarce or seasonal, irrigation is required.


Surinam Cherries can also be grown effectively indoors.

Eugenia likes the heat in the summer and prefers temperatures between 46- and 68-degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. It must be brought indoors when the temperature drops below 30 degrees in the winter. This must be done because Eugenia dislikes draughts and extreme temperature changes and will shed its leaves if these circumstances arise.

Light and Exposure

Put your Surinam Cherry anywhere from direct sunlight to partial shade. This bonsai prefers bright light but can adapt to lower light levels if necessary.

In the summertime, it can usually withstand full sun, though in the warmest locations, moderate shade is preferable. 


Surinam Cherries can grow in practically any type of soil, including sand, sandy loam, stiff clay, and soft limestone, and can even withstand water logging for a short period of time; however, they are salt intolerant.


In the summer, give your Surinam Cherry a lot of water, and in the winter, give it a little less. This bonsai prefers regular light moisture over being drenched and let to dry out, as it will drop leaves if the soil becomes too dry.

Misting and maintaining your bonsai on a humidity tray can help. Keep your bonsai pots high on pebbles to avoid root rot and enhance humidity. If your water is salty, use distilled or rainfall because Eugenia can’t stand salt. 

Growing Conditions

Surinam Cherry seedlings grow slowly; some fruit at two years old, while others may not fruit for another five or six years, or even ten years if grown in adverse conditions.

They are most productive when left unpruned, although even when close-clipped in hedges, they produce a large number of fruits.

Fruiting is aided by a quarterly application of a complete fertilizer formula. After a proper soaking, the plant responds quickly to irrigation, and the fruit gets bigger and sweeter in flavor.


The Surinam Cherry is a robust grower that can reach a height of 8 meters in the wild. As a result, it may be cut back hard, providing an opportunity for new bonsai growers to develop their trade.

New shoots with 6-8 pairs of leaves should be reduced to 1-2 pairs. During the growing season, the lignified branches of this bonsai can be meticulously wired, although basic trimming will yield better shaping results.

If you go with wiring, take measures to protect the branches, because they are easily scarred. It is ideal for all styles, allowing for personality and creativity to shine through.


The most common method of dissemination is through seeds. They only last a month before germination and develop in 3 to 4 weeks.

Volunteer seedlings can be taken up and replanted successfully. In India, layering has proven to be effective. Seedlings can be side- or cleft-grafted to superior selections, although they will sucker below the graft.


Every two years, in early to mid-spring, is the best time to repot your Surinam Cherry. Heat from the bottom encourages root growth.

The use of azalea soil or basic bonsai soil is important. Surinam Cherry roots can resist heavy pruning.


Fertilize your Surinam Cherry every two weeks during periods of rapid development and every 4-5 weeks throughout the winter. Because this bonsai prefers somewhat acidic soil, using Mir-acid on occasion is recommended. 

Pest Control

Scale, mealy bugs, Caribbean fruit flies, aphids, and red spiders are all pests that attack the Surinam Cherry.

Making a concentrated soap and water solution is an efficient way to control numerous insect pests.

Spray the leaves with the solution until it runs off, then gently wash them with a soft sponge, rinsing after each pass to guarantee aphid elimination. Take a last rinse with clean water and keep a watch out for more attacks in the days ahead!

Mealy Bugs are white and can be found in large numbers along the leaves, hiding in protective parts of the plant. Wipe mealy bugs off by hand and sprinkle your bonsai with Neem Oil as a home treatment for mealy bugs.

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Bonsai is said to be more than just a plant; it’s a way of life. Regular care and upkeep are required for bonsai trees just like the Surinam Cherry Bonsai. Simply follow our instructions when caring for a bonsai tree, and you’ll be well on your way to being a bonsai expert. Visit our blog section to learn more!