Jamaican lilikoi, also known as water lemons, are considered sweeter and more fragrant than regular lilikoi. Their smell is so distinct, you can almost taste the smell before you eat it. Jamaican lilikoi flowers are stunning and have an intense range of purples, blues, yellows, and whites. Their nearly oval fruit is fuzzy with deep orange skin, is flavorful, and has a white-yellow, extremely juicy pulp. The fruit resembles a lemon in shape and size and the pulp is so watery it can be sucked through a hole in the skin. Its unique flavor is commonly used to make sauces, candy, ice cream, sherbet, teas, cocktails, and much more!
Pollination: The Jamaican lilikoi flowers open in the afternoon and are only slightly self-pollinated which means cross-pollination is required for good quality crops. This means vines need to be pollinated with pollen from a different, compatible vine. You can grow two plants close to each other however it’s likely a neighbor nearby is also growing lilikoi in which the bees will cross-pollinate them for you. Carpenter bees are the most enthusiastic pollinator for most passion vines and will happily cross-pollinate passion fruit flowers for fruit to form. Flowers bloom for 12-24 hours before closing so if pollinators are not present at the right time, the pollen must be transferred by hand.
Days to maturity: 12-18 months and will live 5 to 7 years
Days to ripen: Fruits ripen from flowering in 80 days
Plant size: Depends on supporting structure. It’s a moderately vigorous woody vine, and its long tendrils need lots of support for climbing. They can grow 30 feet in length over time.
Plant spacing: 8-12 feet apart
Sun, soil, and water requirement: Choose a sunny location with dappled shade and protection from the wind and overcrowding (near a fence or trellis rather than trees or other plants). It prefers soil that is loose, deep, very fertile, and well-draining. Lilikoi will grow fast if given the proper nutrients; add organic, slow-release fertilizer, compost, and mulch. Plants need about 1 inch of water per week or as often as necessary to keep the soil from drying. A lack of water can stress the vine, causing it not to flower or the flowers to drop. Keep the soil moist, but not overly wet.
Pruning: Pruning is not necessary; however, it will help manage overgrowth. You can lightly prune off new growth to encourage branching, increase air circulation, and redirect energy into developing flowers and fruit. You can also use these cuttings to grow new plants.
Harvesting: Lilikoi is best eaten fresh when the fruit is fully ripe and slightly wrinkled. Depending on the variety, the fruits will start as bright green and change to a shade of deep purple, yellow, orange, or red as they mature. Fruits will not continue to ripen once it’s picked. You can hollow out the seeds and pulp into a strainer and use the back of a spoon to push the liquid through into a container. The vines can also be harvested, dried, and used to make baskets or fish traps.
Culinary: Many people eat the fruit by itself by simply cutting it in half and scooping the pulp out with a spoon. The seeds are crunchy and safe to eat. Some choose to squeeze out just the juice. The juice of the strained pulp is commonly used to flavor beverages, desserts, and sauces.
Nutrients: Lilikoi is loaded with health benefits. The pulp is a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin C and A, fiber, fatty acids, and many other nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and much more.
Special considerations: Only eat lilikoi once mature because the immature fruits contain toxins. Ripe fruits will have a slight give to them and will be almost golden.
Locally sourced seed
** Pots and plants may vary from the picture depending on the size and maturity ordered. All plants have been carefully hardened off and are ready to be transplanted into their permanent garden home or pot once delivered.
** Growing details provided are general. Conditions will change depending on your location, elevation, climate, rainfall, and accessible sunlight.
** Nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.