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Care of the plant Carissa macrocarpa or Natal plum.

Care of the shrub Carissa macrocarpa or Natal plum

The genus Carissa, family Apocynaceae, includes 7 species of shrubs or trees native to tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, Australia and Asia. Some species are: Carissa macrocarpa, Carissa bispinosa, Carissa tetramera, Carissa carandas.

Common names: Natal plum, Large num-num. This species is native to South Africa.

They are compact or creeping shrubs that have numerous Y-shaped spines. Depending on their size, they can reach 5 meters (16.4 feet) in height (compact size) or 60 cm/1.96 feet (creeping size). The glossy leaves are leathery, dark green, and oval in shape. They produce attractive scented flowers, star-shaped (5 cm/1.96" in diameter) and white in color. They bloom from spring to late fall. The showy red fruits are edible and are used to make sweets and jams.

These slow-growing plants are used to form impenetrable hedges, as windbreaks (ideal for coastal gardens), to form groups or as an isolated specimen; They are also used in pots for terraces, patios and balconies. They combine very well with species such as Salvia leucantha, Agapanthus africanus, Bougainvillea and Moraea.

Carissa macrocarpa needs exposure to full sun or semi-shade; if it doesn't get enough sun it may not bloom. It tolerates high temperatures but frost is not convenient, although it can lose its leaves and sprout again.

The ideal soil should be well drained and contain organic matter although they can grow in poorer soils (always well drained).

Water regularly but with little amount of water (never puddle), considering that they tolerate drought but at the cost of producing fewer flowers and fruits.

Prune after flowering to control growth.

Fertilize in autumn with manure or compost and every 2 months with mineral fertilizer (once a month if grown in a pot) during winter and spring.

It's a plant quite resistant to pests and diseases but it can suffer chlorosis if the soil is too poor.

They propagate by cuttings or by seeds sown in late winter; they can take 2 months to germinate.

Images of the shrub Carissa macrocarpa or Natal plum

Carissa macrocarpa
Carissa macrocarpa
Carissa macrocarpa
Carissa macrocarpa
Carissa macrocarpa
Carissa macrocarpa
Carissa macrocarpa
Carissa macrocarpa
Carissa bispinosa