Have you ever sunk your teeth into a delectable jackfruit and wondered, ‘Do jackfruits grow in Australia?’ The answer is a resounding, ‘YES!’ But planting jackfruit in your home garden requires more than just dropping seeds into a spot in your backyard.

So, if you want to grow these massive fruit, this guide is made for you. Today, I’ll provide tips and tricks for growing and maintaining a jackfruit tree, as well as cover the various challenges you may face. And believe me when I say, there are quite a lot of them!

Why Grow Jackfruit Trees in Australia?

First things first: why would anyone grow jackfruit in their home garden? You could pose this question for any fruit tree imaginable, from apples to wampi. But when it comes to jackfruit, there are specific reasons you should make it your next gardening adventure:

1. Perfect Growing Conditions

Even though jackfruit is commonly grown in countries like Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, that doesn’t mean we can’t get in on the action! In fact, it grows incredibly well in the Northern Territory. So, what about those in Sydney and neighboring cities?

Don’t worry—jackfruit trees survive and yield fruit decently well in these areas. Jackfruit thrives in tropical climates with minimal droughts. So, if you live anywhere on the East Coast and have another source of water beyond rainwater, you’re pretty much good to go!

2. Cheaper than Store-Bought

In many cases, growing your own produce is a lot cheaper than purchasing them from the store, and jackfruit is no exception. Depending on where you live, a fresh jackfruit can cost upwards of $20 per kilogram. With an average of up to 10 kilograms, you’re looking at spending at least $200 per jackfruit!

If you think the canned version is cheaper, you’re sorely mistaken. A can contains just a handful of pods—anywhere from 8 to 10 of them. At around $4 a pop, you’d need 50 cans or about $200 as many pods as a fresh jackfruit can provide.

Plus, nobody wants to drive to the supermarket to purchase fruit, right?

3. Delicious Health Benefits

You’re probably aware that jackfruit is the most gigantic fruit on the planet, but did you know it’s also a powerhouse of nutrients? This tropical fruit is packed with vitamin C, which helps protect your body against colds and other infections. It’s also rich in dietary fibre that aids digestion and can keep your gut healthy.

Eating jackfruit can be a tasty way to look after your heart too. It’s low in calories and fat but high in potassium, helping keep blood pressure in check. Also, if you have a sweet tooth, the natural sweetness of jackfruit is unlike any other fruit.

Tips for Growing Jackfruit Trees in Your Home Garden

Top Tips for Growing Jackfruit Trees

If you’re convinced that growing a jackfruit tree is the right step for your garden, allow me to be of some assistance. The following sections will provide handy pointers to help you grow jackfruit and harvest the most delicious fruit you can imagine.

1. Planning the Right Location

Very rarely do fruit trees grow well when you drop their seeds in random locations. To get the most out of your jackfruit trees, consider the following placement considerations:

a. Sunlight

Like all fruit trees, jackfruit trees require sunlight to grow their fruit. Specifically, jackfruit trees need anywhere from 6 to 12 hours of direct sunlight daily. Look for a spot in your garden that provides that much sunlight. Pro-tip: you can use LEDs or high-intensity grow lights as a complementary source of light.

b. Space Requirements

Jackfruit trees can be massive. At maturity, don’t be surprised if they stand up to 25 meters high and a canopy of nearly 7 meters wide. Full-sized jackfruit trees should be spaced about 9 meters apart.

Don’t have enough space in your garden? Consider choosing a dwarf jackfruit tree. In general, dwarf fruit trees generally only need between 2 and 5 meters of space.

c. Soil Quality

To the uninitiated, soil is soil. However, in the agricultural world, this is rarely the case. The type of soil you have in your garden will determine what you can and cannot grow.

The most suitable soil type of jackfruit trees is well-drained, loam, and fertile. The pH value of the soil should be anywhere from 6.0 to 7.5. Depending on the state of your garden, you may need to fertilize and aerate your garden beforehand. This process should be done 2 to 3 weeks prior to planting your jackfruit tree.

2. Planting Your Jackfruit Tree

Did you find a suitable spot in your garden for your new jackfruit tree? Good! Now, let’s talk about the planting process!

a. Germinating the Seed

Germination is simply the process of sprouting a seed. This can be done indoors with the help pots or polybags.

  • Step 1 (Optional): Soak the jackfruit seed in water for 24 hours.
  • Step 2: Dig a 2- to 4-centimeter hole into the soil. You can do this directly in the ground or in a 1-gallon pot or polybag.
  • Step 3: Drop the jackfruit seed into the hole.
  • Step 4: Water daily.
  • Step 5: Wait 3 to 8 weeks for the seed to sprout.

If you don’t have the patience to wait up to 2 months for the tree to sprout, consider picking up a dwarf jackfruit seedling. These trees usually have jackfruit grafts, which are shoots from matured jackfruit trees attached to growing rootstock. There’s no waiting period or risk that your seed is a dud!

Dwarf jackfruit tree options include Sunshine Crunch and Cosmic Gold.

b. When and How Transplant the Jackfruit Seedling

For those that germinated the seed outdoors, you can skip this section. Those that used pots or polybags indoors: listen up.

Transplanting is simply moving the seedling and its root system to another location, whether it’s indoors or out. You can tell when it’s time to transplant your jackfruit seedling when it’s sprouted and has a maximum of 4 leaves.

The best time to transplant a seedling is in the early morning or late day—basically, where there’s minimal sunlight. Exposure to light can damage the roots, so the goal is to limit how much direct sunlight the roots get.

Here’s how you transplant the seedling:

  • Step 1: Water the seedling 1 to 2 hours ahead of time.
  • Step 2: Dig a hole into the soil that’s as deep as the seedling’s original container.
  • Step 3: Carefully remove the seedling and all its soil from its original container (pot or polybag). Make sure not to rip or tear any of the roots.
  • Step 4: Quickly but gently place the removed seedling into the newly dug hole.
  • Step 5: Cover the hole with fresh soil.
  • Step 6: Water the seedling immediately.

3. Caring for Your Jackfruit Tree

After your seedling is safely in the ground, we have to play a waiting game of 4 to 7 years before fruiting. And after that, there’s another waiting period of around half a year before the fruit is ready to harvest.

But while the waiting game commences, there’s still a ton to do.

a. Watering

During the early stages of your jackfruit tree’s life, it needs water daily. Only water the young plant to keep the soil moist. Overwatering can compact the soil and prevent adequate oxygen movement. Additionally, overwatering can lead to root rot, which may lead to premature plant death.

You should also make sure not to underwater the plant. Wiled or browned leaves, poor fruit growth, and dry soil surrounding the tree’s trunk may be telltale signs that your jackfruit tree is thirsty.

Pay close attention to the weather forecasts in your area, as they’ll tell you how much rainfall to expect. During rainy months, Mother Nature may handle the watering tasks for you. The dry months, however, require closer monitoring.

b. Mulching

Mulching is a simply yet necessary step to ensure your jackfruit tree’s development, especially in the dry season. Mulch is simply a layer of organic material—e.g., wood chips, grass clippings—that are placed around the base of the tree.

This layer is like a ‘blanket’ that shades the soil and prevents it from drying too much. In addition, mulching suppresses the growth of weeds, which attempt to steal the nutrients of the plants you want to grow—in this case, your jackfruit tree.

You only need a 5-centimter-thick layer of mulch around your tree. Keep the mulch around 10 centimeters away from the tree’s trunk. As the mulch decomposes, it breaks down into nutrients that feed your jackfruit tree.

c. Fertilizing

While decomposed mulch feeds your tree, it shouldn’t be your tree’s main source of nourishment. You will need to provide proper nutrition via fertilizers.

The type and amount of fertilizer you give your jackfruit trees depend on its age, as well as soil conditions. You’ll know when to ramp up the fertilizer amount when the tree begins bearing fruit. Jackfruit trees need 6-6-6 fertilizer throughout its lifespan.

The following table from Crane et. al. is a guideline for fertilizing jackfruit trees:

Age of Jackfruit Tree Amount of Fertilizer Times per Year
0-1 year 113 to 226 g 6
1-2 years 226 to 453 g 6
2-3 years 453 to 680 g 6
3-4 years 680 to 1,133 g 2-3
4-5 years 1,133 to 1,587 g 2-3
5-6 years 1,587 to 1,814 g 2-3
6-7 years 1,814 to 2,041 g 2-3
7+ years 2,041 to 2,267 g 2-3

d. Pruning

As your jackfruit tree grows older, you may notice some of its branches not developing as quickly or as well as other. Conversely, you may even notice too many branches growing simultaneously. These are fruit tree problems that can be solved via pruning.

Pruning simply ‘reshapes’ the tree to make it grow fruit more effectively. It involves cutting off dead, dying, or diseased branches to help the tree focus on growing plants on livelier limbs. When done properly, your jackfruit tree may bear larger, sweeter fruit.

In addition, there may be also be healthy branches growing downward. The angle of the branch increases the risk of snapping as the jackfruit grows larger. So, in such a case, it’s best to cut those limbs and keep branches angled outward or upward intact.

e. Support Structures

We’ve already established that jackfruits are the largest fruit in the fruit world. So, how do you keep them from snapping the branches as they grow? With the help of support structures.

Support structures distribute the weight of the growing jackfruit evenly across the tree. This prevents the limbs from breaking and promotes healthier growth. In addition, it can also make harvesting the fruit safer by keeping the branches in place.

Here’s how you can use support structures to keep your jackfruit tree’s limbs from snapping under the weight of the fruit:

  1. Identify which fruit-bearing branches are under strain.
  2. Choose a support structure to use. The most common are wooden stakes, metal poles, and weather-resistant ropes.
  3. Drive the stake or pole into the soil near the tree and away from the roots. The stake or pole should be sturdy should be tall enough to reach the underside of the branch.
  4. Use the rope to tie the branch to the support structure. It’s fine if the ropes aren’t completely taut against the branch.
  5. Post-harvest, remove the support structures and check the branches for damage.

Potential Challenges of Growing Jackfruit

Top Tips for Growing Jackfruit Trees

Even with everything checked and analyzed, there’s always room for error when growing jackfruit trees. You need to address any problems as soon as they arise if you want the juiciest fruits come harvest.

1. Pests and Diseases

Jackfruit trees in Australia are susceptible to pests like shoot borers, bark borers, mealy bugs, and brown weevils. You can prevent some damage caused by pests by draping your tree with fine-mesh insect nets. The downside is these nets may limit the amount of sunlight your jackfruit tree receives.

There are chemical pesticides to help deal with all sorts of fruit tree pests. Identify which ones are most common in your area and monitor your jackfruit tree regularly. If any signs of pest invasion appear—e.g., silk webbing on the trunk or branches, yellowed leaves, premature drop—use the appropriate pesticide.

2. Pollination Problems

Pollinating jackfruit trees in Australia isn’t a huge problem, but it can be if you smother the tree. Jackfruit trees pollinate with the help of wind and insects (not all creepy crawlies are bad, you know).

You can also try growing bee-attracting plants around your jackfruit tree, such as Ivory Curl Flower Trees or Sweet Osmanthus.

3. Water Management

In drought-prone areas, you need to ensure that you have a complementary source of water available at all times. To keep jackfruit trees productive year long, the soil around the base of the trunk needs to be consistently moist. Consider harvesting rainwater to maintain irrigation throughout the year.