Planting a snake fruit tree will only take a few minutes if what you mean is planting a bare-root seedling. But how long do you have to wait before your newly planted tree bears fruit? Well, I’m afraid you will have to wait in a couple of years or more.
First thing first, how long it takes for a newly planted snake fruit tree to produce fruit will depend on the cultivar. Some may produce fruit faster while others are not. If you’re using a generative method of propagation (seeding), Salak Pondoh tree (Salacca zalacca Gaertner Voss) will need at least 8-10 years before it bear its first fruit. Meanwhile, if you’re using a vegetative method (grafting) it will shorten its time, which is 3-4 years.
“Having said that, do you still want to grow snake fruit trees?”
Yes, you can’t expect to get the fruit in 1 or 2 years or less, unless you graft a vigorous snake fruit tree of up to 10 years old. So, if you want to invest your time on this tropical fruit trees, you’ll need to pick the best cultivar and propagation method that best suit your location.
Snake fruit tree growing conditions for an optimum result:
- Optimally grow in tropical weather.
- Best grown in an altitude of around 400-700 masl (meter above sea level).
- The soil structure for optimum growth needs to be sandy, argillaceous, and rich in organic materials.
- 100-200 mm/month annual rainfall.
- 50-70% sunlight exposure.
- Best temperature is around 20-30° Celcius.
- Soil pH level of about 5,5-6,5.
What are the best snake fruit cultivar to grow?
You surely don’t want to plant the tree then waiting a decade only to find the fruit is not tasty. Or even worse, you plant a cultivar that will never bear fruits. That would be disaster, don’t you think?
So, according to the ministry agriculture of Indonesia, there are 3 best snake fruit cultivars to grow, they are:
1. Salak Pondoh (Salacca zalacca Gaertner Voss)
Salak Pondoh cultivar is one of the best snake fruit in Indonesia. The quality, not only in terms of the fruit but also its producing capability is unquestionable. This cultivar has been cultivated since 1980 in Java, Indonesia. There are 3 varieties of Salak Pondoh that are of a great quality; Salak Pondoh Hitam, Kuning and Super.
2. Salak Bali (Salacca zalacca var. amboinensis)
Coming up next is a snake fruit cultivar that’s originating from Bali, Indonesia. This is a monoecious snake fruit tree, meaning you don’t need to hand pollinate it for fruit production. The recommended snake fruit variety from this cultivar is Salak Gula Pasir. The fruit tastes very sweet even when it still relatively young.
3. Salak Padang Sidempuan (Salacca sumatrana)
The last cultivar is Salak Padang Sidempuan. It has been cultivated since 1930 in the village of Sibakua and Hutalambung, South Tapanuli, Sumatra, Indonesia. Local people believe that the fruit can actually increase their appetite. The fruit tastes sweet with a combination of sour, acid and tart. This is a unique snake fruit cultivar, just like Salak Getih the pulp color is red.
Of about 30 different cultivars, those are the best selection of snake fruit trees from Indonesia. So, if you want to cultivate it, I personally recommend you to grow one of those.
What is the best method for planting snake fruit tree
I personally believe that the best way to grow a snake fruit tree is by using a vegetative method (grafting) or air layering (marcotting). Not only the tree will mature and bear fruits much faster but also it will have the same characteristics as its parent tree.
Although, if you’re not from Indonesia however, it will cost much more expensive when you import and ship the tree. Not to mention probably it will most likely complicated process in doing so. But for an exotic tropical fruit that is very rare in your neighborhood, you’ll want to get the snake fruit grower instead of waiting 10 years for it to bear fruits.
If you have any question, feel free to ask me anything. Just drop your comment below or e-mail me.