It only took a few minutes to plant a snake fruit tree, if what you mean is planting a bare-root seedling. But how long do you have to wait before your newly planted salak tree to bear fruits? Well, I’m afraid you will have to wait for a couple of years or more.
Depending on the cultivar, some may produce fruits much faster than others. If you’re using a generative method of propagation (growing from seeds), the Salak tree needs at least 5-7 years to bear fruits. Meanwhile, if you’re using a vegetative method (grafting) it takes 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 in growing salak trees, you’ll need to pick the best cultivar and propagation method that best suits 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 out that the fruit is not tasty. Or even worse, you plant a cultivar that will never bear fruits. That would be a disaster, don’t you think?
According to the ministry of 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 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 you more when you import it and ship the tree. Not to mention the process in doing so will be complicated. But for an exotic tropical fruit that is hard to find 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.