Sherbet Berry

S & J Nursery’s guide to Growing Sherbet Berry

in the Northeast Florida Garden

(Grewia Asiatica)

Sherbet berry / Grewia asiatica is another one of my new favorite edible garden plants, these big leaf beauties are pretty enough to grow for their ornamental value alone but they have the added bonus of their unique edible fruits!

Foliage, Origins, and Use of Sherbet Berry / Grewia asiatica:

Native to India, called Phalsa there and sold in local markets when fully ripe.

The foliage will be dormant for a month or so in the in the winter time. Large rounded leaves emerge a rosy pink color on the plant and age to a bright green that has just a hint of shine to it on the upper portion of the leaf and a more matt greyish green on theunder side of the leaf. Very pretty foliage.

Grewia asiatica Sherbet Berry St Augustine Florida S & J NurseryThe self fertile plants require no pollinator and will set clusters of beautiful yellow to peachy orange blooms during spring that are followed in summer by the edible drupe or fruits.   

Fruits start off green and change to red then finally to a dark purple when they are fully ripe. Gather fully ripened fruits daily like you would a blueberry at harvest time that lasts just a few weeks.

Fruits can be eaten out of hand for a fresh sweet and sour treat, or preseved in jams, jellies, and syrups. In their native India, the fruits are used to make a refreshing drink during the hot summer months that is thought to be cooling and consumed to treat dehydration. It is used much like we use gatorade!

There are many medicinal claims for parts of the Grewia asiatica plant as well. The root bark is siad to be used to treat rheumatism and the leaves are used for their antimicrobial and antifungal properties to treat skin infections. 

Planting Season for Sherbet Berry / Grewia asiatica in Grewia asiatica Sherber Bery / Phalsa unripe drupe/ fruit Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and surrounding Norhteast Florida areas:

Plant Sherbet berry year round from your S & J Nursery plant container here in our Northeast Florida subtropical climate. 

Sun Exposure for growing Sherbet Berry / Grewia asiatica:

Plant in full fun, morning sun with afternoon shade or afternoon sun with morning shade. 

Soil Preferences for Sherbet Berry / Grewia asiatica:

Tolerant of a wide range of soil components and conditions from sand to clay. I have an extremely sandy garden and the plants grow beautifully when generously amended at planting time with compost.

Care of Sherbet Berry  / Grewia asiatica in Northeast Florida area:

Watering Your Sherbet Berry / Phalsa plants: 

Newly planted Sherbet berry plants will require watering daily for the first few days to a week after being transplanted from an S & J Nursery container. 

Once the Grewia asiatica plants are established and growing they will require very little in the way of care from you to have a beautiful garden plant.

Blooms on new shoots Sherbet Berry / Phalsa S & J Tree Farm and Nursery1 – Prune back your plants hard each spring or in the winter time once the foliage has dropped off. Plants bloom and fruit on new wood. Commercially these plants are cut back harshly all the way to nubs each year in the winter to force lots of new shoots that will bear fruit. I still havent been able to work up the nerve to do that to mine as they are still only soon to be in their third years growth, but one of these days I will quit being so chicken with my new prised plants and give it a try!

2 – Although Grewia aisatica is very easy to care for and quite drought tolerant, remember to give it water once a week during times of drought.

Watering Your Sherbet Berry / Phalsa plants:

For maximum growth potential, mulch plants generously with at least a three inch layer of leaves, compost or wood chips- this will help the plant conserve moisture.

Fertilizing Your Sherbet Berry / Phalsa Plants :

Fertilize each spring or late winter after pruning with a slow release well balanced fertilizer. For an organic approach, try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed (kelp) at one ounce each per gallon of water. Apply semi weekly as a foliar spray.

If your  plants look like they could use a boost, give them a good watering with homemade compost tea as soon as the top few inches of soil around your plant is dry to the touch!

Harvesting Your Sherbet Berry / Grewia asiatica in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:

Sherbet berries will need to be harvested daily as the drupes begin to ripen in the summer. Harvest should last several weeks and fruits will last a few days if left out and up to a week if kept refrigerated.