currently in Austin


Barbados Cherry

Malpighia glabra

POW - Barbados Cherry

This native plant is great as an accent shrub or screen. Like most plants, it needs a little extra water during the first year or so, but is very drought-tolerant once established.

There are dwarf varieties available, but common Barbados cherry usually gets 4 to 6 feet tall and has a spreading habit, so give it plenty of room to grow.

The small pink flowers, which bloom in spurts from April through October, look very similar to the flowers of crape myrtle. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Barbados cherry produces a lovely bright red fruit that is edible and high in vitamin C, but quite tart. These fruits are truly a wonderful food source for birds during the hot months of summer. Those fruits and the tender leaves may also attract other wildlife to your yard. Deer absolutely love them too! So: not deer resistant.

This plant performs well in part shade to full sun and is evergreen during most winters. In a harsh winter, it may lose its leaves but will bounce back when spring arrives. It’s adaptable to most soils but does require good drainage. It does have a rather thicket-like growth habit, so unless you have a true wild-scape, you may want to prune Barbados cherry to keep it in shape and looking less messy.