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Planting Instructions for the Sea Grape
There is no way to tell if you're buying a male or female plant. And the female sea grape needs a nearby male to cross-pollinate and bear fruit. You may want to purchase several plants to increase your chances of getting grapes.
This plant tolerates windy conditions and can act as a windbreak. It can also stabilize sand dunes, and provide habitat for wildlife - including protection for nesting sea turtles from artificial light (street lamps, car headlights, outdoor house lighting).
These are salt-tolerant native plants. Florida beach homes are the perfect setting for these plants provided you have the space needed.
These shrubs can grow really big, but they grow at a moderate rate so you can control their size. They spread very wide with outstretched branch "arms" - you can keep a mature shrub about 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. Or it can be pruned to tree-form - multi-trunk or, with some effort, single trunk - and left to grow to 20 or 25 feet.
About The Sea Grape
The leathery leaves grow 8 to 10 inches in diameter, with a hint of red.
They have red veining, new growth has a bronzy-red tint, and some leaves will turn completely red in winter before they fall off. In late summer female shrubs produce clusters of fruit that resemble grapes (hence the plant's name) that start out green and ripen to purple. When ripe, the fruit is very sweet, providing tasty treats for people, birds and squirrels. You can make a delicious jelly or wine from them as well.
How To Care For The Sea Grape
The unusual texture of sea grape, with its big rounded leaves on upright branches, makes it an interesting and handsome large shrub for a South Florida landscape.