Propagating Breadfruit

Community Contributed

By Joe Kennedy

Breadfruit is one of the easiest to grow, most abundant fruits for the amount of labor it takes to thrive. It can be prepared in endless ways for a starch or dessert. Propagation of this tree is key for many families to grow it successfully. The first two times I tried to propagate breadfruit were very successful. The next time was a failure but that was because I failed to maintain constant moisture. I think it’s pretty easy for most people to do this.

First, get the site ready where you want to grow your new breadfruit trees. Get a piece of material like a tarp, plastic or large garbage bag and spread it out on a relatively smooth surface. It should be able to drain well, with no water puddling.

Next, cover this with about four inches of sand. If you collect it from the beach, don’t worry if there is a little salt left on it. Third, get about half a quart of lemon or lime juice, more or less depending on the amount of cuttings you want to make.

Now you’re ready to dig up some roots. Find a mature breadfruit tree or ask around if your friends have one. The easiest way to dig is to use a garden hose and wet the ground where you think the roots are. Dig around the circumference of the tree a few feet away from the trunk where you think the roots are. Look for roots that are one inch thick or thicker. Use a lot of water and try not to nick or damage any part of the roots.

Cut roots that are one inch or bigger into pieces about one foot long each. Wash the roots, paint them with the lemon juice, and bury them into the sand on their side one inch deep.

The key to success is keeping the sand moist at all times. Little sprouts will pop through the sand and when they’re about an inch or two high, transplant them into a pot or into the field.

Good luck with the awesome breadfruit, king of the forest — one of God’s greatest gifts.