Native Barbados cherry, a small shrub/tree to 4-6′ tall, is a great choice for small landscapes, to screen a view, or accent a habitat garden. Like most plants, it needs a little extra water during the first few years, but is very drought-tolerant once established.
There are dwarf varieties available (Malpighia punicifolia ‘Nana’) that grow to 2-4′.
Barbados cherry is not deer resistant.
The small pink flowers, which bloom in spurts from April through October, look very similar to the flowers of crape myrtle. They attract butterflies, bees, 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.
Barbados cherry 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. Simply cut back dead branches. You can also prune to shape.
It’s adaptable to most soils, including clay, but does require good drainage.