If you live along the coast and are looking for a plant that is wind and salt tolerant, look no farther than the sea grape plant. What are sea grapes? Read on to find out and get some additional seaside grape information that can be useful when deciding if this is a suitable plant for your landscape? What are Sea Grapes? A tropical tree found in the tropics, sea grape plant (Coccoloba uvifera) is often used in ocean-side landscaping. Growing sea grapes can be found in sandy soil right on the beach and it produces clusters of fruit that resemble grapes. The tree tends to branch off into multiple trunks, but can be trained (pruned) to form a single one and its size can be maintained to that of a shrub. It can grow up to 25-30 feet high when left unchecked. After about 10 years of training the tree, sea grape care is minimal and needs only to be watered and occasionally pruned to maintain the desired shape. They are most often utilized to create a windbreak or hedge, although they make attractive specimen plants as well. They do well in urban environments and have even been used as street trees along boulevards and freeways. Sea grape has very broad leaves of between 8-12 inches. When immature, the foliage is red in color and, as they age, change color until they are green laced with red veins. The plant blooms with flowers of ivory to white, which grow in clusters on short stalks. The resulting fruit also grows in clusters and can be white or purple. Only female plants produce fruit but, of course, the male plant must be nearby for her to produce.
Growing Instructions for the Sea Grape
The seeds need to be planted when received or stored in a refrigerator until they are planted. 1. Soak the seed in water for several hours. 2. Sea grapes grow in sandy soil and in nearly pure sand on beaches. They like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet. 3. Put the seeds on the soil. 4. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. 5. Water the seeds. 6. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. The seeds take 3 weeks or longer to germinate. 7. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.