Karonda Cultivation (Carissa Carandas) – Planting

Introduction to Karonda Cultivation (Carissa carandas): Karonda fruits are botanically called Carissa Carandas, are sour, subtly sweet berries growing on a woody shrub belonging to the Apocynaceae family. It is an evergreen deciduous shrub that is believed to have originated in the Himalayas and thus making it an indigenous crop. Karonda fruits or Bengal currants are sour-sweet and firm fruits about the size of a small grape. Karonda is a species of flowering shrub and it produces berry-sized fruits. It is a useful food and medicinal plant found to be widely distributed throughout subtropical and tropical regions in India. This is a traditional medicinal plant over thousands of years in the Ayurveda, Unani, and Homoeopathic system of medicine.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Karonda Cultivation(Carissa Carandas), Planting, and Propagation

Carissa Carandas found to be widely distributed throughout India. The shrub is also commonly known as Karonda, karamardaka, Koromcha, Bengal currant or Christ’s thorn, vakkay (Telugu), kilaakkaai (Tamil), and Karja tenga (Asam). These are berry-sized, which are commonly used as a condiment or additive to Indian pickles. Grow your own delicious and delicate Karonda fruit which is an evergreen plant. Karonda plant is a hardy and drought-tolerant plant that thrives well in a wide range of soils. Very attractive when in fruit, the Carissa carandas plant is often grown in the garden both as an ornamental and for its fruit in tropical and subtropical areas.

Carissa carandas is an evergreen deciduous plant, mostly 2 to 4 meters long shrub. Its stem is rich in white latex and has sharp spines on branches. The leaves are oblong and conical, 4 to 6 inches long and 2-3 inches wide, green on the highest and brown below. The plant makes white-colored flowers, measuring 3 to 5 cm in width. The fruit can be a berry, which is made in bunches of 3-10 fruits, with 5-1 tough angles bent upwards, glabrous with five to seven wings, woody, and fibrous. The Carissa carandas fruit form is a ball-shaped to a wide egg-shaped container of numerous seeds. New fruits are pinkish-white, while ripe fruit developed red to dark purple color. Mature Carissa carandas fruit color differs from white, green, and pinkish-red depending on the genetic constitution. Seed 3 to 5 per fruit, blackish chocolate, and flat.

Quick Overview of Karonda Cultivation

Karonda Cultivation
Karonda Cultivation (Image credit: pixabay)
  • Common Name – Karanda, Karonda, Kavali hoovu, and Karvand
  • Maximum Reachable Height  – 3 to 5 meters
  • Flower Color   – White
  • Bloom Time – March – April
  • Difficulty Level – Easy to grow.
  • Sunlight – It needs more than 6 hours of direct bright sunlight a day.
  • Soil – The soil must be well-drained and fertile, rich in organic content for growing plants.
  • Temperature – 23-30°C
  • Fertilizer – During the main growing season (June-July) feed the Karonda plant with organic fertilizer.
  • Maximum Height – If planted in the ground it can reach up to 5 meters
  • Blooming Year – Its flowering occurs from February to June.
  • Fruiting Time – It starts fruiting after 2 to 3 years after planting.
  • Harvest Season – Mid-May to Mid-July

Availability of Karonda in India

Karonda fruit grows throughout several regions like the Siwalik Hills, Bihar, West Bengal, the Western Ghats, and Karnataka. This plant thrives in tropical and subtropical regions without heavy rainfall. The drought-resistant nature of the plant enables the tribal regions of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Bihar to grow the fruit on a limited scale.

Karonda is known as ‘Christ Thorn Tree’ and it is a hardy, evergreen shrub widely grown in India. Also, it is found wild in the states of Bihar, West Bengal, and many parts of South India.  It is grown as a hedge plant. Though, regular plantations of Karonda are common in the Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh. Fruits, sour and astringent in taste, are a rich source of iron also containing a good amount of vitamin C. It is a tough, evergreen, spiked and indigenous bush-developed India.

Carissa carandas makes berry-sized fruits that are normally used as a condiment in Indian pickles and spices. It is a hardy and drought-tolerant plant that increases well in a wide kind of soil. In India, Karonda grows in Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and other states. It is mostly cultivated in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh states of India. It is well suited to the arid climate and grown well at higher temperature levels. It is used for making ledge for orchards. Karonda fruit is a rich source of iron and contains a fair amount of Vitamin C. Mature Karonda fruit contains a high amount of pectin The Karonda fruits are used for pickle making. It is also used for Jam. Jelly, Squash, and Syrup, etc. There is good demand for Karonda products in the market.

Climate and Soil Requirement for Karonda Cultivation

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Climate Requirement for Karonda
Climate Requirement for Karonda (pic credit: pixabay)

Karonda is a very hard and drought-tolerant plant; it thrives well throughout the tropical and subtropical climate conditions. Though, heavy rainfall and waterlogged conditions are not desirable for Karonda cultivation. It can be produced on a wide range of soils including saline and sodic soils.

Karonda is a handy fruit. High temperatures and arid climates are suitable for Karonda plant cultivation. Temperature climate with high frost and snowfall areas are not suitable for Karonda fruit. As the Karonda plants are sensitive to low temperature and front injury.

Karonda is grown successfully on a wide range of soil types like sandy loams, laterite, alluvial sand, and calcareous soil. But the better growth and higher crop yield are obtained in alluvial sandy loam soils with good drainage. This can be grown in wide ranges of soil pH levels from 5.0 to 8.0.

Different Varieties of Karonda

There are no well-established varieties of the Karonda plant. Cultivated types are mainly classified based on fruit color e.g. green-fruited, whitish fruits with a pink blush and dark purple color fruited.

The Karonda cultivars can be categories as per their color of fruits like pink-white, greenish pink, and reddish-purple or based on utilization. The fruits of pink color varieties are white at the stage and turn to pink at maturity. The color of reddish, purple color varieties are green at the immature stage and turn to Reddish purple at maturity. The Karonda varieties can be also classified into two categories i.e. pickle type varieties and table purpose varieties. Some Karonda varieties have been developed during the last two decades. Pant Manohar, Pant Sudarshan, Pant Suvarna are pickle type Karonda varieties. The varieties have smaller fruits like 3.5 g weight and acidic in taste while Konkan bold, CHES K-II-7, and CHESK-35 are bold sizes and suitable table purpose.

Karonda plant can be grown in a pot or directly in the soil in full sunlight areas. Karonda growing conditions include Karonda season, its sunlight, and soil type, etc. All these growth factors are necessarily considered to grow and to increase its life expectancy. Since this plant blooms in spring, summer, and fall season find the necessary Karonda plant Care to be taken. By acknowledging the growing conditions of the plant, know the suitable temperature and kind of sunlight required for its optimum growth.

Conditions for Karonda Seed Germination

  • Sowing requirement – Moist soil, warm weather, sunny location, and well-drained soil
  • Saving and care for seeds until sowing – Dry and dark at a room temperature level
  • Sowing season – Spring / Summer season, possible all the year from hardiness zone 11+ but will establish better in the spring season
  • Planting spacing – 30*40 cm (12*16 inches) but need after to transplant, better direct about 3*4 m (10-13ft) or just start with separate pots
  • Depth of Sowing – 0.5-1 cm
  • Watering requires for Seeds -Average amount of water do not overwater and don’t let it dry
  • Germination time – 3-5 weeks
  • Condition of seedling – Sunny location, water regular until establish

How to Propagate Karonda

Karonda is commonly grown from seeds. Some vegetative methods like air-layering and stem (hardwood) cuttings are feasible but not very common. Fresh Karonda seeds are sown in the nursery from August –September. One- year old seedlings are transplanted. The Air-layering method is successful in Karonda. Though it can be performed at the beginning of the monsoon and rooted layers can be separated about 3 months after layering.

Karonda is mostly propagated through seed propagation and vegetable propagation methods such as cutting, layering, and budding.

Seed Propagation

Karonda plants can be multiplied through seed easily. The seed propagation method is the most commonly used in Karonda. The seed must be collected immediately after harvesting. The Karonda seeds sown immediately after extraction give higher germinated. Seeds are shown in trays and these seedlings are transplanted in polyethene bags at the 3 to 4 leaf stage. The Karonda plants because ready for planting in 8-10 months. The germination in seedless or less seeded varieties is low and the plants produced from seeds have a lot of variability for fruit size, color, and taste, etc.

Vegetative Propagation

Stem cutting, air layering, and budding methods are used for the multiplication of varieties to produce true type planting material.

Cuttings – Usually, semi-hardwood cuttings are suitable for the multiplication of plants. Generally, 25-30 cm long and 1-foot diameter cuttings may be used for propagating plants. Then, the best time for planting cutting is June –July. Then, the semi-hardwood cutting planted during July – August gave 30 to 40 % success as compared to hardwood cutting and softwood cuttings. The success in table purpose, bold Karonda fruit varieties is lower than pickle type varieties.

Air layering – The air layering method of Karonda plants was found successful well-performing during June and July. The success rate was variable from 30 to 60% in different years. The air layers have removed from the plants in September and planting in polythene bags and they become ready for planting after 6 to 7 months.

Karonda Bloom Time

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Karonda Bloom
Karonda Bloom (Image credit: pixabay)

The bloom time for Karonda plants varies because several factors like soil drainage, fertilizers, and the amount of sunlight, it receives influences its reproductive development. When you know the bloom time of a plant it becomes very easy to plant it accordingly. Also, when the Karonda plant is not blooming, you can plan to plant other seasonal blooming plants in your garden. Karonda bloom time is the period which is most awaited by the flowers start blooming. It helps you plan the gardening based on the plant season. Karonda bloom time is the spring season. These Karonda plants can flower more than once during their growing season.

Conditions for Planting Karonda

Usually, pits of about 60 cm x60cm x 60cm size are dug and then filled with organic manure and soil about 1:2 ratio. The planting distance for fence/ hedge must be 1-1.5 m, requiring 300 to 400 plants for planting along the boundary of the one-hectare field. If an exclusive planting is to be raised, a planting distance of 2 m x 2 m must be enough.

Manure and Fertilization Requirement for Karonda Cultivation

Karonda plants cultivated as a protective hedge are hardly manured or fertilized. Manuring is beneficial. Otherwise, Karonda plants slowly get exhausted after taking 2 crops and start showing symptoms of dieback. Therefore, about 10 to 15 kg well-rotten FYM (farmyard manure) or compost/plant should be applied before flowering.

Balanced nutrition is considered to be important which determines productivity and quality. Karonda responds to exogenously applied manure and fertilizers and response changes depending upon cultivar, climatic conditions, and soil types. Since soil and climate conditions of different places are highly diverse, there is wide variation in the response of fertilizer application. The one-year-old plant must be provided 5 kg of about FYM and a 100 gm mixture of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potash. This growth must be an increase in the same ratio up to 3 years. The four and more than 3-year-old plants must give 15-20 kg of FYM and 400 g of a mixture of NPK. The best time for fertilizer application is June-July after harvesting Karonda fruits.

Since Karonda is a hardy plant, it needs very little care. Though, suckers appearing from the ground in regular plantations must be removed timely. Hoeing is necessary for removing the weeds. 

Intercrop in Karonda Cultivation

Generally, Karonda grows in dry soil where water facilities are not available some vegetables are can be grown during the rainy season. During the initial period of establishment, the space between the Karonda plants can be utilized for the planting of intercrops. Then, these give additional income in the initial stage of planting without competing with the main crop. Cowpea, French bean, Okra, Brinjal, or other suitable plants of the regions are grown as intercrops. In the mature Karonda orchards, green manure crops can be grown and incorporated into the soil, which improves its fertility, moisture-holding capacity, and physical condition.

Irrigation Management for Karonda Cultivation

Karonda is a hardy plant and the newly planted plants should be given irrigation. Young plants should be irrigated at 10 to 15 days intervals in the winter and 6 to 7 days in the summer season. The basin or flood method of irrigation is practiced. Though, the adoption of drip irrigation is effective in the economic use of water and enhanced growth. The adult orchards are generally not irrigated. Mulching with dry leaves in the basin helps in moisture conservation.

The water requirement of the Karonda plant is very low. Irrigation after planting and manuring is essential. Plantation once established does not need much water. Though, if there is no rain during the development of fruit, one irrigation may be given and this will increase the fruit size.

Karonda plants need water, but the watering amount varies in different plants. Summer Plants does not need much watering but some Vegetables do need lots of water. Though, watering must be in an optimum amount for the plant’s healthy growth. For proper watering, first, find the type of soil for the Karonda plant. Watering is one of the major factors of Karonda plant care. A caring grower must know the amount of water needed for their respective plants. Watering Karonda plant requirements are as follows;

  • In summer – Lots of watering
  • In Winter – Average Water

If you have a large garden, compare and discover plants that need lots of water and you will be able to decide the irrigation system to install in your garden. For over-watering, Karonda plants drip irrigation is implemented. Such systems will help to water your plants in precise quantities ensuring their perfect care.

Training and Pruning Requirement for Karonda Cultivation

Regular plantations of the Karonda plant can be trained on the single or double stem. So, additional unwanted shoots or laterals are removed from time to time to give the plant desired shape.  Bearing plants of normal height do not need any pruning. Suckers arising from the ground and diseased dried twigs must be removed.

Karonda pruning and providing its soil with proper fertilizers is a very important part of caring for it. Pruning or trimming the plant mainly helps the plant grow faster. Usually, pruning can be done all over the year. Almost all fruiting plants must be pruned while they are dormant. To ensure good growth of plant we recommend you the best fertilizers which are needed. It is very necessary to mix fertilizers in plant soil, particularly when the type of soil is poor. It is important to understand the kind of fertilizers needed for every plant you are going to plant. Wrongly fertilizing the plant can dry and burn it. Pruning and fertilizers for Karonda are as follows;

  • Karonda Pruning – Prune the plant if you want to improve plant shape and remove dead leaves
  • Karonda Fertilizers – Compost and fertilize done in the growing season

Pests and Diseases Management in Karonda Cultivation

While taking Karonda plant care, its diseases should be taken into consideration as it affects the health of the plant. Pests and diseases cause harm to the Karonda plant. It might be decaying of its roots, infecting plant leaves, causing yellowish color, mushy spots, or infecting its stem. Some diseases like fungi grow rapidly by consuming nutrition from plants. All these factors reduce the plant’s life span. If you know what kind of diseases can occur to the Karonda plant, it will help you to find the right cure and reduce the harm. Karonda plant diseases are Aphids, Earwigs, Insects, Mildew, Red blotch, Rust, and sawflies.

Anthracnose – The Karonda plants are affected mainly by Anthracnose. The symptoms are developed in the plant leaves as Irregular size black, brown, lesions. These spots increase and decreasing the size of the plant leaves. The disease affects fruits and branches. The diseases can control by the spraying of copper-based fungicide copper oxide, copper trioxide in the initial stage. The orchard’s sanitation like the burning of fallen plant leaves and fruit helps to reduce inoculums.

Leaf eating caterpillars – Caterpillars mainly cause much damage, mainly by eating leaves. This affects the growth of the plants. Caterpillars can be controlled through the use of pesticides, biological control, and cultural practices.

Fruit fly – Moderate infestation of fruit fly infestation was noticed on the Karonda plant. Fruit fly infests the ripened fruits and its infestation is more in southern states. The female fruit fly lays eggs on the mature Karonda fruits with the help of its pointed ovipositor. After hatching the maggots feed on the pulp of Karonda fruits and the infested fruits start rotting and fall. As a result, a brown color patch appears around the place of oviposition. Pre-harvest IPM combined with sanitation (Collection and destruction of fallen/infested fruits) + Placing Methyl eugenol trap by 4-6/acre + in severe infestation spraying of bait spray (Decamethrin 2ml+ 100g of jaggery in 1 liter of water) is recommended.

When and How to Harvest Karonda

Karonda plant starts yielding after 3rd year. In Western, Ghats flower starts in December to March, and fruit mature from April to June. The maturity of fruits is judged based on the color change. All fruits do not mature at one time therefore harvesting is generally done 3-4 times. Harvesting is done manually. The harvesting of Karonda fruits with stock helps to the minimum the oozing of latex by fruits and enhances the quality and storage of fruits.

Plants raised by seed, start bearing in the 3rd year of its planting. Flowering takes place during March and the fruits ripen from July to September in north India. Karonda needs 2-3 pickings to harvest the entire crop. 

Karonda fruits mature 100 to 110 days after the fruit set.  At this stage, fruits develop their natural color.  Karonda fruits ripen after this stage, taking about 120 days after fruit set when they become soft and then attain dark purple/maroon/ red color. After harvesting, these are kept in shade. Undesirable or blemished fruits are sorted out.  Good fruits packed in baskets are marketed.

The storage life of Karonda fruits mainly depends upon the stage of harvest. Fruits harvested at maturity can be stored for a weak at room temperature, whereas fruits harvested at the ripe stage, are highly perishable and last only for 2 to 3 days.  Raw or mature Karonda fruits are the most suitable for pickle making, which is liked very much all over India. Ripe Karonda fruits can be processed into squash, syrup, or a ready-to-serve the bottled drink. They can also be dried.

The yield of Karonda Plant

On average, a Karonda plant provides 2 to 4 kg fruits. The fruits can be stored for 3 to 4 days at room temperature. These fruits used for making jam, candy, and pickles.

Commonly Asked Questions about Karonda Cultivation

What is another name for a Karonda?

Karonda is commonly known as Karanda, Carissa carandas, Kavali hoovu, and Peddakalavi.

How tall do Carissa carandas grow?

On average Carissa carandas grows 3 to 5 meters.

When Carissa carandas blooms?

With enough light, Carissa carandas can produce White color flowers in March – April

How hard is Carissa carandas to grow?

A Carissa caranda plants are Easy to grow.

How much sunlight does a Carissa carandas need?

A Carissa carandas needs more than 6 hours of direct bright sunlight a day.


  1. Hi,
    Nice info.

    Yeild may depand on various conditions like weater, soil, water, etc.

    We are getting yield of around 10 kgs per plant under natural farming method in our farm near to Hyderabad. Mainly we used farmyard manure and watering. No other fertilizers applied this year.


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