The carambola (better known as “starfruit”) tree is a great addition to any Florida Keys Property. There are multiple plant nurseries along the Florida Keys that typically have start-up trees available. A good start-up tree that is properly planted may begin producing fruit as early as 14 months after planting, with steadily increasing yields as the tree matures.
A starfruit tree is well suited for the tropical climate of the Florida Keys and they are able to grow in most of the soil conditions that are common here. You will be sure to enjoy the fruits of your labor once your new tree starts to produce its bigger crops after the first couple years, especially during its peak crop periods during September-August and December-February.
It is best to allow the fruit to fully ripen before eating, waiting until the edges start to show a slight brown coloration. This is when they are at their sweetest and the most enjoyable. They are great by themselves but also make a great addition to any salad. You can also use them for cooking or even include them in preservatives.
Included are pictures of one of our very own starfruit trees in the peak of its largest fruit production yet (pictures taken at the beginning of August in 2013).
For more detailed information about the carambola tree itself and more information on planting one in southern Florida, here is a great link from the University of Florida, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg269.