Caractéristiques de la plante
- Inga edulis : Ice-cream bean
- Family: Fabaceae
- Origin : South America
- Height in its natural environment : 15 m
- Hardiness : -4°C
- Colour of the flower : white
Height : about 10 to 30 cm (depending on seasons)
Descriptif de la plante
A beautiful shade tree with thick, dense foliage, this ice-cream pea is used to shade coffee and cocoa plantations, but could also serve as a parasol for your summer siestas!
Then, after your siesta, you can pick its huge, spectacular pods, up to one meter long, which contain several black seeds surrounded by a white, cottony pulp. The seeds are eaten cooked as a vegetable or roasted, while the pulp is eaten fresh, offering a sweet flavor reminiscent of vanilla ice cream. Juice can also be extracted to make alcohol, and the high-protein leaves can be used as cattle fodder.
Fruiting can begin as early as the second year, and Inga edulis contributes to soil improvement. So don't hesitate, adopt this funny ice cream! !
Miguel tells us moreRayon de Serre is the first nursery in Europe to offer this exotic fruit tree from Latin America, thanks to its collaboration with the Orchard of Flavours botanical garden in Portugal.
Brazilians call it the Ice Bean and Indians the Indian Marshmallow. In fact, the fruit of the Inga edulis has the taste of ice cream and the texture of marshmallow. It is one of the most versatile fruit trees in the Orchard of Flavours botanical garden. It can grow in almost any type of soil, although it prefers neutral or slightly alkaline soils.
It is evergreen and has many advantages:
- it is slightly frost-resistant (down to minus 3 Celsius)
- it grows very fast (up to 2 meters in 2 years),
- it is drought-resistant, but can be waterlogged for up to 3 months,
- it can be heavily pruned,
- Inga edulis sun requirements: full sun,
- Soil requirements: all types of soil, although it is said to like slightly acidic soils, we have planted it in alkaline soil and it grows very well,
- Water requirements: regular watering for the first 3 years, then thereafter, very drought-resistant fruit tree. But it can also be soaked in water for 3 months at a time, so roots don't rot,
- Environmental benefits: nitrogen fixer, shade tree, windbreak,
- Ice-Cream Pea Fruit: the pulp that surrounds the seeds in the pod is white, translucent and gelatinous, with a sweet, fragrant taste that resembles vanilla ice cream. Very popular in Latin America. The pod can reach 60 cm in length.
A little advice from the Orchard of Flavours botanical garden:
- Prune it constantly so that it takes on the shape you want. You can even prune it during the summer. Make sure that the side branches are not too long, so that you get a taller tree.
- If frost damages a few leaves, don't worry - they'll grow back quickly.
- Transplant when temperatures fall below 15°C.
- Fruit appears in the second or third year, ripening in October.
Conseils de culture
When you receive your plant, repot it in a pot slightly larger than the bucket, which must be well pierced. Avoid pot covers which prevent residual water from draining away and encourage fungal diseases. Choose a fine potting soil, ideally with added perlite or sand to lighten the substrate (do not use garden soil or acidic soil such as heather). Then plan two repottings per year (spring and autumn), gradually increasing the size of the pot and adapting it to the size of the root network (the roots must have room, but not too much as the plant must be able to dry out its substrate between waterings). This avoids having to add fertilizer, which always risks burning the fragile roots of the plants and making the plant wither as soon as the fertilizer is stopped.
Moderate watering: watering should be copious (the whole root ball should be wet), but wait until the substrate has dried deeply before watering again (you can stick your finger in the soil: as long as you feel moisture, do not water). Your plant will recover better from a lack of water than from an excess of water. Always water at the base of the plant, and do not mist it, because stagnant water in the armpit of the leaves favors cryptogamic diseases. If your atmosphere is too dry, put bowls of water nearby (above radiators for example), so that evaporation humidifies the air.
For an indoor planting
Your plant must be taken out in summer, a full sun is perfectly convenient for it. It must be brought in a cold room in winter, that is to say a room free of frost but not heated. It fears excessive humidity when temperatures are low, so drastically reduce watering. Be careful: do not take it out and bring it back in all the time, it must be taken out in good weather, then brought back in when the cold weather arrives, because plants adapt their foliage to their environment, which should not constantly change. It often happens that plants lose their foliage when they are taken out and/or brought in, don't worry, your plant will adapt and will emit its new foliage accordingly.
For an outdoor planting
If your climate allows it, you will be able to plant your plant in full ground, a full sun is recommended. We advise you however to cultivate it in pot the first year and to make it spend the first winter in the heat, in order to strengthen it well. Plant it between the end of the risk of frost (generally at the beginning of May) and the end of August, in a soil which must be light and draining; do not hesitate to add sand and fine potting soil if necessary. Be careful with the minimum temperatures indicated: they are given for a mature plant, and you have to take into account the wind which accentuates the cold felt, as well as the water retention capacity of your soil, which can rot the roots if it is not sufficiently draining. So take a little safety margin!
This plant is very easy to prune, which will make it branch out.
Our plants are grown naturally, without chemical fertilizers, so we advise you to repot them regularly (twice a year) rather than adding fertilizer.
In case of pest attack
If your plants are under attack by aphids or other pests, the best way to control them is by hand. Change their soil, remove as many undesirables as possible by hand and then shower your plants with a strong stream of water to eliminate any eggs that may be present. Spray them (insist on the underside of the leaves) with liquid black soap diluted in water. Repeat the operation several times at a few days interval. Take them outside in good weather, rain, sun and wind will kill most of the aggressors!
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