Sweet Tamarind, Propagation and Planting

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica Linn.) is one of the minor fruit crops in the Philippines with a great potential for commercialization. In certain parts of the country, it is an important crop because its fruits and other parts have varied food and medicinal uses.

The name Tamarind is from the Persian “tama-i-Hindi” which means Indian Date.

The Tamarind has a short, strong trunk, sometimes slightly buttressed to bear the weight of the wide, spreading crown. The thick bark is almost black and covered with longitudinal fissures and horizontal cracks.

Tamarind has great export potential because its fruit may be processed into a number of acceptable products. But the mature and ripened tamarind fruit of the sweet type is said to be more important and expensive than when it is processed. However, the supply still does not meet the demand.

The sweet tamarind has a number of advantages. It can be grown even in not-so-ideal soil, it is cheaper to grow and it is free from major insect pests and diseases that makes the tree almost chemical free. The tree is drought tolerant. Marketable fruits command a very high price in the market.


Tamarind may be propagated by seeds and asexual propagation (i.e. grafting). Propagation by seeds is not recommended because the resulting plants do not grow true-to-type.

Seeds obtained from healthy and mature fruits should be cleaned. Individual seeds are planted about two centimeters deep in potted soil rich in organic matter. A soil media with one part soil, one part sawdust, and one part compost is suggested.

For sweet tamarind, cleft grafting is recommended especially for large-scale propagation because it gives a higher percentage of success.

Rootstocks which are six months or older (about 0.8 to 1 cm in diameter) are used for grafting. Mature scions (budsticks) measuring 8-15 cm long and with the same diameter as rootstocks, and with well-developed buds are collected from full-bearing trees of outstanding characteristics. Defoliate the scion after collection and graft immediately. After grafting, cover the scion with plastic ice bag (4×12 in) and place the newly grafted plants under the shade. Transfer them in the open (full sunlight) when the new shoots develop.

Water the plants regularly. In 3-4 weeks, the scion will start to form shoots. It’s best to graft starting November up to May.


Before the onset of the rainy season, the land must be plowed once and harrowed several times until the soil is in its fine tilth. Stakes are set following the desired distance of planting (8 x 10 m). The dug holes must be large enough to accommodate the root system of the plants. The soil around the base of the plant should be packed firmly.

Clear the field of bushes and other unwanted vegetation. Prepare the land by plowing the field once and harrowing it several times until the soil is in fine tilth. Stakes are set following the desired distance of planting (8-12 meters). Holes are dug about 30-40 cm in diameter and depth. Put at the bottom of the hole a mixture of old manure and topsoil. Set the plant such that the level of the soil in the bag is at the same level as the ground surface. Cover it with the mixture. The soil around the base of the plant should be packed firmly. Cover the soil around the planting hole with mulching material to help conserve soil moisture and control weeds.

For lahar-laden areas, mix 5 kg compost with the soil. Put about six inches of the mixture before planting. Cover the base of the plant with the remaining mixture. Planting is best done during the rainy season.

Perspective [Distance of planting in meters : No. of plants per hectar]

  • 8 x 8 : 156
  • 10 x10 : 100
  • 12 x 12 : 70

For inquiries, write or contact:

Project In-charge: Dr. Filomena K. Reyes
Pampanga Agricultural College, Magalang, Pampanga
Telefax: (045) 866-4800, Mobile: 0916-5291193
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.pac.edu.ph, www.instanet.com.ph

Bureau of Agricultural Research
Department of Agriculture
3/F RDMIC Bldg., Visayas Ave. cor. Elliptical Rd.,
Diliman, Quezon City 1104
Trunklines: (63-2) 928-8505 or 927-0226
Local Nos: 2043, 2042, 2044
Email: [email protected]

source: www.bar.gov.ph, toptropicals.com

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