Carissa carandas belongs to the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. It grows widely in the Indian Subcontinent. It has a lot of medicinal uses. During the British era in India, it was used as a hedge plant because of its sharp thorns.
The plant can be easily maintained. They need little attention; its only major requirement is abundant sunlight.
The plant requires full sun. It can grow in semi-shade areas too.
Flowers are slightly fragrant, white in colour and occur in groups of three to six. Fruits are edible, glossy, oval-shaped and berry-sized.
They are whitish when unripe and turn reddish black on ripening. Inside they can be red or purplish. They mostly occur in clusters like grapes. The plant can have blooms throughout the year.
The tree also has bright glossy leaves and sharp thorns. Prune the plant to give it the desired shape.
Young plants should be watered once a week. Mature Carissa carandas do not require frequent watering. It is quite drought-resistant and can survive dry spells. Watering the plant if it has gone through a long dry spell can lead to better fruit size. Waterlogged conditions are not preferable.
It does not have any specific soil preferences. It can grow fairly well in all soil types including saline soils. The most ideal soil, however, is alluvial sandy loam soil with good drainage. A layer of mulch will help preserve moisture.
Generally, the plant grows up to 1.5m to 2m.
If you are using it as a hedge plant then fertilizing is not necessary. However, for better blooms add Farm Yard Manure and compost to the soil before flowering season.
The plant can get infested by leaf-eating caterpillars and fruit fly. Use organic pesticides.
The fruit is rich in iron and vitamin C content. It is used in the treatment of anaemia. Mature fruit is harvested for pickles. It is also a useful ingredient in jelly, chutney, jam, and syrup preparation. A paste of the roots is used as a fly repellent.
It can be used as an ornamental plant, as a hedge or a privacy plant too.