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How To Grow Snake Fruit | Are The Seeds Worth Sowing?

Do you know the ways to grow Snake fruit? One of the most fascinating fruiting trees, the seeds of this slow-growing Palm are hidden inside a scaly fruit.

To grow Snake fruits from seeds, harvest them by peeling off the fruit skin and flesh after they ripen. Then, wash, dry, and soak them for 24 hours to wake them. After, sow them in well-draining soil maintained at 75-85°F and spaced 2 inches apart.

After planting, the seeds of Snake fruits may show slow germination and have low germination luck.

But there are certain tricks to increase your chances of having lovely Snake fruit trees in a few years!

What Are Snake Fruits? [Description & Key Facts]

Snake fruits (botanically Salacca zalacca) are plants from the Palm family Arecaceae. These fruits bear a common name, Salak.

These tropical to sub-tropical Palm trees produce an unusual conical fruit with scaly and prickly peel resembling the skin of snakes.

Image illustrates Snake fruit Palm
Snake fruits got their name from the scaly patterns on the fruit peel.

If you peel the outer coppery dark brown to reddish skin, you can actually see 3 creamy white to yellowish-pink lobes of flesh containing 2-3 seeds.

Additionally, Snake fruits have a distinct sweaty aroma. However, as the fruit ripens, you can smell a combo of subtle sweet scents. 

When Do You Harvest Snake Fruits?

You can harvest Snake fruits during summer and early fall in the cold climates of the Northern Hemisphere.

But if you live in warmer climates, such as in Southern Hemisphere, the best time to harvest Snake fruits is from winter to spring.

Additionally, you can follow these steps to easily harvest them after the fruits attain a firm to soft texture and give off a distinct aroma.

  • First, choose a fruit bunch with coppery dark brown to reddish skin.
  • Take a sterilized knife and remove the fruits one by one from the bunch.
  • Cut them at the base where they attach to the fruiting stalk without harming the peel.

If you leave them too long on the vine, the skin of the fruits will become tough, and the flesh will turn gelatinous and fibrous.

Image illustrates methods of growing Snake fruit seeds
You can also scarify the seeds of Snake fruits to encourage them to germinate.

However, you can store them to increase their shelf life. To preserve them properly, you can consider these steps.

  • Wash the fruits in cold running water and pat them dry.
  • Wrap each fruit in a plastic bag and place the fruits in a resealable plastic container.
  • You can then store them in the fridge for 5 days without any damage.
For long-term storage, you can freeze Snake Fruit in freezer bags for 3 months and thaw them overnight in the fridge to eat.

Also, you can store the fruit in a cool, dry place for 3 days to 2 weeks if you don’t have a fridge. 

How To Grow Snake Fruits?

You can grow Snake fruits by directly sowing their seeds in the soil.

Hence, to grow Snake fruit seeds, it may take about 3-5 years for the plant to bear the first batch of harvestable fruits.

Generally, the seeds of Snake fruits are sensitive to temperature and light. Some secondary requirements also include soil, humidity, and water.

1. Collecting Snake Fruit Seeds

Collect the Snake fruit seeds from ripe fruits as they have a better shot at germination.

  • Peel the fruits and remove the flesh from the seeds.
  • Now, wash the fruits thoroughly under cold running water to remove any fleshy remnants.
  • Spread the Snake Fruit seeds on a paper towel and dry them.
  • Then, store the seeds in an air-tight glass jar when they are completely dry.

Normally, the seeds of Snake fruits can remain viable for 6 months to 1 year when stored properly at 50-60°F.

To increase their viability, you can freeze the seeds for 24 hours on a baking sheet first.

Then, keep them in an air-tight jar and store them in the fridge for a year.

Nevertheless, Snake fruit seeds have only a 50% germination rate. So, if you sow 10 seeds, only 5 will show germination.

2. Sowing Snake Fruit Seeds

Snake fruit seeds display quick germination rates when you plant them fresh.

Before sowing, soak the Snake fruit seeds in room temperature water for 24 hours to soften the seed coats.

Yet, you can also scarify the seeds on sandpaper to nick their seed coats to allow moisture intake.

  • First, take a germination tray and spread 10 inches thick well-draining soil.
  • Plant the seeds about 0.5-1 inch deep and sow them 2 inches apart from each other.
  • Keep setup over a heating mat maintained at 75-85°F.
  • Use a humidity dome with air input and cover the seeds.
  • Then, place the seeds near an east-facing window or a warm sunny location to encourage germination.

Snake fruit seeds may take about 2-12 weeks or even longer to germinate. So be patient!

Image illustrates the seedling of Snake fruit
You can repot the seedlings to individual planters after they grow new sets of true leaves.

3. Caring Snake Fruit Seedlings

Snake fruit seedlings require about 2 feet of surrounding space to grow freely.

Additionally, they need all the primary cultural requirements to show feasible growth.

  • Light: Daily 8 hours of dappled sunlight from a well-curtained south-facing window.
  • Temperature: Surrounding temperature of 70-80°F (prevent temperature drops below 60°F).
  • Watering: Water every 2-3 days in spring & summer and weekly in fall & winter.
  • Humidity: 70-80% of surrounding humidity.
  • Soil: Well-draining & porous substrate.
  • Fertilizer: Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks until the seedlings grow to about 6 inches tall.  
  • Pruning: Trim any visible damaged, diseased, or pest-infested leaves or branches and apply neem oil.
  • Repotting: Transplant to 1-2 inches wider and deeper terracotta planter or in the garden soil after they grow 6 inches tall.

From Editorial Team


To grow Snake fruit, you must properly harvest and soak the seeds before sowing.

Also, frozen seeds should be thawed overnight in room-temperature water to wake them for germination.