Growing Allspice

Tips to Growing Allspice


It is believed that the allspice tree was first discovered in 1509, the allspice tree is said to be a native of Central America, The Greater Antilles and Southern Mexico. Allspice is also known as Jamaica Pepper and the scientific name for this spice is Pimenta Dioica. During historical times allspice was used to preserve meats. The fruits of this spice tree are picked when green and dried in the sun.

In the Caribbean, allspice is used in many dishes, the leaves can be used to make tea and are also used for medical purposes. As a child, my parents would often cook with this spice adding it mostly to our famous chicken souse that was loved and prepared by the natives. To this day this spice is still used to prepare chicken, pig feet, lambchop, turkey, rib and mutton souse that is enjoyed by many of the Islanders.

Allspice is also used in stews and Jamaican jerk seasoning, the wood of the allspice tree is used to add flavours to smoked meats. Allspice is also used to make spice cakes and the list goes on but how is this tree grown and cared for and how can you grow and allspice tree in your home garden to enjoy its flavours as you prepare those delicious meals.

How to grow allspice

Allspice can be grown from seeds or a plant, we will be looking at both of these methods and you can decide which is best for you.

Growing allspice from a plant

1. When growing this spice tree from a plant, look for a sunny location that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight also the location should have sufficient room for your allspice tree to grow. A ten-foot spacing from other garden plants is ideal.

2. The soil should be a good garden soil which can retain water, fertilizers, has good drainage and allows proper air circulation.

3. Allow the soil to dry out somewhat between watering. Overwatering your allspice tree can lead to root rot which is not good which can kill your plant.

4. When fertilizing your spice tree, fertilize with a slow or control release fertilizer and remember to always follow the direction on how to fertilize because the label is the law.

Insects of the allspice tree

Allspice has its share of insect pests which can present a problem, here are a few garden insect pests to keep an eye out for.

  • Whiteflies
  • Scales
  • Aphids
  • Spiders Mites
  • Lace Bugs

These insects are sucking insects which pierce the tissues of plants and injust the plant’s juice. These insects are also responsible for sooty mold that can further affect your allspice tree. For more on sooty mold click on the link. The key to controlling sooty mold is by eliminating these listed insects that are responsible for them. The use of insecticidal soap sprays has proven to be effective or you can try these homemade remedies that may offer some help.

Bark Beetles

Bark Beetles presents another problem of the spice tree. The bark beetle cause damage by boring through the trees branches, limbs and trunk. Control measure involves pruning infected plant parts and properly disposing of an keeping your spice tree healthy at all times.

Pruning your allspice tree

In order for your allspice plant to retain its natural shape, keep a hand pruner and a lopper shears close by, prune branches that are damaged or crossing. If plant is growing too big in its existing area pruning may also need to be done.

Growing allspice tree from seeds

Another way to grow allspice tree is from the seeds, seeds can be directly sowed into the ground but I prefer to start them in containers. The soil can be prepared by using half sand and compost in 6-inch pots. Moisten this mixture and sow seeds at a depth of about 1/5 then replace the potting mix over the seeds.

The pots should be placed in an area that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight. Ensure that soil remains moderately moist because during this time it is critical in order for your seeds to germinate. Seeds should germinate in about 2-1/2 weeks sometimes it may take a bit longer. Once the seedlings really begin to take off they can be transplanted into one-gallon pots and after several weeks plants can be removed from the pot and installed in your garden area just follow the above mentioned when planting small allspice trees.

If you wish to keep your allspice plants in containers, then choosing containers anywhere from 7 gal or larger will offer help. With container grown spice tree make sure that your containers have drain holes for excess water to drain through and keep soil moderately moist, also the use of a slow-release fertilizer will keep your spice tree healthy.

When to harvest

The time to harvest the fruit may take up to 3 years but with much patience, you will reap a good harvest. What I love about this plant is although you have to wait for several years for the tree to bear fruit, the leaves can be used. For example, the leaves also carry the aroma and the flavour which we use in our rice and meat recipes.

The final word

This spice tree which is a favourite of the Caribbean is that simple to grow and care for, why not add some spice to dishes by flavouring them with allspice that has proven to work wonders. When first introduced to this tree many years ago I was amazed and blown away by its powerful and pleasant aromas so consider adding this spice tree to your garden and reap the benefits that will spice up your life.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

6 thoughts on “Growing Allspice”

  1. If the tree gets attacked by any of these pest, what will be the effect?,is it that it will elongate the years of harvest? Or it won’t bring out enough fruits?. I’m actually having some in mind can one make a plantation of allspice tree?.I really love this post because u enlightened me on the usefulness of allspice.

    • Allspice is pretty amazing. The garden insect pest  that was mentioned in this post will cause black molds to develope on your plant but he good news is with the right treatement as laid out in my post you can strike back and elimanated them. Hope this helps.

  2. Once again, you have created an article that is both fun to read and incredibly informative. I love jerk seasoning and allspice is an incredible component of that. I never knew how much of a battle against the bugs it was though to keep them alive. Additionally, I never knew you could also use the leaves while you are waiting for the tree to bear fruit. Does it need a certain type of climate to grow or can it grow anywhere with the proper sunlight and care?

    • Hello Steve and thanks again for your kind words. Both my wife and I use the leaves in our famous chicken souse which is a wonderful Bahamain dish. As stated in my post once you can meet the requirements of your all spice tree you are good to go. Hope this help and again thanks so much for your support.

  3. Oh, what a lovely blog you have, Norman! I have to admit that I did not know what “allspice” was in English so I had to look it up in French. Now that I know, I have to say that this is not very common in France (where I come from) nor Belgium (where I live). But this makes sense since this tree is from the Caribbean. Have you heard of any success trial to grow it in colder weather like Northern Europe? Maybe in a big greenhouse? How big does this tree grow? Thanks! Nathalie 

    • Hello Nathalie so happy to see you again. Growing allspice in a green house may work as long as the conditions are met. These tree can grow to be over 20 ft. The good news is you can always control the spread and the height by simplying pruning. Hope this help and please let me know how it goes. Have  agood day.


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