Allspice Tree: Seeds And Leaves For Spices


The allspice tree is a stunning tree by itself and offers dried berries that make everybody’s favourite fall taste: allspice. The tree is the one spice crop grown solely within the western hemisphere, and supplied you’ve the appropriate situations you’ll be able to develop it at dwelling too!

Allspice originates in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. In these tropical areas, growers domesticate regional allspice timber which have distinct flavors. Each area has particular culinary makes use of for dried berries, and the result’s an fragrant delicacies that’s unforgettable.

So what do allspice timber must thrive? And how can dwelling growers exterior its tropical vary assist their timber produce berries and harvest them? Keep studying, and we’ll cowl all these items, and extra… like the place the title allspice comes from.

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Quick Care Guide

The allspice tree is a lovely shade tree with a spice bonus. Source: Lorena Cassady
Common Name(s) Allspice tree, Jamaican pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, pimento,  pimenta gorda, Jamaican allspice, Mexican allspice, Guatemalan allspice
Scientific Name Pimenta dioica
Days to Harvest 90 to 150 days
Light Full solar to half shade
Water 1 inch per week
Soil Loose, well-draining
Fertilizer Balanced, excessive phosphorous powder each 5 weeks
Pests Mealybugs, whiteflies, aphids
Diseases Rust, powdery mildew, bacterial crown gall

All About The Allspice Tree

Pimenta dioica growing
As the allspice flowers fade, the berries start to kind. Source: defndaines

The allspice tree (Pimenta dioica) is usually known as  Jamaican pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, pimento,  pimenta gorda, Jamaican allspice, Mexican allspice, and Guatemalan allspice. It was first cultivated by Maya and Aztec folks in Central America, circa 2600 BC and 1250 AD, respectively. The title allspice happened as a result of the flavour of the dried berries is just like cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. There is just one species of allspice on the planet.

Pimenta dioica is a tropical, decorative, evergreen shrub within the myrtle household that grows as much as 59 toes tall. The tree’s bark is white-grey and peels in sheets like that of birch timber. The root system is deep and spreads large. Allspice leaves are darkish inexperienced, rectangular, and leathery, and they’re excessive in fragrant content material. In mid-summer, the timber develop small white flowers on pyramidal stems that produce pea-sized inexperienced berries. 

Allspice timber are both male or feminine, and growers ought to encourage cross-pollination to supply berries. These clustered berries are eliminated once they’re nonetheless inexperienced for entry to the scrumptious allspice taste. They are then sun-dried on concrete till they’re darkish crimson and floor into allspice. It takes roughly 3 to five months for berries to kind after the timber are pollinated. 

Allspice timber are native to Central America and the West Indies, particularly Jamaica, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, and Leeward Isle. Allspice was traditionally used to protect meats within the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica.  It’s cultivated as a key ingredient in jerk seasoning, barbecues, curries, and stews. The spice can also be fashionable in German and British cooking. It’s mixed with nutmeg to make pumpkin pie spice within the US.

The allspice tree leaves are used with smoked meats to offer a woodier, much less intense taste and aroma. The leaves lose taste inside a few days. Therefore they should be harvested and used immediately. Cooking with allspice and a mixture of different dried spices can fill your kitchen with a pungent aroma that you simply’ll hunt down usually. 


To encourage cross-pollination, purchase two allspice saplings – one male, one feminine – from a nursery. In tropical areas in early fall after the primary rain, discover a spot in your backyard that has free, well-draining soil. Ensure there space will get full daylight for at the very least 40% of the day, however shade the timber within the late afternoon. Space them at the very least 30 toes aside, or develop allspice in containers. Grow allspice in a clay container to maintain the basis system wholesome. Plant new timber out of chilly and wind.

If you reside in tropical areas, develop timber within the floor. Dig a gap 2 instances wider than every tree’s root ball, and simply barely deeper than the nursery pot. Remove them from the nursery pot, and place their root system within the gap. Then add water, filling the outlet barely. Finally, add well-moistened soil and mound it up across the base of the timber. Spread mulch as the bottom of your pimenta plant. 

If you’ve a supply for allspice berries, take away the berry husk, and extract the seeds. Soak them in water for twenty-four hours, and plant them in well-moistened soil. They’ll sprout inside 6 weeks. Fertilize every of the timber and both plant them in massive containers once they’re mature or plant them within the floor. Follow the identical steps for planting younger timber in containers as you’d for planting them within the floor. 


Allspice flower
While not extremely ornamental, allspice flowers are lacy and delicate. Source: jmlwinder

Once every tree is planted, you’re in your approach to utilizing allspice crops for varied culinary makes use of. Let’s talk about the fundamental care methods for this plant within the myrtle household, so you’ll be able to get pleasure from it in your backyard and your kitchen. 

Sun and Temperature

Allspice wants full daylight to partial shade, with at the very least 6 hours of full morning gentle per day. Established timber will just do advantageous in shadier spots, however younger timber want full daytime solar. Hard afternoon gentle can singe the foliage, so you’ll want to shade the tree within the afternoon. Allspice is hardy in zones 10 and 11, the place temperature ranges don’t dip beneath 40 levels Fahrenheit usually. Established timber will survive snap freezes all the way down to 26 levels. In areas exterior its hardiness vary, develop the timber in containers and produce them in or put them in a climate-controlled greenhouse when temperatures are constantly beneath 40 levels. Too a lot publicity to chilly damages the tree and ultimately kills it. 

Water and Humidity

Allspice is native to areas which have naturally well-moistened earth. Keep the rising medium moist however not waterlogged. Give younger timber water day by day both with drip irrigation or soaker hoses. A tree in a container will seemingly want extra water than one rising within the earth. Ensure the highest two inches of the rising medium is moist earlier than including extra water. If you should not have entry to drip irrigation or soaker hoses, a low sluggish stream from a hose or watering can will do. When it rains, there is no such thing as a must water every tree in your backyard.  


Allspice prefers well-draining common media of virtually any kind. In its native vary the crops develop in lots of various kinds of land. If you reside someplace with compacted soil, amend it earlier than you plant your tree with common backyard media and agricultural sand. Use the identical customary for containers within the backyard. The optimum pH to develop allspice is 6.1 to 7.8. 


When you plant every tree, add slow-release tropical plant fertilizer in powder kind to the outlet and water it in. Add extra tropical plant fertilizer across the base of the plant each 3 to five weeks. If you don’t have entry to tropical plant meals, plant meals is passable. The concept NPK for allspice crops is 20-180-50 within the first 12 months. Then transfer to 300-250-750 after 15 years. Note that these NPK ratios are primarily based on horticultural requirements for rising allspice. Tropical plant meals is simply nearly as good.  


In spring and summer time, after 3 years of progress, prune allspice timber both to keep up form or hold it small for those who’re rising indoors. The tree may be pruned from the bottom as much as give it a bushier look. Remove any low-lying branches to provide the cover a extra conical look. Remove branches which might be broken or cross each other to provide allspice the room it must develop. Allspice won’t lose its leaves in winter, and fruit will drop from the tree naturally. To stop the sprouting of berries from sprouting, gather them as rapidly as potential. 


We briefly mentioned the best way to plant allspice berries to supply new crops in an earlier part. You can even develop new crops from cuttings and through air layering. Use pruning shears to take away about 6 inches of the present 12 months’s progress, and take away the underside 3 units of leaves, permitting the highest two to a few to stay. Dip them in rooting powder and place them in starter media in starter pots. In 2 months they’ll produce new progress and may be transplanted.

To air layer allspice, reduce partially by way of a department with new progress in spring, and wrap it in moist moss. When new roots poke out of the moss, prune beneath the basis and transplant the reducing in your backyard. 

Harvesting and Storing

Harvested allspice
Freshly harvested allspice. Source: Scott Zona

Once you take care of your allspice crops and assist them produce fruit, it’s time for harvest. Then you should use the pimento seeds with different spices, like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, chili powder, and curry. You may even use the leaves along with fruit. 


Harvest the fruits once they’re massive sufficient, however once they’re unripe and nonetheless inexperienced – very similar to juniper. Look for inexperienced fruits which might be ⅛ of an inch to ¼ inch massive. Handpick the unripe fruit (such as you would juniper berries) and place them in a basket or bag. Set the unripe berries on a dry floor within the solar to dry. When they’re darkish crimson, they’re able to be saved along with your different spices. Separate a few of the berries for use as seeds to sprout new allspice saplings. Rub them in opposition to a sieve to launch the seeds inside. Leaves needs to be harvested and used instantly. They may be taken from the tree as quickly as they’re the specified dimension. Fruit will develop on some crops at 3 years, whereas others produce berries at 5 to six years of age.  


Store the dried berries complete in an hermetic container for 3 to 4 years. Ground allspice is used to protect meats or is mixed with clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and different delectable spices. But floor allspice loses efficiency rapidly. Grind them solely simply earlier than cooking with them. Leaves of pimenta won’t retailer and needs to be utilized in cooking together with different spices, like clove. Also like clove, retailer the pimenta berries in a darkish, cool space. 


Pimenta dioica foliage
Pimenta dioica’s foliage is lush and inexperienced. Source: Juniperus_scopulorum

Pimenta might typically present an indication or two of issue. Practicing built-in pest administration together with cautious commentary will assist hold the upkeep gentle. That approach you should use harvested pimenta in cooking for a few years to return.  

Growing Problems

If you develop allspice in compacted earth, the basis system won’t have ample room to soak up vitamins and can drop flowers, stopping entry to sun-dried berries and seeds. Transplant a younger tree in a rehab container if the earth is simply too compacted. 

When you don’t water your pimenta sufficient, it might probably stress the tree and make it extra prone to pests and illness. This too limits your skill to do some cooking with the dried berries. 

If your pimenta is subjected to chilly and has ensuing black-tipped branches and leaves, this can be a signal chilly harm has set in. Prune the cold-damaged elements and transfer the allspice right into a climate-controlled space. 

Spread fertilizers each 5 weeks at the very least or allspice will present signs of nutrient deficiency


Although allspice doesn’t have many important pests, mealybugs, whiteflies, and aphids typically feed on the sap of leaves and plant matter. Mealybugs seem like tiny cotton balls. Aphids have pear-shaped our bodies, and whiteflies are tiny gnat-sized moths. Treat aphids and whiteflies with a powerful stream of water from a hose. Ladybugs and lacewings will eat them too. All three of those pests may be handled with neem oil spray. Do not use the spray within the flowering part, as this deters useful pollinators. 


Rust is a fungal illness that exhibits itself the underside leaves of allspice. The first signal of the illness is white lesions. They tackle a inexperienced tinge after which blacken leaves, inflicting defoliation. Prevent rust by offering correct drainage, and unfold mulch across the base of your pimenta. There isn’t any remedy for already-infected foliage, so take away any foliage with indicators of rust. Spray the rest of the tree with a copper-based fungicide to stop additional unfold.

Powdery mildew is a fungal illness that congregates on the leaves of crops in cool, moist climate. Remove affected leaves as they seem. If the leaves fall, this can be a signal the illness has progressed considerably. Prevent powdery mildew with copper fungicide sprays or neem oil.  

Bacterial crown gall causes massive plenty to kind on the base of pimenta and on the roots too. A gall on the trunk is the primary signal. Progressions of the illness could cause wilting and whole dying. There isn’t any efficient remedy for crown gall, so prevention is essential to success. Many species of established tree can reside with crown gall for fairly a while, however you have to to destroy any contaminated materials from that bacterial illness. Do not compost these supplies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Allspice berries
Allspice berries may be dried and saved for later grinding and use. Source: José Pestana

Q: Are allspice leaves edible?

A: They are! Harvest and use them as wanted. 

Q: Can I eat allspice berries?

A: Yes, however dry and grind them first.

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