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How to Grow Indian Gooseberry From Seed: Growing Indian Gooseberry In Pot

Learn how to grow Indian gooseberry from seed easily and how to take care for Amla tree. You can grow Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica, amla) even from frozen gooseberries in containers. 

The Indian gooseberry is native to India and the Middle East, it can grow in USDA Zones 9 to 11. It is a is a deciduous tree of the family Phyllanthaceae. 

Indian Gooseberry Tree
Indian Gooseberry Tree with Fruit

Indian gooseberry is also known as Amla, Amla Berry, Amalaki, Amblabaum, Aonla, Aovla, Arbre de Malacca, Emblica, Emblica officinalis, Groseille à Maquereau Indienne, Groseille Indienne, Groseillier de Ceylan, Grosella de la India, etc.

Amala can be grown from seeds, air layering or budding. You can buy a grafted tree from a nursery. Indian gooseberry is commonly propagated from seeds, however, seed grown gooseberry tree may start bearing fruit in 3-4 years. 

Growing Indian Gooseberries From Seeds

  1. Cut the amla fruit and remove the pit. Crack open the pit take out the seeds, which are reddish-brown pointed. Discard any discolored seeds.
  2. Soak the seeds in water overnight. Discard the floating seeds, these are not viable.
  3. You can directly sow the seeds, about half a cm deep in free-draining soil.

How to Germinate Frozen Amla Seeds

  1. I started from seeds taken out from frozen Indian gooseberries bought from a grocery store. The seeds should be first brought to room temperature, and then soak them overnight.
  2. Wrap the seeds in a damp kitchen towel and seal it in a Ziploc bag. Place the bag in shade at a warm place. I started in mid winter in Sydney, Australia, so I placed the bag indoors in a warm room. The seeds started germination in 4 weeks depending on the temperature. I continued the seeds in the bag for another 4 weeks ad then in early Spring I sowed the seeds in soil. The seedlings appeared in one week.
  3. Place pot in bright shade at a warm place and keep the soil damp, but not soggy at all times.
  4. The seedlings will appear in 1-3 weeks depending on climate.
  5. Keep the Indian gooseberry seedlings in bright shade shade for their first summer. Water them normally.

How to grow Indian Gooseberries in Pots?

  1. You can grow amla in containers. Choose a pot that is quite wide and deep. You can start with a small pot and transfer the plant to a pot of higher size when the plant roots appear from the bottom holes. Do not allow plants to become root bound.
  2. Use a free-draining fertile soil in the pot.
  3. Keep the plant in bright shade during the first year and shift it to direct sun light from its next year of summer.
  4. Water regularly when the plant is young, water daily in hot summer. Do not over-water or avoid plant standing in water in saucer.
  5. You can put the pot outdoor in frost-free areas but keep it inside the house.

How To Take Care for Indian Gooseberry Tree

You can grow Indian gooseberry tree in a container or garden bed successfully if you take care of your amla plant as mentioned below.

Position: Where to Plant Indian Gooseberry

Amla tree needs a sunny position. It can tolerate extreme heat and dry climate, and winter months including mild snowfall. However, young Indian gooseberry tree is sensitive to frost and prolonged freezing temperatures. But the mature trees can tolerate high temperature up to 46°C and freezing temperature also.

Soil For  Indian Gooseberry plant

Indian gooseberry plant needs a nutrition rich and well drained slightly acidic soil. If you soil is clay-rich then add some river sand or perlite in the soil to make it free-draining. Add lots of organic manure or compost to make it high in nutrition.

Watering for growing Amla at Home

  1. When the plant is young, water it regularly. 
  2. Regular and abundant watering is essential at the young age. Once the tree gets established, it doesn’t require regular and frequent watering. However, you can water the plant during the period of active growth or in a drought like conditions in summer. Watering 2-3 times in a month in summer is sufficient for a mature tree.
  3. Reduce water during the winter and fall.

Pruning of Indian Gooseberry Tree

  1. Indian Gooseberry plant can be pruned when it is quite young to promote new branches and make it bushy.
  2. Prune all the damaged, diseased and dead branches. 
  3. Prune branches which are crossing to each other. Keep only 4-5 healthy branches.
  4. Prune the tips in winter to encourage growth.
  5. Hard prune the tree in early Spring to rejuvenate it. 

Fertilizer For Indian Gooseberry Tree

  1. You can add lots of compost or aged manure before spring.
  2. You can apply fruit and citrus fertilizer during the growing period. The fertilizer should also contain nitrogen.

Mulching

Apply a thick layer of organic mulch to retain moisture in the soil and prevent weeds .

Pests and Diseases

  1. Diseases and pests are very rare in Indian Gooseberry.
  2. Spray a dilute solution of neem oil periodically to prevent pests like caterpillars, mealybugs or other general pests.

Indian Gooseberry Flowers and Harvesting of Amla Fruit

  1. The Indian Gooseberry tree can bear fruit in three to four years. 
  2. In the beginning, The young fruit is light green, and turns green to yellow as it matures. 
  3. Mature fruits are hard and glossy, they do not fall from shaking the tree. Use a ladder or a long bamboo with a hook to harvest the Amla fruit.