Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sea Grape
Coccoloba uvifera

Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Coccoloba (koh-koh-LOW-buh) (Info)
Species: uvifera (oo-VEE-fer-uh) (Info)

11 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Coccoloba uvifera by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #2 of Coccoloba uvifera by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #3 of Coccoloba uvifera by Floridian

By Chamma
Thumbnail #4 of Coccoloba uvifera by Chamma

By Chamma
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By Thaumaturgist
Thumbnail #6 of Coccoloba uvifera by Thaumaturgist

By NativePlantFan9
Thumbnail #7 of Coccoloba uvifera by NativePlantFan9

There are a total of 24 photos.
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8 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral hangitup On Nov 1, 2014, hangitup from Cape Coral, FL wrote:

I have a sea grape within a foot of our sea wall. My husband is afraid the roots will crack the wall. Does anyone know how far away it should be planted. My tree is only 4ft tall and could be transplanted, but I like it where it is.

Positive perrya On Oct 29, 2014, perrya from Larkfield-Wikiup, CA wrote:

I have one growing in Santa Rosa, CA. located in the wine country.

Positive johnnydo On Feb 29, 2012, johnnydo from Loxahatchee, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Great tasting fruit - like grape jelly. Each fruit has a little flesh around a large seed.

Neutral TarponDeb On Jan 31, 2011, TarponDeb from Tarpon Springs, FL wrote:

Would appreciate more information regarding propagation of sea grape tree from a cutting. Such as, where is the best place to cut? How deep should the cutting be planted? Does it help to soak the cutting prior to planting? Thank you! :D

Positive vossner On Nov 9, 2009, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Love the round leaves. Mine dies to the ground but returns. In 2008 I covered it so the plant would be more advanced in the spring, and it worked. So I will continue to winter protect.

Did not survive winter of 2010 despite protection. Will not replace. This is truly a coastal plant and not worth the trouble in my garden. Still adore the round foliage but I'm trying to simplify chores, so sea grapes do not fit in my plan.

Positive LEEBLACKM3 On Jul 30, 2007, LEEBLACKM3 from Cape Coral, FL wrote:

Easy to grow and propagate this plant requires very little maintenance. The fruit, which clusters like grapes, is edible but not to everyone's taste.

Here in Southwest Florida one simply cuts off a two foot section from the top and plants the cut end in the ground. Instant new Sea Grape.

The down side is that these plants grow like crazy down here and they are messy. The leaves are large and after they turn from green to red they fly like frisbees all over the place. Considering the size, the fallen leaves can block out sun from smaller plants and strain relationships with neighbors.

Older specimens like mine have a trunk up to six inches with branches up to four inches. Keeping them trimmed down to waist or so height produces a tight cluster of leaves suitable for hedges. Letting them grow produces a 'shade tree' (or arbor if you have them planted right).

Positive jtmiller On Jul 13, 2006, jtmiller from Pasadena, TX wrote:

Was not sure it would grow in the Houston area however my plant has done fine over the past 3 years. It has even survived the freak snow we had here a year ago near christmas. Each winter is has died back but only about a foot from the tips and this year actually produced fruit! Near my pool it adds an awesome tropical feel!

Positive punaheledp On Aug 1, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

Growing up, our neighbor had large tree right by the seawall, which provided some much appreciated shade. The fruit was tart making good jelly. It propogated easily, always lots of seedling sprouting up, which, I suppose could become invasive if not kept after, and the seeds were most unpleasant on bare feet in the pathway.

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Jul 31, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Sea Grape is one of the best native plants in South Florida. It is very easy to grow, requires little water as it grows naturally in the wild, provides food and shelter for wildlife, and is very attractive with lush foilage. It is native and grows naturally along the beaches on coastal dunes and in the tropical hardwood hammocks of coastal central and southern Florida from Cape Canaveral and St. Augustine as well as Tampa Bay southward throughout the Keys. It is very salt-tolerant and extremely hardy, as it grows exposed on the dunes along the coast to harsh winds and strong hurricanes. It's berries provide food for native wildlife and it's leaves and branches provide shelter for people and wildlife. I have a young, about 4-feet-tall sea grape in my backyard and it is growing very well, even though I don't water it at all! It grows very quickly and is getting lots of new leaves, which are reddish-orange when brand new or freshly sprouted from the branch. It can tolerate a wide range of soils and even grow far inland (but not as far west as the Everglades!). I'd recommend this plant very much for your yard, and if you have a wildlife or native plant garden, this plant is exceptional!

MORE INFORMATION - The sea grape is actually a tree that can grow up to 40 feet tall but can be maintained as a hedge as long as it's trimmed frequently or cut back. The plant often forms ridges on coastal dunes, highest on the top of the dune, then shrinking in size as it extends down the dune toward the sea and shoreline. It is found in zones 9, 10a, 10b, 11 and below.

Positive suncatcheracres On Nov 19, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

One sees this plant everywhere on the long barrier islands off of St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Pinellas County, Florida. The barrier islands are mostly overdeveloped, and you can only see the beach behind the multi-story condos, hotels and restaurants from the minuscule public access parks, where you have to run back and put a quarter into the parking meters every few minutes.

So this plant is a good choice for this commercial area, as the plants are pretty low maintenance, and can grow to great size--up to 30 feet, but usually kept lower--as they provide some greenery, along with the palm trees, in an otherwise sea of concrete and asphalt.

I've also seen sea grape used in back yards in St. Petersburg--along alleyways to hide parked cars and garbage cans, and as part of dense, low-maintenance, evergreen shrub borders, where the plants help provide privacy for small back yards in the most densely populated place in Florida. In these types of areas the large, fleshy, maybe even coarse looking leaves, and huge size of the plant are attractive, but I wouldn't plant one in a flower bed with prized sub-tropical and tropical plants.

Neutral Monocromatico On Nov 18, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is a common plant in Rio de Janeiro, mostly planted along the oceanic avenues.

I like the reddish veins on some leaves, but besides it, I dont find it so atractive. There are prettier trees that could be planted on their place. And Ive seen a lot of them in trouble with aphids.

Neutral Floridian On Sep 5, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

The Sea Grape, native to the sandy seashores of tropical America, usually forms a low shrub but may be a spreading tree 30 to 35 feet (10 m) in height. The stiff, roundish leaves may measure 8 by 7 inches (20 by 17.5 cm) and have prominent, reddish veins. The attractive appearance of the leaves on the flexuous branches and the resistance of the plant to damage by salt make it valuable as an ornamental for oceanside homes. Small white flowers are produced on slender, hanging racemes 4 to 10 inches long (10 to 25 cm).As many as 40 or 50 fruits may be found on a single cluster, giving the appearance of a bunch of grapes.
The velvety fruits are globose to pear-shaped, about 3/4 of an inch long (2 cm), and range from dark purple, to purple, to occasionally off white. The edible pulp surrounds a globular seed with a short sharp point on the top. The pulp is sweetish-acid in flavor and is eaten out of hand or is used to make an excellent jelly.The sea grape can be readily propagated by seeds and by cuttings of ripe wood.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona
Larkfield-wikiup, California
Loma Linda, California
San Diego, California
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Largo, Florida (2 reports)
Loxahatchee, Florida
Miami, Florida
Naples, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Palm Bay, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
Wauchula, Florida
Hilo, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Houston, Texas
Pasadena, Texas
Rockport, Texas

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