Florida’s climate is special and because of it has the ability to grow a wide variety of fruit trees.
What tropical fruit trees grow the best in Florida? Avocados, Papayas, Figs, Star fruit, Sugar Apple, Peaches, Mulberries, Pomegranate, Coconut, Mangos, Lychee, Longan, Jackfruit, Citrus, Dragon Fruit Cactus, Soursop, Guava, Bananas all grow very well in Florida.
Florida has a tropical and subtropical climate. Northern parts of Florida are much colder during certain times of the years – while South Florida experiences a humid climate most of the year.
Because of the difference in climates North and South of Florida, diffrent fruit may be easier to grow depending on where you are located in Florida.
Fruit Trees That Grow The Best In Florida
Papaya Trees in Florida
Papaya is a fast-growing Florida fruit that has a tasting characteristic very sweet and texture of a cantaloupe.
This fruit tree is a very easy and fun tree to grow due to its beautiful flowers, tasty fruit, and its appearance.
It is important to provide these plants with plenty of water and sun as they are heavy feeders and love nutrients.
Papayas grow well in South Florida and Central Florida as well but can be damaged by light frosts of Northern Florida.
Papayas are large trees and can reach about 8-15 feet tall while producing for about 4 years on average. After that, the fruit production of the tree begins to decline.
The papaya tree can come in three sexes, Male, Female, or bisexual (both male & female). When the female plant bears the flower she needs a male pollinator, so planting more than one Papaya is recommended.
If you purchase papaya from a nursery they will more than likely provide you with a bisexual Papaya that is capable of pollinating itself.
Avocado Trees In Florida
Avocados love the warm Florida weather. Grown easily in central and south Florida the avocado tree might be more difficult to grow up north.
Avocado trees can get very big – up to 60 feet tall depending on which type of Avocado you plant.
Some Florida types of avocado are the Bermicker, Brogdon, Choquette, Day, Hall, Hass, Lula, Marcus Pumpkin, Mexicola, Monroe, Pollack, Russell, Simmonds, and Winter.
If you are planning to plant an Avocado up north, we recommend a variety that can withstand colder temperatures up to 20-30 F such as the Brogdon, Choquette, Day, Mexicola and Winter have a much higher cold tolerance than the others.
It is recommended to prune these trees often because of their ability to grow tall and large.
Carambola (Star Fruit) Trees In Florida
Carambola or star fruit is a sweet fruit grown in Florida. Its starlike appearance when cut into slices gives its name ‘Star fruit’.
The carambola tree can be a large tree reaching from 22 – 33 feet at its final height.
The carambola tree loves warm weather. Growing them in central and south Florida is no problem – but northern Florida may need to be cautious with this tree.
The best temperature to grow Carambola (star fruit) in Florida is 68-95 F. Temperatures as low as 27-29 F is enough to kill a young Carambola tree so it growing it up north would require a heating element for the colder months.
Some popular varities of Carambola grown in Florida are the Arkin, Fwang Tung, Kajang, Kary, Lara, and Sri Kembar.
Star Fruit is a delicious fruit and nutritious and is recommended in every Florida food garden.
Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa) Trees In Florida
Sugar apple is a tropical fruit tree that bears a delicious creamy custard tasting fruit with a taste similar to soursop. It grows very well in warm climates such but struggles in colder temperatures – often losing all of its leaves during winter.
The sugar apple tree can grow up to 15 to 20 feet and spread out, proper pruning is encouraged in Florida.
The sugar apple flowers emerge mid to late spring as trees flourish in new vegetative growth.
In Florida generally, two types of sugar apple are sold in nurseries. The more common green sugar apple the Thai Lessard, and the red colored sugar apple variety Kampong Mauve.
Optimal growing temperatures for sugar apple or Annona squamosa in Florida ranges from 73 to 94 F. Sugar apple trees can face death if temperatures reach below 30 – 32 F.
The fruit of the sugar apple can be round, oval, or heart-shaped and has many seeds.
Peach Trees In Florida
Peaches up until recently were very difficult due to peaches needing a certain amount of chill hours to produce fruit. Typically peaches will grow better in northern parts of Florida such as Tallahassee but in recent times newer varieties have made there way to southern Florida gardens that are adapted to more warmer environments – requiring much fewer chill hours.
It is important to select a variety of peach with low chill hours such as Florida Crest, Florida Dawn, Florida Glo, Florida Prince, Sunbest, UF Gem, UF Sun, UF 2000, UF Best and UF Gold as they are all common Floridan varieties that need low chill hours.
What are chill hours?
Chill hours are the number of hours during the night when it gets cold. Peaches need a certain amount of those cold night hours between 32 F – 45 F for their fruit to become perfect.
Here are the chill hours required for some of the Floridan variety peaches
- UF Best: 100 chill hours
- Florda Grande: 100 chill hours
- UF Gem: 175 chill hours
- Florida Crest: 350 chill hours
- Floridaglo: 150 chill hours
- Florida Prince: 150 chill hours
- UF Gold: 200 chill hours
- UF 2000: 300 chill hours
Mulberry Trees In Florida
The mulberry tree in Florida produces a fruit that once ripe – has a similar appearance to a blackberry. The berry starts off green on the tree, then turning to a red color, then finally black once ripe.
Native Florida Mulberry is red/black but there is another variety that is grown in Florida as well that is of a white variety.
The mulberry tree thrives in the sandy soils of Florida, making it an excellent choice to include in your garden.
Did you know the mulberry plant family (Moraceae) is in the same family as figs, jackfruit, and breadfruit?
This fruit tree produces an abundance amount of berries plenty for the whole family.
Pomegranate Trees In Florida
The pomegranate in Florida can be somewhat tricky to grow. Due to Florida’s tropical climate. The pomegranate fruit prefers a Mediterranean climate over a tropical one – but still can grow in Florida.
The pomegranate tree is a bushy, often thorny shrub that dark green skinny leaves that cover its branches. It is recommended to trim the tree to maintain it at your desired height. Pomegranate trees also produce suckers around the crown or base or the trunk. Commercial growers remove the suckers to allow maximum growth to the pomegranate.
Its flowers are considered ornamental as they produce a beautiful orange-red flower. The flowers of a pomegranate are usually self-pollinated
Coconut Palm Trees In Florida
Growing a coconut tree in Florida can be very rewarding. In Florida, coconut trees grow excellent and are widespread throughout the tropics.
The coconut palm is the most important palm and has thousands of uses worldwide. Practically every part of this tree can be used in almost every industry. Its most important feature is the fruit – which is loved for its water and flesh.
The coconut palm tree starts producing fruit 6 – 10 years after the seed germinates and also reaches its full production 15- 20 years of age. It usually produces around 50-200 coconut fruit per tree.
The Malayan Dwarf Palm and the hybrid Maypan Palm have been widely planted in Florida because of their reported resistance to LY, a fatal disease of coconut palms in Florida
and in parts of the Caribbean region.
The coconut palm tree is usually found along tropical, sandy shorelines since it can tolerate brackish soils and salt spray. However, salt is not required for the growth of healthy coconut palms, which can be successfully grown well inland.
The coconut palm in Florida gives a tropical effect to the Florida landscape and provides fruit for home use.
Mango Trees In Florida
Mango trees grow very well in Florida. Mangos around the world are recognized for their sweet-tasting fruit compared to no other. There are endless uses for this delicious fruit.
Mangos are adapted to a tropical, subtropical climate and warmer temperature areas that do not experience freezing
In South Florida mangos are grown commercially – and typically the mango tree is found alongside yards in South Florida.
Mangos come in diffrent sizes and shapes but nearly most of them have an oval/oblong shape with colors ranging from yellow, green, red, orange and even purple.
Lychee Trees In Florida
Lychee is a subtropical fruit tree that grows excellent in central and southern parts of Florida.
Lychee trees can grow up to 40 ft in height and can be very ornamental in their shape and leaf design. The fruit of lychee is jelly clear like with a leathery red outside shell when fully ripened.
Lychee flowers are pollinated by bees and the wind. Typically one isolated lychee tree on a property will produce an acceptable amount of fruit alone – but gardeners have said to experience more fruit when cross-pollinated by having more than one lychee tree in the garden.
Young lychee trees can be damaged by temperatures as low as 28 F to 32 F and can even be killed by colder temperatures ranging from 24 F to 25 F.
Longan Trees In Florida
Longan is a subtropical tree that grows very well in Florida’s climate.
Longan trees produce fruit that is very similar in characteristics to lychee – being in the same family (Sapindaceae).
Its fruit is a small circular jelly-clear fruit with a leathery light brown coat. The fruit is very sweet and has a seed in the middle.
The Longan tree in Florida can grow up to 30 ft – 40 ft and is recommended to prune to keep to manageable height to pick the fruit.
Longan tree are less cold-resistant than lychees. Longans can be damaged by cold temperatures in Florida as low as 29 to 31 and can even be killed from temperatures as cold as 26 to 28. Older longan trees will be able to withstand colder temperatures.
Jackfruit Trees In Florida
The jackfruit tree in Florida is a large tree growing 30 ft – 40 ft. Jackfruit is the world’s largest fruit and once seen it cannot be forgotten.
In the Florida landscape, the jackfruit makes an excellent choice for its vitamin-packed fruit and sweet taste that’s unlike no other fruit.
Jackfruit when fully ripen can weigh anywhere for 10 – 60lbs. That’s a whole lot of fruit!
The Jackfruit tree is adapted to Florida’s hot tropical climate. For the best growth, warm areas are preferred by jackfruit.