Best tropical fruit tree fertilizers for tropical fruit trees

Best tropical fruit tree fertilizers for tropical fruit trees

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There is no better feeling than biting into that sweet, juicy tropical fruit after watching it grow all season. The benefits of growing fruit trees and providing them with all the nutrients are the responsibility of every tropical fruit grower to reap an abundant and sweet harvest.

Growing tropical fruit trees in Florida and the rest of the USA can be challenging because tropical trees naturally in their native environment lack a nutrient-rich environment. 

Because of this, fruit trees require the supplementation of nutrients in the form of fertilizer to produce flavorful fruits with plenty of fruits to harvest. Let’s look at some of the best tropical fruit trees on the market.

Rollinia (Annona deliciosa) fruit grown in Florida with Osmocote + 15-9-12

The best tropical fruit tree fertilizers for tropical fruit trees

The best fertilizer for tropical fruit trees is Osmocote 15-9-12 for fruit trees such as sugar apple, atemoya, tamarind, soursop, rollinia, mamey sapote, and more.

Sale
Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor, 8 lb.
  • OSMOCOTE QUALITY: Osmocote is the original slow-release plant food. Decades of rigorous field testing confirm product effectiveness with hundreds of plant species in a variety of climate and soil conditions.
  • OSMOCOTE’S BEST FORMULA: Each homogeneous granule contains 15-9-12 NPK plus micro and secondary nutrients and feeds up to 6 full months.
  • OSMOCOTE’S SECRET: Soil temperature controls how Osmocote releases its nutrients, and more importantly how nutrients are taken up by the plant. Replenishment and feeding are in natural harmony.
  • OSMOCOTE’S DIRECTIONS FOR USE: 1 pound of Osmocote covers 37.5 sq. ft. (approx. 6’ x 6’). Works best when mixed into 1 – 3 inches of soil. Package includes applicator. In containers, mix 1 pound with 19 gallons of potting soil.
  • OSMOCOTE IS MISTAKE-PROOF: Even if over-applied up to 3x the recommended rate, Osmocote does not ‘burn’ the plant.
Sale
Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Flower & Vegetable, 8 lb.
  • OSMOCOTE’S HIGHEST TOTAL NUTRIENT FORMULA: NPK = 14-14-14. Favored for seasonal vegetables and perennials. Promotes strong roots as well as vigorous and bountiful above-ground growth.
  • OSMOCOTE’S DIRECTIONS FOR USE: 1 lb. covers 40 sq. ft. (approx. 6½’ x 6½’). Mix into 1 – 3” of soil. Applicator included. Apply to vegetable gardens and mulched areas around ornamental trees / shrubs, and raised beds.
  • OSMOCOTE QUALITY: Osmocote is the original slow-release plant food. Decades of rigorous field testing confirm product effectiveness with hundreds of plant species in a variety of climate and soil conditions.
  • OSMOCOTE’S SECRET: Soil temperature controls how Osmocote releases its nutrients, and importantly how nutrients are taken up by the plant. Replenishment and feeding are in natural harmony.
  • OSMOCOTE IS MISTAKE-PROOF: Even if over-applied up to 3x the recommended rate, Osmocote does not ‘burn’ the plant.
Osmocote Fertilizer 15-9-12, Slow Release 3 - 4 Months, 50lbs. Bag
  • Composed of water soluble nutrients - Granular formula is coated with a film of plastic resin

The best fertilizer for tropical fruit seedlings is Osmocote 14-14-14 for a wide range of tropical fruit seedlings such as mamey sapote, custard apple, citrus trees, sugar apple, jackfruit, mango, tamarind, and more.

Slow-release granular fertilizer for tropical fruit trees

Slow-release fertilizers are resin-coated granular with controlled releasing properties that, over time, release nutrients at the right stage and time at each growing cycle of a fruit tree.

It is essential when using slow-release fertilizer for fruit trees to use proper growing media, sunlight, temperature, and irrigation to have the best results for your fruit trees.

The best slow-release fruit tree fertilizer is Osmocote plus 15-9-12 for young to mature fruit trees and Osmocote 14-14-14 for young fruit trees to be well nourished while growing.

Sugar apples (Annona squamosa) growing in Florida with
Osmocote 14-14-14

Foliar Sprays for tropical fruit trees

Foliar sprays for tropical fruit trees are an excellent way to get a great supplement of nutrients for them to grow optimally.

Tropical fruit trees can absorb nutrients through their leaves. Foliar sprays provide tropical fruit trees with an extra boost of energy that will make them grow faster, flower faster, produce higher quality fruit, and overall make the fruit tree healthier and resistant to pests and disease.

Foliar spray applications are an excellent way to boost your fruit trees’ health and be a better overall fruit tree grower.

If your tropical fruit tree leaves turn yellow, a foliar application of chelated iron will correct its yellowing back to vibrant green color. I face this all the time when my sugar apple (Annona squamosa) trees get yellow leaves, I spray chelated iron, and within minutes you can see trees greening back up again.

Southern Ag Chelated Liquid Iron, 1 Gallon
  • 1 Gallon Jug
  • Corrects Iron deficiency in flowers, vegetables, shrubs & trees.
  • Also, use in the lawns for a deep, rich green color.
  • Contains Iron 5%.
MicroLife Super Seaweed Professional Grade Organic Liquid Concentrate Root Stimulator & Foliar Nutritional Spray for All Plants, 1 Gallon
  • IMPROVES ALL PLANTS AND SOILS: will provide great color to plants and make all plants more resistant to stress

Root Drenches for tropical fruit trees.

Tropical fruit trees that have slow growth can benefit from a root drench. When the root zone of a tropical fruit tree absorbs nutrients, it can help it grow faster and produce more green growth.

Young and mature fruit trees can benefit from nutrients drenching the tree’s root zone.

Root drenches work best with container plants where the root development is more compacted, and the nutrients can be better absorbed.

Fruit tree fertilizer spikes

Fruit tree fertilizer spikes are an easy and fast solution for adding nutrients that are quickly absorbed.

Applying fertilizer spikes is easy. You have to pierce the sticks alongside the drip line of the fruit tree.

Fertilizer spikes for tropical fruit typically provide a lighter application of nutrients for fruit trees compared to other slow-release fertilizers such as Osmocote.

Jobe’s Organics 01213, Tree Spikes, for Fruit and Nuts, 8 Spikes
  • Pre-measured evergreen fertilizer Spikes nourishes at the roots; time release fertilizer for all fruit and citrus trees
  • Easy to use fertilizer Spikes; no wasteful runoff, no mess, hazards or smells
  • Continuous supply of nutrients below the surface, where the active roots are growing

Organic Compost

Compost is one of the popular ways to fertilize tropical fruit trees as it provides a load of nutrients directly to the root zone.

To apply compost, just layer it on top of your soil around the base of the trunk.

Tropical fruit trees such as sugar apple, atemoya, mamey, june plum, hog plum, rollinia, lychee, longan, jackfruit, chempejack, and more benefit greatly from organic compost. A healthier harvest is ensured when organic compost is used in the garden.

Guava fruit ready to harvest grown with organic compost.
Wakefield Compost Hero Biochar Blend – Premium Aged Organic Compost with Mycorrhizal Fungi, Blended with 100% Bio Char (Horticultural Charcoal, Activated Charcoal for Plants) - 1 Gallon (4.2 pounds)
  • GROW BETTER, HEALTHIER PLANTS – Wakefield BioChar helps soil get the right balance of water and nutrients, so potting soil, compost, fertilizers, soil amendments, and soil conditioners work better with less.
  • REDUCE CO2 – Contains 80% natural compost and 20% biochar. The biochar in Compost Hero decreases greenhouse gasses by returning carbon to the soil. Biochar is safe and healthy for outdoor gardens, raised beds, raised garden beds, lawn soil, and vegetable garden soils.
  • USE LESS WATER - Biochar enhances soil and nutrients for more efficient use of water, more microbial activity, and better growing results. Perfect for all lawns, gardens, flowers, shrubs, trees, and indoor plants.
  • 100% ORGANIC MATERIALS – Wakefield Compost Hero is an organic, carbon-based soil amendment made from untreated, all-natural wood feedstock, with naturally occurring mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria. Perfect for organic gardening.
  • ACTIVATED CHARCOAL FOR PLANTS – Biochar increases plant growth and leads to lush, nutrient-rich plants that need less water and fertilizer. Sustainable biochar (activated charcoal for plants, or horticultural charcoal) provides healthier soil and plants for generations.

Organic fertilizers for tropical fruit trees

Organic fertilizers are a great way to stay organic in your tropical fruit garden when growing fruit.

Organic fertilizer for fruit trees typically comes in powder form and is usually faster absorbing than a slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote.

Dr. Earth 736P Life Organic All Purpose Fertilizer In Poly Bag, 4-Pound
  • Certified organic
  • Safe and natural
  • Easy to use homogenous pellets
  • Infused with beneficial microbes
  • For all planting uses

The types of different fruit tree fertilizers

There are many fruit tree fertilizers on the market. Still, many marketed are for stone fruit trees such as apples, peaches, pears, cherries, and fruit growing up north – not tropical fruits such as atemoya, cecropia, mamey, cempejack, sapodilla, and more.

Tropical fruit tree fertilizers supply fruit trees with that extra boost of nutrients they are used to receiving in their native environment where nutrients are abundant.

There are many fertilizer options for tropical fruit trees to choose from. Still, if I were to recommend a slow-release fertilizer with additional micronutrients such as boron (B), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), and copper (Cu), I would recommend Osmocote. 

Osmocote plus 15-9-12 is an excellent fertilizer for tropical fruit trees that provides micronutrients and macronutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium N-P-K.

Avocado growing in Florida with Osmocote plus 15-9-12.

Slow-release fertilizes

Slow-release fertilizers are one of the best solutions for fertilizing a tropical fruit tree.

For established fruit trees or new fruit trees in the ground, slow-release fertilizers provide a steady flow of nutrients as long as the tree is given sufficient water and sunlight and planted in a well-draining growing media.

Some of the best slow-release tropical fruit tree fertilizers on the market are Osmocote plus + fertilizers. They don’t burn your fruit trees while providing a continuous source of nutrition all season.

Foliar spray fertilizer

Foliar sprays are an excellent way to provide your tropical fruit trees with a source of nutrients they would not have received otherwise.

Foliar sprays allow tropical fruit trees to absorb nutrients through their leaves, stem, and bark to better supply nutrients to their plant cell system.

Foliar applications, in combination with regular granular fertilization, provide a boost of nutrients that will ensure your fruit trees are the healthiest they can be.

By using both foliar and granular fertilizers, your tropical fruit trees will produce giant foliage as well as produce big fruit as well.

Purple sugar apple (Annona squamosa) growing in Florida.

Liquid fertilizers

Liquid fertilizers provide immediate nutrients when applied directly to the root zone of a tropical fruit tree.

Water your trees thoroughly before applying liquid fertilizer so the rootzone can readily absorb more nutrients.

Powder fertilizers

Powder fertilizers typically come in a more organic form of fertilizer. 

Fertilizer that comes in a powder form can be spread evenly around the drip line of the fruit tree.

Powder fertilizers are faster absorbing and get absorbed by the fruit tree’s roots when water is applied.

Fruit Tree Fertilizer Spikes

Fruit tree fertilizer spikes are a popular solution when selecting a tropical fruit tree fertilizer.

Fruit tree fertilizer spikes, compared to traditional fertilizers, provide a simple way to apply fertilizer around the bases of your fruit trees.

Some fruit tree fertilizer spikes will claim to be slow release, but the cheaper the fertilizer, the less the fertilizer lasts. I suggest using higher-rated slow-release fertilizers such as Osmocote plus or Florikan.

Organic fruit tree fertilizers vs. Synthetic fertilizers for fruit trees

Both organic and synthetic fruit tree fertilizers play an essential role in growing tropical fruit trees. 

You may prefer one method over the other, but when both are applied effectively, your tropical fruit trees will have beautiful foliage, more flowers, and tasty fruits.

Organic fertilizers provide a way for gardeners to be sustainable while controlling what goes directly into the fruit they grow. 

Organic fertilizers come in many forms, such as kelp meal, blood meal, alfalfa meal, bone meal, feather meal, and processed manure.

Synthetic or inorganic fertilizers provide a guaranteed balanced source of nutrition for the tropical fruit tree.

Synthetic fertilizers like Osmocote + provide essential nutrients for fruit trees and a steady flow of nutrients throughout the growing season.

When fertilizing fruit trees, it is vital not to over-fertilize as you can damage the root system of the trees by over-fertilizing them.

Florida fruits are abundant in the summer months with Zill designer mangos and sugar apples.

The N-P-K Ratio for Fruit Trees

N-P-K stands for Nitrogen, Potassium, and Calcium. The N stands for Nitrogen, P stands for Potassium, and K stands for calcium. These three nutrients are essential nutrients for topical fruit trees to grow.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen will make tropical fruit trees produce more foliage and leaves. It promotes the growth of the fruit tree.

Potassium

Potassium will help the fruit tree transfer nutrients such as water and carbohydrates throughout the tree’s cell system.

Calcium

Calcium will help a tropical fruit tree grow strong growth and produce new nodes.

A calcium deficiency in a tropical fruit tree produces new growth that looks stunted, with brown or black discoloration on the tips, or appears malnourished.

Fruit trees need different fertilizers depending on the type of fruit tree and their nutrient requirements. 

Knowing which type of fertilizer to use for each variety will ensure that your trees produce delicious fruits yearly.

Choose the Best Kind of Fertilizer.

Gardeners use three main fertilizers: organic, chemical, and synthetic. 

Organic fertilizers come from natural sources such as manure, compost, and other plant materials. They contain nutrients that plants need to thrive. 

Chemical fertilizers come from minerals mined from the earth. Synthetic fertilizers are synthetic chemicals designed to mimic the effects of natural fertilizers.

Seashore mangosteen growing in Florida.

Tropical Fruit Tree Fertilizer Review

Osmcotote 15-9-12

Pros: Slow-releasing fertilizer for fruit trees, fertilizer contains other macronutrients, Long lasting

Cons: Price can be expensive

Omsocote slow release 14-14-14

Pros: Great for starting tropical fruit seedlings, it Provides a comprehensive source of nutrients.

Cons: On the higher price tag range

Southern Ag Chelated Liquid Iron

Pros: Turns yellow tropical fruit plant leaves to green, Provides macronutrients

Cons: Backpack sprayer required, Have to mix the solution

Ma’fala breadfruit grown with Osmocote +
15-9-12

MicroLife Super Seaweed Professional Grade Organic Liquid Concentrate Root Stimulator & Foliar Nutritional Spray

Pros: Excellent source to provide over 100+ minerals, vitamins, and natural plant hormones, can also be used as a root drench

Cons: backpack gallon sprayer or gallon sprayer required to spray

FoxFarm Liquid Nutrient Trio Soil Formula: Big Bloom, Grow Big, Tiger Bloom

Pros: Provides essential nutrients during all cycles of tropical fruit tree growing cycle, ideal for all stages of flower to fruit set

Cons: May burn plants if too much is utilized during one application

Jobe’s Organics 01213, Tree Spikes, for Fruit and Nuts

Pros: Easy to use, virtually no runoff, organic fertilizer,

Cons: Spike can break while placed in soil and can be on the pricier side

Wakefield Compost Hero Biochar Blend – Premium Aged Organic Compost with Mycorrhizal Fungi, Blended with 100% Bio Char

Pros: Great for top-dressing tropical fruit trees, great value for the money, contains beneficial Mycorrhizal Fungi.

Cons: It might have an organic smell

Jackfruit tree growing in Fruit and Spice Park with Garden Florida standing next to it.

Earth 736P Life Organic All Purpose Fertilizer In Poly Bag, 4-Pound

Pros: certified organic fertilizer, safe and natural, infused with beneficial microbes

Cons: Contains organic smell that might be off-putting to some

When do you fertilize tropical fruit trees?

Tropical fruit trees need to be fertilized in the early spring months just as they are beginning to wake up and grow new growth and flowers. 

Every 3-4 months after your first initial fertilization in early spring, it is suggested to fertilize your fruit trees.

Different fertilizers will feed your tropical fruit tree at other times of the growing season. 

Fertilizers are to be applied three to four times a season. The fruit tree may need multiple applications depending on the tree’s growing cycle.

Fertilizers like Osmocote provide long-lasting nutrients that are released slowly. They are known as ‘slow-release’ fertilizers.

On the other hand, some fertilizers are more instant in providing nutrients all at once rather than spread out over some time. 

Instant fertilizers work great, but too much may provide too many nutrients to the root zone of the fruit tree and could cause burn damage to the plant.

A slow-release fertilizer is recommended when growing tropical fruit trees like sugar apple, mamey, longan, and other tropical fruit trees. It is the growing standard as it provides essential nutrients for the fruit all season.

Tropical fruit trees require more nutrients than most other plants if you want to have an abundant and healthy harvest. By providing vital nutrients with slow-release fertilizers, your fruit trees have a better chance of growing to their maximum potential.

If you fertilize your tropical fruit trees in the spring and every 3 – 4 months after that, it will help your fruit tree grow much more vital and produce more during its growing season.

When to fertilize sugar apple trees

Sugar apple (Annona squamosa) trees must be fertilized in early spring (March). The sugar apple will begin to bud out with new green growth and flowers as it emerges from dormancy.

Sugar apples (Annona squamosa) growing in Florida

A slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote + 15-9-12 is recommended for fertilizing sugar apple trees in the early spring and every 3-4 months until winter.

When to fertilize atemoya trees

Atemoya (Annona atemoya) trees must be fertilized in early spring (March). The atemoya will begin to bud out with new green growth and flowers as it emerges from dormancy.

A slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote + 15-9-12 is recommended for fertilizing atemoya trees in the early spring and every 3-4 months until winter.

When to fertilize longan trees

Longan (Dimocarpus longan) trees must be fertilized in the early spring (March).

A slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote + 15-9-12 is recommended for fertilizing longan trees in the early spring and every 3-4 months until winter.

When to fertilize lychee trees

Lychee or Litchi (Litchi chinensis) trees must be fertilized in early spring (March).

A slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote + 15-9-12 is recommended for fertilizing lychee trees in the early spring and every 3-4 months until winter.

When to fertilize the breadfruit tree

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) trees must be fertilized in early spring (March). They wake up from Florida dormancy and require extra nutrients such as a foliar spray or root drench.

A slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote + 15-9-12 is recommended for fertilizing breadfruit trees in the early spring and every 3-4 months until winter.

When to fertilize jackfruit trees

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) trees must be fertilized in early spring (March).

A slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote + 15-9-12 is recommended for fertilizing jackfruit trees in the early spring and every 3-4 months until winter.

When to fertilize dragon fruit trees

Dragon fruit (Selenicereus undatus) must be fertilized in early spring (March).

A slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote + 15-9-12 is recommended for fertilizing sugar apple trees in the early spring and every 3-4 months until winter.

When to fertilize Indian or Thai jujube fruit trees

Indian Jujube (Ziziphus mauritiana) needs to be fertilized in the early spring (March).

A slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote + 15-9-12 is recommended for fertilizing sugar apple trees in the early spring and every 3-4 months until winter.

When to fertilize fruit trees in pots

Fruit trees in pots generally follow the same fertilizing schedule as those fruit trees in the ground. 

Early springtime (March) is the best time to first fertilize fruit trees in pots and every 3-4 months after your first initial fertilization until winter.

A general rule of thumb is to use less fertilizer for fruit trees in pots than in the ground, as the nutrients will be more concentrated and may damage the root development if too much is used.

When to fertilize fruit trees that are in the ground

Fruit trees that are planted in the ground start to wake up at the start of March or early springtime.

It is essential to keep a fertilization schedule for fruit trees as they require more than one fertilizer feeding for the growing season.

Coconut palm growing in Florida with fertilizer

Feeding your tropical fruit trees every three to four months after their first initial feeding in the springtime is recommended.

Providing the proper nutrients for fruit trees

the tree has a much higher chance of flowering, setting fruit, and producing an abundant crop for you to enjoy.

When to fertilize fruit tree seedlings

It is recommended to wait at least three months after a fruit tree seedling has sprouted before applying fertilizer.

When applying fertilizer to fruit tree seedlings, it is recommended to apply a balanced N-P-K ratio, such as 4-4-4 or 14-14-14 as this will give the sapling a well-balanced proportion of nutrients that will help it grow fast and strong.

When to fertilize newly planted fruit trees

Newly planted tropical fruit trees need to be fertilized as soon as they are planted.

Cecropia peltata growing in Florida with Osmocote plus 15-9-12

Fertilizing newly planted fruit trees and providing adequate water for the next weeks will allow the roots to develop and anchor themselves in the surrounding soil.

In Conclusion

In the end, when deciding how you want to fertilize your tropical fruit trees, it is essential to know a few things before going to shop for fertilizer.

Tropical fruit trees that produce fruit require additional nutrients from organic or synthetic fertilizers.

Organic forms of fertilizer on the market come in forms such as compost from cows, horses, or chickens and other amendments such as worm castings, fruit teas, and more. 

Synthetic or inorganic forms of fertilizer come in forms in granular and provide the nutrients required to grow and bear fruit.

When it comes to fertilizing tropical fruit trees, a slow-release fertilizing is best recommended to nourish and raise a fruit from flower to harvest correctly. 

Instant fertilizers, whether organic or synthetic, can be used at different growing stages of a fruit tree.

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