Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a large, tropical fruit native to South Asia, known for its unique flavor and versatility in both sweet and savory dishes.
Florida’s climate provides the perfect environment for growing jackfruit, and this guide will help you learn about the different varieties, how to care for the trees, and how to harvest and use the fruit.
Good Products For Growing Jackfruit
- Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus
- Azomite Organic Fertilizer Trace Mineral Powder 44LB Micronized
- Neem Bliss – Pure Neem Oil for Plants – Organic
- Florikan 14-14-14 Plus Controlled Release Fertilizer
Jackfruit Quick Care Guide
|Common Name(s)||Jackfruit, Yaca|
|Scientific Name||Artocarpus heterophyllus|
|Days to Harvest||4-7 years + fruit from seed.|
|Light||Full sun for best fruit production|
|Water||Water regularly, ensuring consistently moist but not waterlogged soil|
|Soil||Jackfruit grows in various types of soil as long as it is well-draining.|
|Fertilizer||Slow-release fertilizer specifically formulated for tropical fruit trees such as Osmocote or Florikan|
|Pests||Scale insects, Mealybugs, Fruit flies|
|Diseases||Stem dieback, Root rot, Fruit rot|
A Short History of Jackfruit
Jackfruit is believed to have originated in the rainforests of India, and it has been cultivated for thousands of years in South and Southeast Asia.
The fruit made its way to the Americas during the 16th century when Portuguese explorers introduced it to Brazil.
Today, jackfruit trees thrive in tropical and subtropical climates around the world, including Florida.
Varieties of Jackfruit
There are two main types of jackfruit based on the texture of the fruit’s flesh: the soft variety and the crunchy variety.
Soft jackfruit has a juicy, tender texture, while crunchy jackfruit is firmer and less juicy. Both types come in a range of flavors, from sweet to subtly savory.
In Florida, some popular varieties of jackfruit that can be ordered online are
- Cheena – jackfruit x Chempedak cross
- Tommy Morrison Red – orange variety jackfruit
- Banana Crunch – crunchy variety
- Black Gold
- Borneo Red
- Cochin (Dwarf)
- Golden Nugget
- Honey Gold (Dwarf Tree)
- Lemon Gold
- Mai 1
- Mai 2
Caring for Jackfruit Trees in Florida
Growing jackfruit in Florida requires proper care and attention to ensure a healthy tree and bountiful harvests. Some key aspects of jackfruit tree care include:
- Mulching: Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the tree helps retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Use organic materials like wood chips, leaves, or grass clippings for the best results.
- Fertilizing: Use a slow-release fertilizer specifically formulated for tropical fruit trees to provide essential nutrients for growth and fruit production.
- Watering: Jackfruit trees require constant watering, especially during the establishment phase. Ensure the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.
- Foliar Sprays: Applying foliar sprays can help prevent and manage diseases like stem dieback, a common problem for jackfruit trees in Florida.
Harvesting and Using Jackfruit
When the jackfruit is ripe, its color changes from green to yellowish-brown, and it emits a strong, sweet aroma. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the fruit from the tree, being careful not to damage the stem.
To cut the jackfruit, follow these steps:
- Place the fruit on a clean surface and cut it in half lengthwise.
- Cut each half into smaller sections, following the lines of the fruit’s segments.
- Use a knife or your fingers to separate the flesh from the seeds and the fibrous core.
Jackfruit can be used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. The ripe fruit can be eaten fresh, added to fruit salads, or used in desserts. Unripe jackfruit can be cooked as a vegetable, often as a meat substitute in curries or stews.
My favorite way to eat jackfruit as a dessert is loading them with sweet sticky rice with coconut milk drizzled on top, as I did here.
Growing Jackfruit in Containers
For gardeners with limited space or who wish to move their trees indoors during colder months, container gardening is a viable option for growing jackfruit.
Choose a large container with drainage holes and fill it with a high-quality potting mix. Ensure the tree receives adequate sunlight and proper care, as mentioned in the earlier section on caring for jackfruit trees.
Tools for Fruit Tree Gardening in Florida
To successfully grow and maintain jackfruit and other fruit trees in Florida, it’s essential to have the right tools. Some must-have tools for fruit tree gardening include:
- Pruning shears or loppers for trimming branches
- A sturdy ladder for reaching taller trees
- A sharp knife for harvesting fruit
- A watering can or hose with an adjustable nozzle for controlled watering
- Protective gloves for handling fruit and branches
Other Tropical Fruit Trees to Grow in Florida
Jackfruit is just one of the many tropical fruit trees that thrive in Florida’s climate. If you’re interested in expanding your fruit tree collection, consider growing some of these other tropical fruits:
Growing jackfruit in Florida can be rewarding, providing you with an abundant harvest of this unique and versatile fruit.
By following the tips and recommendations in this guide, you can ensure the success of your jackfruit tree and enjoy the fruits of your labor for years to come.
Don’t forget to explore other tropical fruit trees that thrive in Florida, and consider adding a few more to your garden to create a diverse and delicious fruit tree paradise.