Jackfruit: How to Grow and Harvest This Giant Tropical Fruit in Florida

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

Jackfruit sold in Florida at the Pinellas Flea market Clearwater
Jack fruit for sale in Florida at the Farmers Market in Clearwater, Florida.

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.

Garden Florida with jackfruit Fruit Florida Garden
Garden Florida with jackfruit trees loaded with jackfruits.

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)
  • J-31
  • Lemon Gold
  • Mai 1
  • Mai 2
Cempedak Fruit Artocaprus integer
Garden Florida holding a cempedak fruit Artocarpus integer
Garden Florida is holding a chempedak (Artocarpus integer) fruit.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Fertilizing: Use a slow-release fertilizer specifically formulated for tropical fruit trees to provide essential nutrients for growth and fruit production.
  3. Watering: Jackfruit trees require constant watering, especially during the establishment phase. Ensure the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  4. 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:

  1. Place the fruit on a clean surface and cut it in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut each half into smaller sections, following the lines of the fruit’s segments.
  3. Use a knife or your fingers to separate the flesh from the seeds and the fibrous core.
Jack Fruit Cut Open
Garden Florida is holding a chempedak (Artocarpus integer) fruit.

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.

Jackfruit with sticky rice and coconut milk
Jackfruit with sticky rice and coconut milk.

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:

  1. Pruning shears or loppers for trimming branches
  2. A sturdy ladder for reaching taller trees
  3. A sharp knife for harvesting fruit
  4. A watering can or hose with an adjustable nozzle for controlled watering
  5. 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:

For more information on growing a variety of tropical fruit trees in Florida, check out this beginner’s guide to tropical fruit gardening and this guide on growing rare and unusual 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.

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