Tropical fruit trees have a limited growing range in the United States, but all areas of Florida are hospitable to at least one variety. These trees attract bees for the nectar and birds for the fruit. Plant the trees away from swimming pools and patios in an area where the insects will not bother people and any mess from falling fruit will not cause a problem.
Sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera) is hardy in southern Florida and the Florida Keys and can stand up to the salty conditions at the shore. The tree grows up to 50 feet tall with heart-shaped, evergreen, red-veined leaves up to 8 inches in diameter. Small, fragrant, white flowers grow in clusters from 6 to 10 inches long. Those on the female trees produce red, pear-shaped fruits about 3/4 inch in diameter which grow in long, hanging clusters. The fruit turns dark red when ripe. Plant sea grape in full sun or partial shade and a soil that is moist to dry. The fruit is edible raw and can be made into jelly and wine.
Pummelo (Citrus maxima) is also known as pommelo, shaddock, pumelo and pomelo. The pummelo is one of the parent plants of the grapefruit, which is a cross between the pummelo and a sweet orange. The fruit measures up to 12 inches in diameter and weighs up to 20 pounds with the taste of the grapefruit and the sweetness of the orange. The tree grows from 15 to 20 feet tall with evergreen leaves from 4 to 8 inches long and fragrant, white blossoms. Plant pummelo in full sun or partial shade and a moist to wet soil. The tree is hardy in central and southern Florida.
Avocado (Persea americana) is also known as alligator pear, aguacate and palta. The tree grows up to 60 feet tall with evergreen, elliptical-shaped leaves that grow from 4 to 8 inches long and tiny green flowers. The Mexican variety produces black or purple-skinned, round fruit the size of a plum. The Guatemalan type produces black-green large fruits with a rough skin. West Indian avocados weight as much as 2 pounds and have a smooth, light-green skin. Plant avocado in full sun and a well-drained soil. The tree is hardy in all of Florida, including the Florida Keys.
Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is also known as Japanese plum and is a member of the rose family. The tree is native to China and Japan and grows up to 20 feet tall. The tree is an evergreen with leaves dark-green on top and light-green on the underside up to 10 inches long and fragrant white flowers that bloom in the fall growing in clusters at the tips of the stems. Small yellow fruit appears the following spring. The fruit is eaten raw or dried an is used to make jams and preserves. Plant loquat in full sun and a soil that is moist and well drained. The tree is hardy in all of Florida except for the Florida Keys.