Florida is comprised of three distinct climates: temperate in the panhandle region, sub-tropical in the central part of the state and tropical along the southern tip of the state as well as the Florida Keys. The wide range of climates allow almost every type of fruit tree to grow there, and the long growing season allows residents to enjoy fresh fruit nearly all year.
Oranges are the most popular fruit grown in Florida. Florida orange trees grow from 25 to 50 feet high. Three main types of oranges are grown in the Sunshine State. These are Hamlin, Pineapple and Valencia. Hamlin oranges are small with smooth skin and no seeds. These are harvested from October through December. Pineapple oranges have a pineapple scent, and brightly colored semi-smooth skin. Pineapple oranges are harvested in late spring to early summer. Valencia oranges have thin skins with very juicy fruit and few seeds. Valencia oranges are harvested in early to late summer. Orange trees grow throughout the state of Florida.
Avocados are grown on the southern tip of Florida. These trees range from 30 to 60 feet tall. Fruits are deep green or purplish-black with yellow flesh. The center of the fruit contains a single large pit which is not edible. Fruits may grow up to five pounds. Avocados belong to one of three "races:" West Indian, Guatemalan and Mexican, based upon the variety's origin. West Indian varieties ripen from May through September, Guatemalan varieties from September to January and Mexican varieties from June to October. West Indian varieties include Donnie and Dupuis, Guatemalan varieties are Tonnage and Campong and Mexican varieties include Duke and Ganter.
Florida mango trees can grow up to 100 feet tall. These trees grow best in central and southern Florida. Mangos are round or oval in shape and yellow, red, orange or green in color. The skin is smooth and covers a light yellow flesh. Mangos have a single large seed in the core of the fruit. Mango trees normally produce fruit three to five years after planting, with each tree producing up to six bushels of fruit. Varieties of mango popular in Florida include Keitt, which ripens in August through September; Van Dyke, which ripens in June and July; and Zill, which ripens from May through July.
Apples have been traditionally been grown only in the northern part of Florida due to the fact that apples require a minimum number of chill hours, which means that the temperature must be below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Recently, new varieties that require fewer chill hours have been developed, making it possible to grow fruit in the central region of Florida as well. Some good apple varieties for Floridians include Dorsett Golden, Tropic Sweet, Anna and Ein Shemer. Anna and Ein Shemer are red apples, which ripen from late June through early July. Tropic Sweet and Dorsett Golden are yellow apples, which ripe in early June.