How to Grow Tropical Trees


From the hundreds of different types of palms to the almost countless number of tropical fruit trees, tropical trees occupy an important place in the ecosystems of the world's tropical regions. Because they are native to tropical climates, they require year-round warm temperatures, high humidity and often large quantities of rainfall. If you live in USDA climate zone 10 or higher (for example, southern Florida, Hawaii and Puerto Rico) you might already be growing some tropical trees. Here's how to grow even more---but the climate must be suitable for them.

Step 1

Purchase trees that are known to perform well in your tropical region. Native trees, or those that have existed in an area for many years are good choices, but you can also grow fruit trees such as papayas and mangoes or nuts such as kukui or macadamia and many others.

Step 2

Prepare a planting hole in a sunny spot where the soil is deep and well-draining. Dig your hole at least twice the size of your tree's nursery pot, shoveling the soil into a wheelbarrow. Mix the soil with 1 part any type of organic compost and other organic materials such as peat moss for every 4 parts of soil. Then refill your planting hole about half full with this mixture.

Step 3

Remove your tree from its pot or bag and loosen the rootball with your hands. Then set your unpotted tree into the planting hole, spreading the roots evenly around the bottom of the tree. Then fill the hole with the rest of your soil/compost mixture and firm it down with your foot.

Step 4

Water thoroughly after you plant by running a hose at a slow drip for up to 1 hour. Keep an eye on the soil's moisture and water again if it begins to get dry. In many tropical areas, rainfall normally keeps the soil moist, but if rains are inadequate, supplement with irrigation, even when your tree is large.

Step 5

Fertilize your young tree with a balanced fertilizer about one month after you plant it. Fertilize at evenly spaced intervals about four times each year, during the tree's active growing season from January or February through about October. Follow the instructions on your fertilizer package for correct mixing and application of the product.

Tips and Warnings

  • Tropical trees are sometimes the victims of fungal diseases, such as anthracnose. Do a little research if you see any signs of spotting or rotting of leaves or fruit and then apply an appropriate fungicide or other product to control the specific disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunny location
  • Well-drained soil
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Compost
  • Organic materials
  • Shovel
  • Young trees


  • University of Hawaii: Mango: General Crop Information
  • TropicaMango: General Care Guide For Growing Tropical Fruit Trees

Who Can Help

  • Aloha Tropicals: Flowering Plants and Trees
Keywords: trees tropical, palms mangos papaya, gardening perennials

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.