How to Grow Florida Fruit

Overview

Florida gardeners grow many nontropical and tropical fruit species due to the state’s warm and varied climate. Fruiting varieties include trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials, so even the smallest landscapes can grow fruit. The state experiences warm temperate climates in its north and north central regions, subtropical climates in central and northern portions of the southern regions and the very south has a tropical climate. Fruit trees grown in the appropriate location with their requirements fulfilled are hardy and relatively maintenance-free.

Step 1

Select a species adapted to your coldest temperatures. Fruit trees such as peaches and apples will tolerate North Florida’s annual frosts and freezes, whereas a coconut palm is intolerant to cold conditions and will die.

Step 2

Select a fruiting species appropriate for the designated size of the planting location. Trees such as avocados require a large amount of space as they have a width of up to 25 feet at maturity, and the guava requires a space of only approximately 8 feet in width. Consider the tree’s mature size when selecting the planting site.

Step 3

Plant the fruit tree in the appropriate light conditions it requires for proper growth and fruiting. Varieties such as coffee and dragon fruit grow well in partial shade, whereas species such as carambola and lychee grow best in full sun.

Step 4

Amend the planting site with compost or manure, if required for the particular fruiting species grown. Florida’s soil has a sandy nature with few organics, and species such as nectarines and peaches require additional amendments. Plants such as citrus and coconut palms grow well in Florida’s native soils with no amendments needed.

Step 5

Plant the fruit tree at the same depth it was growing in the container. Planting most fruiting varieties too deep puts undue stress upon the tree, causing it to grow improperly and sometimes die.

Step 6

Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the fruit tree to retain moisture, if the particular fruit tree requires it. Species such as citrus trees do not require mulching and it is not recommended, according to the University of Florida, as it promotes diseases. Keep the much approximately 3 to 4 inches from the trunk.

Step 7

Water the fruit tree regularly according to the particular species requirements. Florida’s temperatures are hot throughout the majority of the year, and species such as nectarines, pears and apples benefit from regular watering. Species such as coconut palms, pineapples and natal plums are relatively drought-tolerant.

Step 8

Prune Florida fruit trees to remove any broken or damaged limbs or those crossing each other and to control their shape and size, if required. Varieties such as peaches and nectarines require an open center for best growth and fruit production. Citrus trees require no pruning other than to remove damaged or crossing limbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Florida annual temperature chart
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Water
  • Pruning shears

References

  • University of Florida: Temperate Fruit Crops: Fact Sheets
  • University of Florida: Subtropical Fruit Crops: Fact Sheets
  • University of Florida: Tropical Fruit Crops: Fact Sheets

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Fruit Scapes
Keywords: Florida fruiting plants, growing Florida fruit, Florida fruit trees

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.