Apple Trees in Florida
Though known as a prolific citrus producer, Florida does have some regions in which apples can be grown. Apples, which require a chill period to set the flower buds in the spring, are usually grown in cooler weather states, including California and Washington, but some varieties can be grown in the northern and central parts of Florida, which are defined as zones 8 and 9 on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. However, the chill period in Florida is likely to be shorter than in cooler states, and apple trees may be susceptible to some quality issues, including a delay in the buds setting, low fruit production and inferior fruit.
This apple tree requires only 200 to 300 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees F to properly set, so it is a good choice for northern Florida. Anna apples are small and have a flavor similar to the Macintosh variety. Trees grow to about 20 feet and require full sun and moderate water. Fruit on these trees should ripen by June in Florida. Most varieties of apple trees require a cross-pollinator, and Golden Dorsett or Gala apple trees will work.
One of only a handful of self-pollinating apple trees, the Ein Shemer variety requires 350 to 400 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees F to properly set. This tree, which can grow to 20 feet, will produce apples without a cross-pollinator, but the Ein Shemer's production should increase if a second tree is planted nearby. Fruit on these trees should ripen between late June and early July in Florida. The Ein Shemer, which produces an apple similar to the Golden Delicious variety, requires full sun and moderate water.
Developed by the University of Florida, the Tropic Sweet apple tree requires about 300 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees F to property set. This tree, which can grow to 30 feet, requires a cross pollinator and the Anna or Golden Dorsett varieties are recommended. Hardy only in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 and 10, the Tropic Sweet is a prolific bloomer that produces sweet apples that are golden yellow with a little red on the skin. Fruit should be ripe by mid-June in Florida. The Tropic Sweet requires full sun and moderate water.
- "Sunset National Garden Book"; the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine; 1997