Mexico’s tropical and subtropical climates make excellent growing conditions for a variety of fruit trees. The country falls into hardiness zones 8 to 11, ideal for trees that cannot tolerate frost. In the humid regions of the country, many fruit trees tend to be evergreen; because they do not drop their foliage annually, some of the trees sport very long leaves. While familiar trees such as limes and apples grow in dryer areas of the country, Mexico’s tropical areas offer varieties of fruit not found in other parts of North America.
Mangos thrive in Mexico’s tropical climate, although the plant originally arrived in North America from southern Asia. The trees make beautiful additions to the landscape with their erect growth habit. The fast-growing tree reaches heights of 65 feet, sporting dark green foliage with pale undersides that grow from 4 to 12 inches long. Flies pollinate the yellow or red flowers, but many of the flowers do not produce pollen, and thus, no fruit. Fruit grows at the end of long stems with several 2- to 9-inch mangos on each steam. The juicy ripe fruit of the mango contains one large kidney-shaped seed. Mangos thrive in full sun in well-drained soil as long as they are protected from frost.
Red Custard Apple
Cultivated from the custard apple tree, a native from tropical America, the red custard apple grows up to 25 feet tall. The evergreen foliage consists of long leaves that grow up to 10 inches long. Yellowish-green blossoms appear on new growth followed by green fruit. The fruit matures into pinkish-red, bumpy-appearing apples. Some of the 3- to 6-inch apples look heart-shaped, whereas others seem more spherical. A thick layer of custard-like flesh surrounds the juicier, sweet core. Red custard apple thrives in moist, rich, well-drained soil in tropical climates.
Nicknamed the chocolate fruit tree, the slow-growing native black sapote reaches 80 feet high. The foliage consists of glossy, leathery 4- to 12-inch-long leaves. Slightly fragrant flowers in groups of three to seven blooms give way to bright green, shiny fruit. Once the 2- to 5-inch fruit turns olive to muddy-green, it is ready for harvest--between August and January. Inside, the fruit looks like a mass of black, soft jelly with a sweet, mild taste similar to stewed prunes. The fruit may contain a few brown seeds, but usually the sapote is seedless. The tree grows as far north as Palm Beach County, Florida, if protected from frost while young.