Central Florida, situated in planting zones 9A and 9B, experience large temperature differences between the two areas, especially during the winter months. Gardeners living in northern regions of Central Florida in planting zone 9A experience annual frosts and freezes regularly. Those living in the southern regions of the area experience frosts and freezes occasionally. Where you live within Central Florida determines which fruits are hardy and will tolerate the weather conditions. Regardless of your Central Florida location, gardeners can choose a variety of fruit crops that will flourish.
Consider where you live within Central Florida when determining which fruit tree to add to your garden. Those living in the warmer southern regions will find tropical fruiting trees such as citrus, mangos and avocados will flourish planted in the ground in the area. Central Floridians in the northern regions will find fruiting varieties such as nectarines, peaches, apples and plums will do well planted directly into the ground, as they require cold weather for proper fruit production.
Plant tropical fruit trees such as mangos, pineapples, citrus and bananas inside containers in the northern regions of the area, as these plants are not cold hardy. The gardener can move the containers to a warm area for protection in the event of frosts or freezes.
Select a container with drainage that is approximately three times larger than the fruit tree’s root ball. This allows adequate room for the root system to grow and cuts down on the need for frequent transplanting. Fill the container with a well-draining potting medium, as most fruit trees will not tolerate growing in flooded conditions. Plant the fruit tree at the same depth it was growing inside its container.
Select a location in your landscape situated in full sun for the majority of the day, for ground plantings. Most fruit trees require a minimum amount of sunlight during the day for proper growth and fruit production.
Clear an area approximately 3 feet in diameter free of any vegetation such as weeds or grasses. The unwanted vegetation robs moisture and nutrients from the fruit tree, which is required in Florida’s typical hot weather and sandy soils. Amend the soil with organic matter only if the variety of fruit tree requires it.
Dig a hole approximately three times larger than the fruit tree’s root ball to loosen the surrounding area for proper root growth. Plant the fruit tree in the hole no deeper than it was originally growing inside the container.
Water the fruit tree, saturating its roots after planting. Most fruit trees will require a daily dose of water for the first two weeks. Depending on your Central Florida weather conditions and particular fruit tree’s requirement, water the tree approximately two to three times per week, keeping the planting site moist.