Florida, the most southeastern state in the United States of America (USA), is known for Disney land, its tropical terrain, and the Miami botanical garden, amongst other things. Due to its climate, the state has become famous for growing foreign fruit trees. However, Florida does have its native trees.
One tree native to the state of Florida is the black olive tree; these trees produce black fruit after a blooming period which humans cannot consume, though it is a good treat for birds.
Today, Florida is one of the world’s largest citrus producers and exporters. As a result, Floridian fruit variations such as the key lime have gained global popularity. This guide is your best option if you want to explore 19 varieties of the best fruit trees in Florida.
Table of Contents
- 1 Are Fruit Trees Common in Florida?
- 2 Is it Hard to Grow Your Own Fruit Tree in Florida?
- 3 What Hardiness Zone is Florida?
- 4 19 Types of Fruit Trees in Florida
- 4.1 1. Orange Tree [Citrus × sinensis]
- 4.2 2. Apricot Tree [Prunus armeniaca]
- 4.3 3.Pear Tree [Pyrus pyrifolia]
- 4.4 4. Lime Tree [Tilia]
- 4.5 5. Peach Tree [Prunus persica]
- 4.6 6. Cherry Tree [Prunus]
- 4.7 7. Nectarine Tree [Prunus persica]
- 4.8 8. Persimmon Tree [Diospyros kaki]
- 4.9 9. Lemon Tree [Citrus limon]
- 4.10 10. Avocado Tree [Persea americana]
- 4.11 11. Fig Tree [Ficus carica]
- 4.12 12. Olive Trees [Olea europaea]
- 4.13 13. Mulberry Tree [Morus]
- 4.14 14. Mandarin Tree [Citrus reticulata]
- 4.15 15. Grapefruit Tree [Citrus × paradisi]
- 4.16 16. Apple Tree [Malus domestica]
- 4.17 17. Plum Tree [Prunus domestica]
- 4.18 18. Kumquat Tree [Citrus japonica]
- 4.19 19. Pomegranate Trees [Punica granatum]
Are Fruit Trees Common in Florida?
Fruit trees are trendy across the Floridians state. You have fruit trees that are Floridian natives, such as; the white passionflower, which can be eaten raw or cooked. So few native Florida fruit is widely circulated because most of these fruits were either inedible or did not travel/ hold up well.
As a result, many foreign trees, such as the orange, pomegranate, pear, and more, were brought over by settlers and have become part of the country’s terrain and diet.
Is it Hard to Grow Your Own Fruit Tree in Florida?
It will depend on the fruit tree you hope to grow. The citrus fruit first arrived in America with the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s. The first orange tree was planted in St. Augustine, which continues to be a home for orange trees until this day. However, between 1894 and 1895, farmers across Florida lost a large majority of crops due to freezing weather.
Therefore, when buying a tree, you may want to consider what habitat this tree best flourishes in, soil ph, how cold your winters are, and any future predicted weather changes.
What Hardiness Zone is Florida?
Hardiness zones, or gardening zones, are a worldwide reference to the average minimum soil temperature in an area. The term has become used in horticulture as a measure of soil suitability.
Florida is part of 4 zones in the USDA hardiness zones, they include zones 8,9,10, and 11.
Before gardening, the gardener can decide whether a plant or vegetable is suitable for the area in which it is planted. The PH can be lowered or heightened if the soil is not ideal.
19 Types of Fruit Trees in Florida
1. Orange Tree [Citrus × sinensis]
As explored in the previous sections, the orange fruit tree has a long history in Florida, dating back to the 16th century. While the orange originates from Asia, it is now one of the most cultivated fruits in the world. Now it’s also solidified in Floridian history, trade, and many gardens.
Orange trees can grow to 50 feet, but typically they grow to a relatively medium size. They enjoy medium to well-drained soil and prefer a full sun position. After blossom, a self-fertile orange tree can take roughly 12 months after the buds have developed for the fruit to develop fully.
The Hamlin variety of orange best suits the north of Florida. Why? It’s one of the best frost-resistant orange varieties making it a success to grow commercially and a great addition to any garden. Hamlin bears fruit from late October and will continue to bear fruit for roughly three months.
In the Southern part of the state, most orange varieties grow well, so you have more choice over what to grow. However, you may want to consider these varieties; the naval, a trendy sweet orange, Honey Tangerine or Dancy Tangerine.
2. Apricot Tree [Prunus armeniaca]
Similar to orange trees, apricot trees typically thrive due to the humidity and heat across the Floridaian summer. In parts of the state which get little rain, such as Miami in January, the apricot is the ideal fruit, as it will continue to bear lots of fruit regardless. In addition, the apricot is probably one of the most drought-hardy.
Due to this, any variety of apricot would suit the terrain of Florida, but you may want to explore; Goldbar, Goldstrike, or Perfection.
Apricot trees don’t grow big, so they’re ideal for small gardens and tight spaces. In winter, to ensure your tree’s survival, it would be best to wrap your tree in burlap.
3.Pear Tree [Pyrus pyrifolia]
Floridian pears are often round and gritty on the inside, gaining them the name ‘sand pears.’ Unfortunately, only a few varieties of pear can withstand the Floridian climate, so you may struggle to get the European types to flourish as other trees would. If you aren’t familiar with the fruit of a sand pear, know unlike European variations (this pear is of Asian origin), the skin is typically peeled before eating as it is tough.
The sand pear tree grows to a modest height of 8-12 feet, but it can grow 40 feet when fully mature. Cultivar-wise, you could choose from; Baldwin, Pineapple, and Orient, all produce well across Florida.
If the sand variety of pear is not to your choosing, the Baldwin pear is the best variety if you’re in the northern part of Florida.
4. Lime Tree [Tilia]
Like the orange fruit tree, the lime fruit has its history in colonial history, where it was grown so vigorously in Florida that the variety in Florida came to be known as the key lime. You may recognize the name. The key lime provided the unique signature flavor for the Key lime pie. In 1885, it was estimated that 152 pounds of Key Lime were harvested in the area, making this an excellent choice for your Florida garden.
From the 1990s, the Floridian Key lime market drew back due to cranker, and the critical lime struggled to compete against the Persian lime. The market is, however, making a return, so you may want to add an old staple to your garden in the form of the Key Lime fruit tree. Both the key lime and Persian lime suit the landscape of Florida
5. Peach Tree [Prunus persica]
While in some parts of Florida, your peach tree may struggle to reach the ideal amount of chilling numbers necessary to bear fruit. It has become commonplace to find peach trees flourishing in Fort Myers, although they’re legal to grow statewide, so don’t be deterred. Cherry trees grow best in central and northern Florida, with several cultivars surviving to maturity.
While peach trees may not need a lot of water, they will require watering if the soil does look dry. But, think of the soft, succulent peach as a great final reward.
6. Cherry Tree [Prunus]
Like the Peach tree, in Florida, the Cherry tree may struggle to get the ideal amount of chilling amounts necessary for the tree to bear fruit. However, after the chilling period, once the tree enters the flowering stage. The cherry buds develop before producing a stunning pink or white bloom, and then, if you’re lucky, you will experience a bounty of cherries.
In Florida, the Black Cherry or Weeping Higan grows in colder locales. Unfortunately, cherries are notoriously finicky to grow, and your tree could experience what is known as the cherry drop.
7. Nectarine Tree [Prunus persica]
The Nectarine tree is one fruit tree that can be successfully grown in Florida. Most of the varieties enjoy the weather provided in the state. If you were, to begin with, a medium-sized tree roughly 1 meter or longer, it would take your tree 3 to 4 years to bear fruit. But, as the nectarine suits the Floridian climate so well, these trees often produce fruit even earlier, especially if planted in a sunny position.
8. Persimmon Tree [Diospyros kaki]
Both the American and Japanese persimmon trees grow well in the state of Florida. However, while the Japanese cultivar is self-pollinating, the American is not. The Japanese cultivar provides a good yield yearly. The Fuyu Japanese cultivar grows very well in the North, central and southern regions of Florida.
The great thing about this tree is that it is extremely low maintenance, so that it could be an excellent choice for busy people.
9. Lemon Tree [Citrus limon]
The lemon tree could be a fantastic addition to your Florida garden, as these trees love the heat. They are also entirely self-sufficient. The lemon tree looks after itself, needing little water and pruning, so if you are seeking to beautify their Floridian space but worried you might not have sufficient time for upkeep. This is an ideal tree choice.
10. Avocado Tree [Persea americana]
Like the Lemon tree, the avocado tree also loves heat, producing well in most Floridian gardens. In addition, these evergreen trees have leaves all year round, providing you with full foliage if that’s what you’re seeking. Finally, avocado trees mesh well with the thin soil typical across Florida. The luck of this is most avocado trees grow well across. Fully grow your avocado tree will have a thick trunk and glossy leaves.
You will need to watch Laurel wilt, an invasive disease that eats away at a tree’s bark. If you do plant avocados, know they’re susceptible and try and take early precautions.
11. Fig Tree [Ficus carica]
With more than 800 varieties of Fig growing across the globe, you’ll be happy to know the Fig tree grows well in the Floridian terrain, particularly the north and central parts of the state. However, while the foliage may develop on a Fig tree in the southern part of the state, the tree may not produce as much fruit.
12. Olive Trees [Olea europaea]
We already covered the Black Olive Tree, a native to the Floridian state, bearing pink flowers before it produces a black fruit inedible to humans. But these olives are the ones you would receive as a side dish at your local Italian pizzeria. The olive tree is another evergreen tree that will bear leaves all year round. The beautiful silvery foliage is attractive in all gardens.
Varieties such as the Anna, Dorset, and Tropic sweet grow well in Florida.
13. Mulberry Tree [Morus]
The beautiful mulberry tree is not only easy on the eye but grows in nearly all environments. Therefore, Mulberrys can be planted and thrive in most Floridian landscapes. However, they like light-shaded positions to full sun. For a diverse tree, you will have choices such as; the black mulberry or the red mulberry.
14. Mandarin Tree [Citrus reticulata]
Mandarin is a type of orange category which includes tangerines, clementines, and satsumas. Generally, the oranges in this category are smaller and sweeter, with thinner skin that people find easier to peel. Like the orange tree, the Mandarin tree does very well in the Floridian landscape. It suits the heat and humidity of the Floridian landscape.
15. Grapefruit Tree [Citrus × paradisi]
Grapefruits grow well in Florida due to the heavy rainfall and subtropical temperatures, so this could be a great choice if you’re seeking a low-effort tree that produces fruit in abundance. Plant your grapefruit tree in a full-sun position to ensure a good harvest. Typically, Duncan Pink and Thompson grow well in Florida.
16. Apple Tree [Malus domestica]
With European settlers coming from Europe, it makes sense that the apple tree would spring up in Florida. Unfortunately, early settlers found the soil was not as well suited for growing apples as it is for, say, oranges. That said, you can grow apple trees in your garden. To begin, you should test your soil to find its PH. Apples best grow at a PH of 6.5. If the PH of your soil is off, you raise or lower it naturally.
In central Florida, you may have some success growing apples. Regarding variety, you may want to opt for the Tropic Sweet, which has shown to be hardy in such a climate.
17. Plum Tree [Prunus domestica]
Plum trees fair well in Florida; one popular variety is the Chickasaw plum. The Chickasaw plum has a short thick trunk and long thorny branches but produces a slender smooth-skinned yellow to red plums. While they can grow to 25 feet, it’s more likely to grow to a modest 12 feet.
Then, the Gulf plum tree varieties from the University of Florida are developed to withstand climates where there may be low chill hours. For this reason and rising global temperatures, these could be a good choice for your garden.
18. Kumquat Tree [Citrus japonica]
Growing a Kumquat tree in Florida is easy. Cold hardy, these trees can weather long winters and enjoy the sunshine and soil provided throughout Florida. A quick fruiter, after bloom, your buds will produce fruit in approximately 90 days. So how do you eat a Kumquat? Whole in one savoring the delicate flavor.
Variety-wise, Nagami and Meiwa both do well across Florida.
19. Pomegranate Trees [Punica granatum]
The Pomegranate Tree is an attractive addition to any garden. That said, it could present as more of a shrub or bush to the eye. Therefore, you should be more selective about where to place the pomegranate. If you’re an attentive gardener, it would be possible to train your pomegranate like a tree, but this would require time.
When choosing a cultivar for your garden, you may want to opt for Girkanets or Wonderful, which are fantastic additions to any garden.