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Publication #FC23

Dooryard Fruit Varieties1

J.G. Williamson, J.H. Crane and R.E. Rouse2

Many kinds of fruit can be grown successfully in the Florida home garden, including temperate fruits in the northern part of the state and tropical and subtropical fruits in the southern part of the state.

Fruit growing is an interesting and rewarding hobby, which provides fresh fruit at the peak of its maturity. Fruit plants are also an attractive addition to many landscapes.

Selection of species and varieties is critical for fruit production, as plants that are not adapted to local conditions will generally fail to produce regardless of how much care and attention they receive. Weather is perhaps the single most important factor that determines where fruit crops can be grown. Winters may be too cold for some fruit or too short for others. Still other fruit may suffer from summer's heat and humidity. Consequently, species and varieties of fruits should be chosen on the basis of historical weather patterns. Some considerations of weather are discussed briefly in the following sections.

Chilling Requirement

Temperate-zone fruits go through the winter in a dormant state called the rest period. Generally, this rest period is associated with a loss of leaves, short days, and weather that is cool to cold. Exposure to cool winter temperatures for a certain length of time is required for proper flowering and prepares the plant to begin active growth again when temperatures are more favorable for growth.

For temperate-zone fruit, temperatures below 45°F (7°C) are described as chilling temperatures. The number of hours below 45°F accumulates through the winter months and constitutes total hours of chilling. The Florida Panhandle rarely has fewer than 500 hours of chilling. By contrast, South Florida rarely has more than 50 - 100 hours of chilling.

The chilling requirement of a species or variety is the amount of chilling needed to complete the rest period and resume normal growth. Species and varieties differ in their chilling requirement.

A plant that does not receive sufficient chilling to satisfy rest is usually delayed in bud break, leaf expansion, and blooming. Often the opening of flower and leaf buds will be scattered over a long period of time as a result of insufficient chilling. Plants will live only a very few years with insufficient winter chilling, which explains why so few temperate fruits are grown in South Florida.

By contrast, rather cold winters satisfy rest early, so the plants start growing with the first warm spell. Such early growth makes a plant subject to injury by later cold weather, particularly late frosts, which may destroy flowers or young fruit.

Some subtropical fruit species -- such as lychee and longan -- require exposure to cool winter temperatures to flower properly the following spring. Chilling temperatures for these crops are temperatures below 55°F to 60°F, respectively. Lychee and longan trees that do not receive sufficient chilling temperatures may flower poorly or not at all. In contrast, mature lychee and longan trees may be killed at temperatures below 24°F to 28°F, which explains why so few of these crops are grown in Central Florida or in North Florida. (For general definitions of these regions, see the map below.)

Cold Hardiness

Cold hardiness refers to a plant's ability to withstand cold temperatures without serious injury. Cold damage to plants can occur in all parts of Florida and is often caused by temperatures that are not extremely low, but which occur when the plant is not in the best condition to withstand cold. One example is the December 25, 1983, freeze. It killed or severely damaged much of the citrus grown in North Florida and Central Florida at that time.

Because of the conditions preceding this freeze, it was much more damaging than past freezes with comparable minimum temperatures. Minimum temperatures were unusually mild for a period of more than one week prior to the Dec. 1983 freeze. However, on December 25, temperatures dropped dramatically, leaving citrus trees little time to acclimate to the cold weather. Both the low temperatures and the long duration of freezing temperatures killed thousands of acres of citrus.

In contrast to temperate-zone fruits, which are relatively cold hardy when dormant, subtropical and tropical fruit crops may be divided into three groups according to cold tolerance. Some subtropical fruits, such as kumquat and loquat, may withstand temperatures below 20°F. Other subtropical fruits -- such as papaya, banana, and passion fruit -- cannot withstand temperatures below 32°F. However, some tropical fruits -- such as mango, lychee, and longan -- may withstand short periods of temperatures as low as 25°F. Avocados vary in their cold tolerance with West Indian types damaged below 25-30°F, Guatemalan types below 25-28°F and Mexican types damaged below 18-26°F.

Warm Weather Adaptability

Some species of fruit, such as olive, pistachio and date, will often grow satisfactorily in Florida, but due to the hot, humid weather that prevails throughout the state during summer months, will not consistently produce adequate crops of good quality fruit. Growth is usually satisfactory for plants with poor tolerance for the Florida summertime climate, but fruit production is minimal for such plants.

Variety Adaptation

As the foregoing discussion indicates, climatic conditions dictate which fruit species and varieties can be grown in a given area. Many of the species -- and all varieties -- that are common in the northern United States are not adapted to the weather conditions that prevail in Florida. Indeed, some of the species and many varieties that grow in the northern United States will not grow and fruit well in south Florida.

For the purposes of this publication, the Florida map in Figure 1 is divided into three climatic zones. These zones correspond closely, but not completely, with the standard U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The shaded areas along the coasts of South Florida represent the area where most tropical and subtropical fruits can be expected to succeed.

Figure 1. 

Florida's Three Climatic Zones


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

The separation lines between zones are not rigid, but should be considered as transition areas. In such an area, varieties from either zone may succeed due to slight variations in climate within a particular area. For example, large bodies of water, large cities and elevation can modify temperatures by several degrees. There are naturally occurring cold pockets and warm locations throughout the state. When in doubt about whether a particular fruit variety or species will do well in a local area, consult your county Extension Office.

The variety recommendations in Table 1 are based on the generally prevailing climate in these three regions, as well as on knowledge of what has succeeded for other gardeners in these areas. However, county Extension faculty will have more specific knowledge of individual county situations.

Deciduous Fruit Varieties

Deciduous fruits enjoy greatest success in North Florida, but some varieties are recommended for all climatic zones.

Citrus Varieties

The expectation of most homeowners in Florida is to grow and pick citrus fruits from their own trees. However, citrus is a subtropical fruit tree and is limited to areas that do not regularly experience freezing temperatures. The home gardener can grow most citrus trees throughout Central Florida and South Florida. Careful consideration should be given to site selection and choice of variety. Some citrus types, such as Satsuma and Kumquat, may be grown in warm, protected locations in North Florida. Due to the possibility of freezing weather in the northern part of Central Florida, most citrus grown in that area should be planted in protected locations, such as the south side of building.

Varieties can be selected with different seasons of maturity to provide fruit over the entire citrus season, from October through June. Sweet oranges and grapefruit are distinctive types and are often consumed as juice or eaten in some form practically every day. The mandarins (tangerines and tangerine hybrids) are specialty fruits that are excellent when eaten fresh. The acid fruits (limes, lemons, and other fruit with high citric-acid content) are used for thirst-quenching drinks, garnishes, and ingredients for refreshing pies and delicious cakes.

Some of the most popular varieties, as well as the season of maturity for each variety, are listed in Table 2. For additional information on specific varieties and growing practices in the home landscape, see EDIS Publication HS867, Citrus Culture in the Home Landscape, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS132.

Subtropical and Tropical Fruits

The ability to grow tropical fruits distinguishes Florida from the rest of the continental United States. Although tropical and subtropical fruits are most prominent in the tropical areas of South Florida, some of these fruits may be grown in protected areas in the coastal areas of Central Florida.

The listing in Table 3 is by no means complete, but represents some of the most popular fruits. In some cases, no varieties are listed, as named varieties are not available. Instead, seedlings or cuttings are grown.

Acknowledgement

The authors are grateful to Wayne Sherman, Seymour Goldweber and Carl Campbell for their previous input and suggestions and for their assistance in the preparation of this fact sheet.

Tables

Table 1. 

Variety Recommendations for Dooryard Planting.

Variety

Zone1

Variety

Zone1

APPLE

PEAR

TropicSweet2

N

C

 

Ayers

N

   

Anna2

N

C

 

Baldwin

N

   

Dorsett Golden2

N

C

 

Kieffer

N

   

BLACKBERRY

Floradahome

N

C

 

Brazos

N

C

S

Orient

N

   

Cheyenne

N

   

Hood

N

C

 

Comanche

N

   

Pineapple

N

C

 

Cherokee

N

   

Tenn

N

   

Arapaho

N

   

PLUM

Navaho

N

   

Early Bruce

N

   

Flordagrand3

 

C

S

Excelsior

N

   

Oklawaha3

 

C

S

Kelsey

N

   

BLUEBERRY

Methley9

N

   
       

Ozark Premier

N

   
       

Gulfbeauty

 

C

 

Brightwell4

     

Glufblaze

 

C

S

Powderblue4

     

Gulfrose

 

C

S

 

GRAPE

Blue Lake

N

C

 

Chaucer4

N

C

 

Conquistador

N

C

 

Woodward4

N

C

 

Daytona

N

C

 

Sharpeblue5

 

C

S

Blanc Dubois

N

C

 

Emerald5

 

C

S

Lake Emerald

N

C

 

Jewel5

 

C

S

Stover

N

C

 

Windsor5

 

C

 

Suwannee

N

C

 

Springhigh5

 

C

 

GRAPE, MUSCADINE -BLACK

Star5

 

C

 

Southern Home

N

C

S

       

Black Beauty

N

C

 

FIG

Black Fry

N

C

 

Alma

 

C

S

Polyanna

N

C

 

Brown Turkey6

N

C

S

Supreme

N

C

 

Celeste

N

C

S

Nesbitt

N

C

 

Green Ischia

N

C

S

PEACH8

Magnolia

N

C

S

Spring Crest

N

   

San Piero

N

C

S

June Gold

N

   

GRAPE, MUSCADINE - BRONZE

Flordaking

N

   

Carlos

N

C

 

Flordacrest

N

   

Doreen

N

C

 

Gulfcrest

N

   

Fry7

N

C

S

Gulfcrimson

N

   

Granny Val

N

C

 

Gulfprince

N

   

Higgins7

N

C

 

UFSharp

N

   

Summit7

N

C

S

UFBeauty

 

C

 

Welder

N

C

 

UFBlaze

 

C

 

Tara

N

C

 

UFO

 

C

 

Sweet Jenny

N

C

 

Flordabest

 

C

 

Pam

N

C

 

Tropicbeauty

 

C

S

NECTARINE8

UFSun

 

C

S

Suncoast

N

   

Flordastar

 

C

 

Sunraycer

 

C

 

Flordaglo

 

C

S

Sunbest

 

C

 

Flordaprince

 

C

S

UFRoyal

 

C

         

Sunmist

 

C

         

UFQueen

 

C

         

PECAN

       

Elliot

N

           

Stuart

N

           

Curtis

N

C

         

Desirable

N

C

         

Moreland

N

C

         

RASBERRY

       

Dorma Red

N

           

Mysore

   

S

       

PERSIMMON

       

Fuyu (Fuyugaki)

N

C

         

Hachiya

N

C

S

       

Hanafuyu

N

C

         

Izu

N

C

         

Jiro

N

C

         

Matsumoto Wase Fuyu

N

C

         

O'Gosho

N

C

         

Saijo

N

C

S

       

Tamopan

N

C

S

       

Tanenashi

N

C

S

       

1 N = North Florida, C = Central Florida, S = South Florida

2 Requires pollenizer variety.

3 Self-unfruitful, must be planted together.

4,5 Requires two or more varieties (with the same number) for best results.

6 Do not plant 'California Brown Turkey'.

7 Female variety, requires a non-female variety for pollination.

8 Must have 'Flordaguard' rootstock.

9 Western Florida Panhandle only.

Table 2. 

Suitable Varieties of Citrus for Dooryard Planting.

Variety

Season

Seeds

ORANGES

Navel1

Very early

Very few

Cara Cara (Red Navel)

Early (Oct - Jan)

Very few

Hamlin

Early (Oct - Jan)

Few

Parson Brown

Early mid-season (Oct - Jan)

Many

Pineapple

Mid-season (Oct - Feb)

Many

Valencia

Late (Mar - June)

Few

GRAPEFRUIT

Duncan

Mid-season (Dec - May)

Many

Marsh

Mid-season (Nov - May)

Few

Thompson

Mid-season (Dec - May)

Few

Redblush (Ruby)

Mid-season (Nov - May)

Few

Ray Ruby

Mid-season (Nov - May)

Few

Flame

Mid-season (Nov - May)

Few

Rio Red

Mid-season (Nov - May)

Few

Star Ruby

Mid-season (Nov - May)

Few

Pumelo

Mid-season (Nov - Apr)

Many

SPECIALTY

Satsuma2 mandarin

Very early, Sept - Nov)

Very few

Robinson tangerine

Very early (Oct - Dec)

Varies

Sunburst tangerine3

Mid-season (Nov - Dec)

Varies

Orlando tangelo3

Mid-season (Nov - Jan)

Varies

Dancy tangerine

Mid-season (Dec - Jan)

Few to many

Minneola tangelo3 (Honeybell)

Mid-season (Dec - Feb)

Varies

Temple tangor (Temple Orange)

Late mid-season (Jan - Mar)

Few to many

Murcott (Honey tangerine)

Late mid-season (Jan - Mar)

Few to many

Ponkan

Mid-season (Dec - Jan)

Few

Pummelos

Mid-season (Dec - Jan)

Few to many

ACID4

Tahiti ('Persian') lime4,5

Everbearing (most June - Sept)

None

Key lime (Mexican lime)4,5

Everbearing (Jan - Dec)

Few

Meyer lemon 4,5

Everbearing (Nov - Mar)

Few to many

Other lemons 4,5

Everbearing (most July - Dec)

Few

Calamondin

Everbearing (most Nov - Apr)

Few

Kumquat2

Everbearing (most Nov-Apr)

Few

Limequat2

Everbearing (most Nov-Mar)

Few

1 Does not produce large yields of fruit.

2 Considered cold hardy and can be grown in protected locations of North Florida.

3 Cross-pollination may increase size, yield and seed number when at least two of these varieties are planted together.

4 Acid citrus bears the largest crop in late summer, but some fruit ripen all year.

5 Not considered cold hardy and should be restricted to South Florida, except 'Meyer' lemon.

Table 3. 

Varieties of Tropical Fruits for Dooryard Planting.

Fruit

Plant Type

Cold Hardiness1

Varieties

Akee

Medium tree

1

 

Atemoya

Small tree

1

Gefner, African Pride, Page

Avocado

Large tree

1-2

Many, see footnote2

Banana

Herbaceous "tree"

1

Gold finger, Mona Lisa, FHIA17, others

Barbados cherry

Shrub

1

Florida Sweet, B-17

Bignay

Small tree

1

 

Black sapote

Medium tree

1

Reineke, Maher, others

Carambola

Medium tree

2

Arkin, Fwang Tung, Kary, others

Carissa

Shrub

2

 

Cattley guava

Shrub

3

 

Cherimoya

Small tree

1

 

Ceylon gooseberry

Large shrub

2

 

Coconut

Palm tree

1

Mayapan hybrid, Fiji Dwarf

Date

Palm tree

3

 

Canistel (Egg Fruit)

Medium tree

1

 

Feijoa

Shrub

3

Choiceana, Coolidge Superba

Governor's plum

Shrub

2

 

Guava

Small tree

1

Homestead, Patillo, Asian white

Jaboticaba

Small tree

2

 

Jakfruit

Medium to large tree

1

Chenna, Golden Nugget, J-30, NS-1, others

Jujube

Small tree

3

 

Kei-apple

Shrub

2

 

Kiwi3

Vine

3

Abbott, Allison, Bruno, Hayward

Longan

Medium tree

2

Kohala

Loquat

Medium tree

3

Wolfe, Oliver, Tanaka, others

Lychee

Large tree

2

Mauritius, Brewster

Macadamia

Medium tree

2

 

Mamey sapote

Large tree

1

Key West, Magana, others

Mango

Large tree

1

Many, see footnote4

Miracle fruit

Small tree

1

 

Monstera

Foliage plant

1

 

Papaya

Herbaceous "tree"

1

Seedlings

Passion fruit

Vine

2

Possum Purple, Whitman's Yellow

Pineapple

Bromeliad

1

Red Spanish, Smooth Cayenne

Pitaya cactus

Vine

1-2

Numerous Varieties

Plaintain

Herbaceous "tree"

1

 

Pomegranate

Small tree

3

 

Prickly pear

Cactus shrub

3

 

Sapodilla

Large tree

2

Alano, Hasyá, Morena, Tikal, others

Sea grape

Medium tree

1

 

Spanish lime

Large tree

1

 

Soursop

Small tree

2

 

Sweetsop

Small tree

1

 

Surinam cherry

Shrub

2

 

Tamarind

Large tree

1

 

Velvet apple

Medium tree

1

 

Wampi

Small tree

2

 

1 Cold hardiness:

1. Limited to shaded area;

2. May be grown in protected locations in South Florida and possibly in protected locations in Central Florida;

3. Can be grown in all areas of Florida.

2 Varieties with good cold hardiness for Central Florida: 'Day', 'Duke', 'Mexicola', 'Winter Mexican'.

Varieties with moderate cold hardiness for South Florida: 'Booth 7, 'Booth 8', 'Brogdon', 'Choquette', 'Hall', 'Lula', 'Monroe', 'Taylor', 'Tonnage', 'Pollock', 'Simmonds'.

3 Kiwi usually will not fruit in Florida.

4 Varieties with fair anthracnose resistance and good quality: 'Carrie', 'Early Gold', 'Florigon', 'Glen', 'Saigon'.

Varieties with good quality and good anthracnose resistance: 'Irwin', 'Keitt', 'Kent', 'Palmer', 'Sensation', 'Tommy Atkins'.(Numerous other varieties available.)

Footnotes

1.

This document is FC23, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date March 1994. Revised March 2008. Reviewed June 2012. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

J.G. Williamson, professor, Horticultural Sciences Department; J.H. Crane, professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, and associate director, Tropical Research and Education Canter-- Homestead, FL; and R.E. Rouse, associate professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center-Immokalee, FL, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


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