Best tropical fruits for container growing?

If you’re truly drawn to the genus, and not the species, pawpaw is the temperate sibling to the cherimoya or soursop, native to your zone and will easily grow in ground and possibly in a container.


I’ve had good luck with Eugenia reinwardtiana (Australian beach cherry). I also grow E. uniflora. But, it hasn’t produced fruit yet (after 4 years). The E. reinwardtiana produced a few berries in year 3, and a dozen or so thus far in year 4. It’s been putting on flowers since spring, and it’s still flowering and setting fruit.

Lemon guava also does well here. I also get fruit from my miracle berry plant. But that plant is temperamental, and difficult to keep happy!

I’ve also got some citrus growing. But most of them are in their 3rd year or less. Meiwa kumquat has fruited well, and the fruits are tasty. Noordman’s seedless kumquat is putting flowers on now in its 3rd year. China satsuma flowered last fall/winter and still has 2 fruit maturing in its 3rd season. I just started a limequat and ponderosa lemon this year. So we’ll see how they do.

Others that haven’t produced fruit for me would be pineapple guava (Mammoth and a seedling). Plenty of flowering, but no fruit after 5 years! And peanut butter fruit, which I have a hard time keeping happy in this environment.

I’ve also got some ice cream bananas which I have to cut back each fall to fit in my greenhouse. Maybe they would fruit if I had a taller greenhouse to put them in.

I grow these in containers outside in the summer and in a makeshift, coolish greenhouse over the winter. I’m in TN (zone 7a).

Do you hand pollinate? The flowers won’t generally self-pollinate without a little help. The wind helps some outdoors, but indoors you’ll probably need to use a brush or at least shake them onto each other. Insects do not pollinate them. In their native range, birds that eat the fleshy flower petals are the main pollinator.

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I haven’t tried any hand pollination. I might have to try that next season!

All you need for banana is a big pot and a long season. I may be kidding myself…no fruit yet.

My Namwa 6 months from a tiny pencil sized plant:

The truss is at 8.5ft height. I had an in ground Raja Puri that was bigger at the same age. This one has 4ft leaves the inground one had 6ft leaves


Oh hey, I’ve been there! Was just a couple years ago in late January. Tried a few different fruits, but I was actually kinda underwhelmed. The rainbow eucalyptus they have was pretty cool to see though.

…that’s what I’ve heard. Nice lush growth, big, big tree, constant fruit drop. Just doesn’t seem worth it for something that I have to spend effort protecting and can get at reasonable quality for very cheap at the grocery store.

Pawpaw is on my list of things to get. I beat the deer to the wild ones once or twice when I was a kid, kind of funky taste, but nice. The improved varieties seem very good. But, as best I can tell, there is still a pretty significant difference in flavor and consistency between a pawpaw and the tropical species.

How’s the flavor? I’ve heard they can have that bad myrtacious “gasoline” aftertaste. Presuming yours don’t, do you remember what variety or where you got it?

That’s good to know. I have almost the same climate, just a zone warmer and maybe slightly wetter. What kind of winter protection do yours need?

Even here in SoCal, my avocado trees produce almost nothing in container. Yesterday I chopped one down, waiting for more bin space to chop another one down. You’re smart to stay away from them.


My other concern would be, I live pretty deep into native Persea range, and laurel wilt has been found all of 30 miles south of me…

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The tropical ones have much higher concentrations of the parkinsonian neurotoxins compared to pawpaws, so might be worth steering clear for that reason alone. They taste OK at best.

Yeah, they are not suitable for container growing anywhere, unless you mean like 50+ gal containers. And even then not long-term. Maybe a 150 gal tub would work long term, but even then the potting mix will probably become compacted eventually and cause root problems. They need to go in the ground.

Mine didn’t have fruit drop, they really weren’t big enough to set much this year anyhow. Next year if they don’t set any fruit then I’ll agree with you, but I think people who complain about fruit drop with avocados just aren’t aware of their “normal” behavior. A large, healthy tree in an orchard will have millions of individual flowers, but will only hold a few hundred fruit to maturity. Many hundreds or even thousands of fruitlets and immature fruit may drop between pollination and fruit maturity, and that’s just normal self-thinning by the tree.


That’s kinda been at the back of my mind too. I’m a bit shaky on if I want to risk it.

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its quite under appreciated here, but is an excellent fruit in my estimation. The biggest bugaboos with are that it needs to be peeled and it really needs to be sweetened too. Those arent significant issues once you taste it peeled and rolled lightly in sugar. It has something of the muskiness of a rich melon, the floral complex acidity of a guava or passionfruit, and a nice slightly tongue biting umami of the sort youd get from a pungent romano. In ecuador and thereabouts, its the defacto fruit juice when sweetened and diluted. I favor them straight up. Its a tough and easy growing plant too, save for a tendency to get aphids in winter. My nearly 10 yr old tamarillo makes a couple of quarts of fruit yearly. Ive grown it purely in a pot but have taken to planting it in the ground in mid-May and digging it up again in mid-October or so.

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And thanks to this and subsequent posts, I now know what to do with my second Sapodilla tree.

I grow the red hybrid. I’ve never tasted Muscadine, but the red hybrid is not musky at all. The pulp is sweet (one person on the other forum likens it to blueberry yogurt, which I think is close enough). Unlike standard Jaboticabas, the skin is slightly tart and quite pleasant, not tannic and inedible. I also usually crunch and swallow the seed without issue when I’m not seeking to propagate it (my dad prefers the taste when he doesn’t eat the seed, but I’ve never noticed any unpleasant flavor). For all intents and purposes, I see it kinda like a berry.

I have one, and am waiting for its very first fruit to ripen. I’ll report back on the flavor. It’s a new tree, I’ve only had it for a few months.

I’m growing the Dasyblasta variant from seed (it grows true as a non-clonal variety), it’s said to have a very pleasant, non-resinous flavor. Still small, so I’ll eventually report back with it. I can eat the regular variants, but I don’t really like their resinous flavor.

I just ordered seed for the Dwarf Species, which apparently doesn’t taste anything like the big one. The flavor is apparently wildly variable… it could use some selective breeding to fix the best traits. It’s said that bad ones taste nasty, good ones remind of cape gooseberry & other tropical flavors, and the best ones have non-bitter skin.

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I’ve only had 10 or 12 of them. But i really enjoyed them and didn’t notice any odd aftertaste. My wife and grandaughter also enjoyed them. I got it from Logees in 2019. They didn’t list a cultivar name.

Now that I know of the potential ‘gasoline’ aftertaste, I’ll pay closer attention to the next ones I eat. But I think I just happened to get a good one!

I believe that mine is just an unnamed seedling. It has grown faster and larger than my E. reinwardtiana, but has not fruited yet. I did get some flowers this year although no fruit set.

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If you have your pitanga indoors, that may be why it hasn’t flowered. But I have a potted outdoor one and I’ve only seen a few flowers on it over the years. I’m going to fertilize more to try to correct this. As far as the turpentine taste goes, I’ve read that this taste is in the skin…you should eat the fruit without biting into the skin, just mash it in your mouth and suck out the sweet insides. Then spit out the skin.

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Id never had jaboticaba until just recently. A friend who owns a chinese restaurant gave us a big bag if them, and we’ve been enjoying them since. She called them ‘Italian grapes’, and sent my wife a picture of the label, which called them muscadines. I recognized them as jaboticabas. For something so distantly related to grapes, they really do have much of their countenance. Perhaps I shouldn’t be that surprised, after all wintergreen and black birch taste and smell nearly identical, and they are pretty far from one another taxonomically.

Ive never had a proper muscadine, but these ones taste very much of labruscas. As an aside, its funny how labruscas seem to have low totem pole status to many while muscadines and jaboticaba is revered, to me the flavor is very comparable. Even the distinct crunch and pepperiness of the seeds is very reminiscent.

Are they worth growing from seed? I understand they are easily grown from cuttings and are very precocious grown that way.


I think the swings in temp, water, light, and daylength are just too much for Pitanga, a plant thats probably happiest in Brazil. I kept mine inside from mid Oct to mid April or so and then set the pot outside for the remainder of the season.

Ive eaten a bunch of them in SW Florida. Theyre planted heavily at ECHO in Ft Myers. I grew seedlings and grafted a couple of good black fruited ones onto them after theyd grown for a couple of years. All of the ones Ive eaten were fairly pleasant tasting, with something of a piney resinous quality, but then I think ECHO imported better types, which are pretty universally black in my experience. The flesh doesn’t really come free of the skin, so Im not sure about that notion of spitting out the skin. I think the flavor permeates the fruit more than that anyway. The leaves have the same volatile aroma, as do the seeds.


Im growing them for the first time here. They have some fruit on them, though its not ripe yet. Ive heard some good reviews of them, and am excited to try them. The plants are nearly 10 ft tall currently- grown from seed sown in March and planted in the high tunnel. Tamarillo generally needs to finish ripening after its brought in in fall, and I thought the small fruits of the (apparently not THAT closely related) dwarf tamarillo would probably ripen far quicker.

What cool Solanaceous stuff is cultivated in Puerto Rico @Caesar ? I was there a few years ago and was really hoping to find some naranjillas but wasnt able to track any down.


I can relate to this curiosity of unrelated plants having similar characteristics. I assume it is the plant chemistry finding similar pathways for chemical synthesis of readily available substances in nature. Still I am amazed by the diversity and resourcefulness of the plant world.

These look like purple jaboticaba, in which case seedlings would take 5+ years to fruit. Red jaboticabas fruit in 3 years from seed I think red are the most precocious.

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they heard me beckon apparently

First impression was nice. Mild sweetness, with some non-specific complexity. Almost like the red headed stepchild of ground cherry and tamarillo. About 5 seconds in, I was hit with a bizarre bitterness that seemed to blossom from subtle to kind of intense. Sort of a marriage of solanaceous umami meets the hoppy yeast swill at the bottom of a strong IPA with a bit of mineral lime or some other alkanline substance. I really dont think Ive tasted anything that had such an arc to its flavor. Overall it wasnt too unpleasant. I have 6 plants, so perhaps one will exhibit less of this afterbite.