Growing fruit in FL

I have a small plot of land in Cocoa Beach Fl area that I’m planning to grow few fruit trees in. I want one each of mango, papaya, avocado, lime, orange, pomegranate, coconut, jackfruit. Any advice on growing these? selecting varieties?
If you could only have one variety, what would you grow? Any advice is appreciated.



What about lychee?

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Nope…not really a fan :grin:

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Wow i love them!

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Stay away from citrus, jack fruit, and coconut. Citrus is diseased in Florida. the jackfruit will need a massive tree and you will wait a looooong time for fruit from coconut or jack fruit.

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What about Longan and Atemoya?

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Usually people that dont like lychee dont like rambutan or longan. Greening disease is really bad there on citrus like @poncirusguy said.

From what I’ve read,the citrus greening disease is mostly centered at the large commercial orchards and isolated trees can grow without getting infected.

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That’s near the northern edge of where mango grows, and might be too far north for jackfruit and coconut to survive a cold winter. I’ve also never heard of anyone getting pomegranate to do well in FL due to fungal problems, but I’m sure it’s possible at least. The rest should be straightforward enough, though the papaya may also suffer winter damage.

As a UF alum myself, I often encourage Floridians to read the relevant UF/IFAS publication before deciding whether to grow a particular type of tree in your location, and often to help you decide on cultivars as well, since they usually include a list of cultivars known to do well in FL. Here are all of them you listed except the citrus:

You’ll notice that they mostly include a very specific indication of the furthest north coastal town where each one is known to grow. For coconuts, that’s way down in Stuart, for mango it says they can grow “in protected locations as far north as Merritt Island,” which is right near you. Jackfruit is severely damaged by 32°F and killed by 28°, so they only recommend growing it somewhere that never experiences freezing temperatures.


@swincher, good info.

You probably know, Cocoa beach winter lows will be be ~10F warmer than Gainesville due to latitude and coastal effects.

@Susu guava and banana are also options.

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Yeah, though the UF guides cover the entire state.

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Yes I saw that.

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I’ve seen mango and coconut trees covered in fruit in neighboring properties. Never seen jackfruit though. Could be because of the temperature or could be because of lack of interest.thank you for the links. I’ll read though them.

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I don’t like how ratty bananas look after a while. :grinning:


I certainly didn’t mean to say you shouldn’t try them, but you may need to protect them in the next 10-year or 30-year “polar vortex” event. For mangoes, they should absolutely survive ok once they are big enough, but they may not fruit in years with bad winters unless you protect them. This year has been a very good one for mangoes in much of Florida, with cold and dry weather at just the right times of winter to stimulate flowering and healthy fruit set.

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See, this is the kind of stuff I didn’t know. That mango fruit set depends on how the winter was. I guess that makes sense. I can’t wait to try. But it’s ridiculous how much more expensive tropical fruit trees are compared to our regular apple and pear trees.

FL fruit trees

Fruits of Warm Climates

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I had no idea you were also a UF alum! That explains how you know so much about avocados from Gainesville haha.

Trees tend to do worse when transplanted in the heat of summer (May-Sep), especially citrus, unless you water them daily or are getting plenty of rain. It’s also worthwhile to check out if a tree is suited for sandy soil, and if not, amend the planting hole with some peat moss or compost for water retention, or else it will be constantly drying out.

I know lots of people growing mango in ground up to around Orlando without issue, you just need to protect young trees when a freeze is headed your way (which only usually happens 1 or 2 times per winter during the middle of the night in Cocoa Beach). Once mature they can usually handle down to around 28, with some limb dieback, but they will drop flowers/fruit if it dips below around 40F. Carrie Mango (20’ tall but can be kept trimmed shorter) and Ice Cream mango (dwarf ~6’, good if you are trying to fit a lot of trees in a small space) are both popular and do well here. Duncan is another good one (semi-dwarf can be maintained 8-10’ tall) which was developed in FL and it is extremely fungus resistant. Avoid Julie and Alphonso mangos as they tend to get fungus issues in our high humidity.

Strawberry papaya (aka sunrise papaya) is delicious and hardy to zone 9b. I don’t know any other types as that’s the best one I’ve ever tasted. There’s someone local in Gainesville who grows them from seed. I believe papaya only fruit well for a couple of years before you need to replace them.

I think all avocados are hardy to 9b, but I don’t like them so I know very little about them. @swincher is the avocado expert.

Pretty much any citrus should do well for you because they’re all pretty much hardy to 9b. Citrus greening is definitely a thing to watch out for here, but there is a cedar soil drench (Yardsafe) you can use each season to help combat against it, and also Organocide you can spray as an organic insecticide which doesn’t harm beneficial bees and ladybugs. I’ve also read that an extract from guava leaves can actually repel the citrus psyllid that causes greening, so there are some people starting to plant guava near their citrus trees to test out its repellent effect. If I could grow guava up here without a lot of protection, I would jump at the chance. People love Sumo (aka Dekopon or Shiranui) mandarins, but I personally don’t get the hype, maybe the one I got from the store was substandard. Whatever variety of citrus you like to eat will likely do okay in your yard, so I would just go with that. I have Meyer Lemon (in a container I can bring inside), Pineapple Orange (in ground), and Owari Satsuma (in ground).

There is an experimental pomegranate orchard originally funded by UF IFAS here in Gainesville, and they’ve been trialing 18 pomegranate varieties, but I do believe they don’t love our humidity and wet summers, being of mediterranean origin. I think if you’re growing to try growing one here, it needs to be an early ripening cultivar like Medovyi Vahsha or Sverkhranniy, but I don’t know anyone growing the second variety here. If you remind me in early August, I can ask the local pomegranate orchard owner about which cultivars are doing the best for them, as they usually have a U-pick event every year when the poms are ripe. They also sold 2-3’ grafted trees of several of their varieties last year.


I prefer “enthusiast” to “expert.” I know enough to know how little I know! But you are right that I neglected my duty to suggest cultivars.

I personally do not care for the West Indies types (most common in FL) as much as Mexican or Guatemalan types. However, West Indies types are well-adapted to FL soils, humidity, and fungal pressures.

If I were to pick just one variety for growing in the Cocoa Beach area, it would probably be “Oro Negro.” It has excellent flavor, similar to Mexican types, but is a hybrid that grows well in Florida.

Avocados do have a quirk of flowering where the flowers are in female and male phases at different times of day, so if your neighbors don’t have other cultivars that flower at complementary times, you may have minimal fruit set until the tree gets large enough that it’s basically covered in loose pollen 24/7 during flowering. To increase fruit set, you may want to plant a second cultivar of a complementary flowering type (I know, you said only one!). Oro Negro is type B, so you would want the other tree to be type A.

Choquette” is a good example of the classic Florida avocado, and is also type A, so that would be a good choice to pair with “Oro Negro,” assuming their flowering overlaps (I don’t know when each of those would start and finish flowering in that location).


The Sugar Belle mandarin cultivar is supposed to be tolerant of greening and I believe was developed at UF for that purpose. That one may be worth looking in to.