Star fruit and Tropicals in colder climates

Are there many here growing tropical trees in climates where you need to warm them at times in winter to survive?

I’m not up to buying or building a large greenhouse so things like mango are out of the question, but I’ve thought of star fruit.

It looks like star fruit fruits as a pretty small tree. I could see providing a cover that I could occasionally use and heat to get past the dozen or two freezes I get here.

Anyone growing star fruit? Can it be pruned to be kept small without affecting fruiting?


1 Like

I have it and she survided winter but it’s on a very sheltered place, planted right on the house wall…


i tried carambola ie star fruit a couple of times. They seemed to not appreciate winter growing conditions and died both times. If theyndid ok, I was planning to graft them to some good varieties. i love the fruit, so it seemed like a promising endeavor. One observation i’ve made in my various attempts at growing (mostly sub-) tropicals here is that flowering and fruiting time are important considerations. A lot of those plants tend to flower in the late fall or winter just as theyre being brought in. Even of they get past the reduction in temp and light (which tend to cause stress or outright death) the fruit either doesn’t set or is of overall poor quality. Loquats were like that for me too. Other fails include various guavas (including both true and cattleyana) and annonaceous fruits (cherimoya, atemoya, etc.)


I think you’ll find too wide a range of experiences with this phrasing. I’d narrow it to “along the Gulf coast” to get better answers for your particular situation.

For example, even my heated greenhouse here in zone 8b/9a in Seattle spends many times more hours per winter in the “too cold for tropical stuff” range than an unprotected tree would experience for you in coastal Louisiana. From late October to late March, my heated greenhouse got down into the 40s – often low 40s – virtually every single night, and a few nights down to the upper 30s. The outside low was obviously lower, and there wasn’t a single (outdoor) high above 60°F from mid-October to mid-March.

So, for west coast people, it’s a lot less feasible to zone push warmth-needing stuff to the degree someone along the Gulf coast can, since we are more continuously “cool” rather than mostly warm with occasional cold spells.

To bring it back to your original question, I could never get carambola to fruit here, probably not even in my greenhouse, but I bet it could work for you if you cover it and give it some incandescent string lights during cold snaps. I don’t have personal experience zone pushing it, but I think it would be worth trying.


Steady consumption of star fruit is linked to liver kidney dysfunction.


It’s folks with kidney disease that need to stay away from it. I have a healthy kidneys.

I’m probably not up to the task of providing protection anyway…


Will Pineapple Guava (aka Feijoa) work in your location?


Aaahhhh. Yeah should do. I looked at various varieties of guava as well.

I don’t want to plant more than one tree if possible so I’m not sure which would be the best choice. I have read that the pineapple guava is very cold hardy, relatively speaking.

My ‘average’ winter sees the lowest temps in the mid 20’s, but every so often I hit the upper teens…

Besides the pineapple guava I’m not sure what other good eating varieties would work.