Fruit trees

Available for pickup: Potted fruit trees, including named varieties of loquat, cold hardy avocado. Cherry of the Rio Grande, jaboticaba, rare mulberry varieties, and more.
The nursery is a very small, one-person operation. Open by appointment only, in Citra Florida. If you see anything you want to buy, make a list of what you are interested in and send it to me via the contact page. I’ll get back to you confirming availability, and we can set an appointment time for you to stop by the nursery in Citra to pick up your plants.

Avocado (Persea americana subsp. drymifolia)

These are selections of the Mexican subspecies of avocado (Persea americana subs. drymifolia), which are more cold tolerant than commercially grown varieties. Mature trees can take winter lows (at least briefly) down to about 18F, while ‘Del Rio’ might be slightly more cold hardy – I’ve seen it handle dips to 15F with minimal damage.

Fruits are somewhat smaller than commercial types, with a larger seed. but they tend to have a higher oil content which gives them a more rich flavor. They have a very thin, edible skin, so you can eat them skin and all like an apple, or mash the flesh and skin together to make guacamole or avocado toast.

Unlike other types of avocado, Mexican varieties seem to prefer light shade their first few year (at least shade from the mid-day Florida summer sun). You can achieve this by planting just north of another tree, or by placing shade cloth on a structure over the avocado for its first two years. Once the plant gets about 8-10 feet tall, it can handle full Florida sun. Avocado trees are sensitive to wet feet – make sure to choose a planting location that is not subject to saturated soil after heavy rain events. If necessary, build up a mound of soil and plant your avocado tree on that.

For more extensive information on growing cold hardy avocados, see this article I wrote about them.

‘Del Rio’ Green-skinned fruits 3-4 ounces, occasionally 5 ounces. Flesh is extremely dense, rich, and oily. Makes an excellent guacamole when mashed with juice of sour orange and dash of salt. Hardy to about 15F when a mature tree.

‘Del Rio’ avocado: 3g grafted or air layered, $65

Banana (Musa sp.)

‘Dwarf Orinoco’ is a reliable producer in North Florida.

This year I just have one variety of banana plant for sale, ‘Dwarf Orinoco’. This has proven to be a reliable producer of fruit in North Florida. At maturity the trunk is about five to six feet tall, and the leaves extend another five feet or so upward and outward. Also known in many areas as Burro banana, this is a plantain-like type, great for cooking. If you let the fruits get very ripe, they are also great for eating out of hand.

‘Dwarf Orinoco’ banana: 3g $40

Guava, Cattley (Psidium cattleyanum)

A cousin of tropical guava with smaller fruits and a smaller plant, and can take more cold than tropical guava. Hardy to upper teens F. Flavor is good, does not have the fragrance of tropical guava. Can produce fruit in a fair bit of shade, although flavor seems best on plants growing in sun. Grows on a shrub to small tree, five to ten feet tall. There are both red-fruited and green-fruited forms, which are very similar apart from the color. I sometimes have one or the other available.

Red Cattley guava: 3g $25

Yellow Cattley guava: 3g $25 (sold out)

Guava Berry (Psidum firmum)

This is a recent acquisition from the great folks at Cody Cove Farm. I have very little experience with it so far. Reportedly grows as a shrub, is potentially cold hardy into the teens F, and is nearly everbearing, with a flavor even better than Cattley guava. We don’t yet know if it is sensitive to nematodes (different Psidium species vary in their nematode sensitivity). Reportedly it fruits so well as a small plant, it might make a good container specimen on a patio. This is potentially an exciting plant especially for the northern part of Florida. I should know much more about it in a year or two, but I am making available plants of it now for anyone who wants to be on the cutting edge of edible plant experimentation.

Psidium firmum: 3g $40

Jaboticaba (Plinia/Myrciaria spp.)

Native to Brazil, jaboticaba is extremely popular and beloved by many in its home country. The plants grow as a shrub to small tree, and fruits look like big round grapes growing right out of the tree trunk. Taste is a bit like a really good grape, with tropical spice.

Jaboticaba plants can take winter lows dipping to about the mid 20s F, and will need protection during freezing weather which dips below that level. They are usually not large plants in Florida , so they are easy to cover – usually not more than about ten feet tall here (although they can get much bigger in their homeland of Brazil). The plants are slow growing. They like moist soil and can handle wet feet.

Purple jaboticaba (Sabarah variety) has been grown in Florida for many decades. Plants start fruiting when it reaches about six to seven feet tall, and in North Florida usually makes one main crop a year in spring, with occasional fruits the rest of the year. Flavor is excellent.

Red jaboticaba is more precocious than the purple type, it starts fruiting at a younger age and smaller size than purple jaboticaba, once it reaches about two to four feet tall. Red jaboticaba can make multiple crops a year, so its total annual production is much higher than the purple form. Flavor is excellent, especially if you let the fruits ripen on the plant till they are almost a blackish red color.

Purple jaboticaba (“Sabarah” type): 3 gal $40
Red jaboticaba: 3 gal $60 (sold out)

Kadushi cactus (Cereus repandus/peruvianus)

Also known as Peruvian apple cactus. In my opinion this is the best fruiting cactus for North Florida, and is an underutilized fruiting plant for this region. The eating experience is similar to many types of dragon fruit – texture is like shaved ice or watermelon with tiny crunchy seeds, flavor is mildly sweet with floral notes that remind me of roses and violets. (I prefer the flavor of these to the “prickly pear” types of genus Opuntia).

Unlike dragonfruit, kadushi plants can handle a hard freeze, tolerating temperatures down to roughly 20F (-7C) – the exact cold hardiness probably varies from cultivar to cultivar. Consequently, we can grow kadushi plants in this area out in the open in my area of North Florida., while dragonfruit would require substantial winter protection here. Another advantage of kadushi is that the plants are free standing, while dragon fruit is a vine that requires a structure to climb on.

Flavor of kadushi varies from plant to plant. I am selecting varieties with especially good tasting fruits and naming them as cultivars. So far the first one I have available is variety ‘Don Knight’. It has good flavor and appears to be self pollinating.

‘Don Knight’ kadushi: 3g $40

Loquat (Eriobotya japonica)

Loquat variety ‘Ellen Marker’

Loquat trees are commonly used as ornamentals in North and Central Florida. These landscape loquate trees were never selected for fruit production, so quality is varable. Named varieties have been selected for larger, sweeter fruit. My own selection ‘Ellen Marker’ resulted from a seed from Larry Shatzer’s breeding pool of improved loquat varieties. The seedling tree, planted in the ground at my place, took 15 years for first fruit production in 2019. It has large fruits with a good flesh to seed ratio, and an outstanding, distinctive flavor, among the best of any named variety loquat I’ve eaten. While most loquats to me taste like a peach-apricot mix, ‘Ellen Marker’ fruits taste like peach mixed with sweet table grapes, and a spritz of lemon. I’m excited to finally be able to offer plants of this for sale. (Note: fruit quality seems best when the developing fruits are not exposed to temperatures much below freezing, so this might not taste consistently as good in colder parts of North Florida.)

‘Ellen Marker’ loquat: 3g $65

Mulberry (Morus sp.)

Mulberries are rapidly growing fruit trees that produce abundant quantities of sweet, antioxidant-rich berries. Mulberry trees like rich, moist soil, and can tolerate wet feet. Some varieties can handle extreme cold and grow in far northern areas. Others are adapted more to the tropics or subtropics. Mulberry drop a lot of fruits, which can stain anything underneath them, so they are best planted where the fruits won’t be landing on walkways, decks, driveways, or anyplace where that would be a concern.

‘Sixth Street’ is an old standby mulberry in North Florida. It reliably produces large crops of purple-black berries every spring with good sweet flavor. Probably a form of Morus alba.

‘Himalayan FSP’ is the outstanding form of Himalayan mulberry from the Fruit and Spice Park. It has the most delicious fruits of any mulberries I know. Berries are three inches long. NOT the same as variety ‘Pakistan’, this cultivar has better flavor and better ability to stay dormant through warm periods during winter. The plants I sell are grafted onto nematode-tolerant rootstock.

‘Sixth Street’ (own root) mulberry, 3g $30

‘Himalayan FSP; (grafted) mulberry 3g $75 (sold out, should be available in June, message me to be notified when available)