My Top 10 Fruit trees to grow in the Sub-tropics
I was giving a presentation to a Horticultural group the other day about Edible Gardening, and mentioned that my Tropical Apricot fruit tree has finally deigned to flower!
The group were very interested in an Apricot tree that would grow in the sub-tropics! Most Apricot trees need a certain amount of chill to flower and produce fruit. I had to explain that it wasn’t a traditional apricot, but a fruit tree named a tropical apricot because the fruit have a strong apricot taste!
The discussion got me thinking about what fruit trees grow easily in the sub-tropics. Which ones are productive and easy to grow.
So here is my list of the Top 10 Fruit trees you can grow in the sub-tropics.
The following list of fruit trees is in no particular order, and all of them are currently flourishing in my garden.
Number 1: Mango
Mango is one of those fruits that just instantly say “tropical”. There was a time when nearly every backyard in Queensland had a mango tree, but with the suburban backyard shrinking this is no longer the case. However, if you have the space this is definitely a fruit tree to grow. There are now many dwarf varieties that give great value for the space they take up.
I currently have a Kensington Pride or Bowen Mango which I think have the best flavour. I also have a Nam Doc Mai which is the Thai or Asian mango. It is fantastic in Green Mango salad.
Mangoes are easy to grow in the tropics and sub-tropics. Just make sure they have plenty of sunlight, well drained soil, food and water.
Number 2: Davidson Plum
I had not even heard of the Davidson plum until a few years ago when I went to a native foods workshop. I was so taken with Davidson plums that I now have two fruit trees growing in my garden.
The Davidson plum fruit is very sour. Too sour to eat raw in my opinion, but it makes a delightful jam and chutney.
Davidson plum trees are easy to grow. However it can take a few years to bear fruits.
Number 3: Tropical Peach
Most peaches need winter chill to produce fruit. However the tropical peach is a low chill variety that grows really well in the sub-tropics.
This is a great fruit tree as it will grow and produce fruit even in a large pot.
My tropical peach is growing in a large pot and this year the tree is covered in bright pink blossoms which have all set to fruit. I am hoping for a bumper crop of peaches.
The fruit have a lovely flavour and easily rival any of the traditional peaches in taste.
Number 4: Pawpaw
I did not used to be a fan of Pawpaw until I tried the fruit when it was home-grown, straight from the tree. It’s like being introduced to a totally different fruit! Thanks to my cousin Neil for the introduction else I would still turn up my nose at Pawpaws!
I have two Pawpaw fruit trees. The largest is actually a male Pawpaw tree, that I planted for the beautiful perfume that the flowers have. However, my male Pawpaw has transgender issues and regularly produces fruit.
Pawpaw trees can easily be grown in large pots, so are suitable for courtyard gardens or small backyards. I often use the fruit green in a Thai Green Pawpaw salad.
Number 5: Citrus
There are soo many different varieties of citrus that you could almost make a list just of the top 10 citrus fruit trees. You can choose between traditional lemon trees, lime trees, grapefruit, mandarine and lemonade trees. All these citrus grow well in the subtropics.
Once established a citrus tree will just keep on providing fruit, as long as you meet its requirements of plenty of food, some compost and water!
Citrus trees grow well in large pots, so are suitable for small gardens and courtyards.
Number 6: Tropical Nectarine
Most nectarines need winter chill to produce fruit. However there are several tropical nectarine varieties available. These are low chill varieties that grow really well in the sub-tropics.
I have both the White Satin tropical nectarine and the dwarf red sunset fruit trees. The Dwarf sunset has rich deep crimson leaves.
Both my tropical nectarines are growing in the garden, but they will grow and produce fruit in a large pot. The dwarf red sunset only grows to around a metre high so it great for the small courtyard garden. The fruit have a lovely flavour, but you do need to be vigilant for fruit fly as it is a big attractant.
Number 7: Blueberry
Although not strictly a fruit tree, Blueberries are a great shrub to have in your edible garden. They are so easy to grow in the subtropics that I have about 7 different Blueberry plants.
They grow well both in pots and in the ground and will provide fruit all year round, although most fruit is provided in spring.
Blueberry plants are pretty hardy and very little attacks the fruit, although one client has complained that she has to fight her chickens for the fruit as they have developed a love of blueberries!
Number 8: Tropical Apricot
The tropical apricot is not a traditional apricot as all true apricots need a winter chill to produce fruit. Rather the tropical apricot is a berry that was developed in Florida.
I have had a tropical apricot growing in a large pot for about 4 years now. However it has yet to give me any fruit.
Apparently the fruit has a strong apricot taste, hence the name, but is very sour and needs to be cooked to make it edible. My tropical apricot has been covered in blossom this year so I am hoping for my first crop!
Number 9: Pomegranate
If more people knew how easy Pomegrante fruit trees were to grow I think there would be a lot more backyards growing pomegranates.
The tree is deciduous even in the sub-tropics, so you have bare branches over winter but this is more than made up for with the flush of spring growth and the vivid orange flowers.
Almost all the flowers seem to get pollinated and result in fruit. After the first year I decided that I needed to reduce the number of fruit on the tree as it nearly toppled under the weight! However, I regularly get a lovely crop of pomegranates.
I love pomegranates in a fresh dressing over summer salads.
Number 10: Jaboticaba
The Jaboticaba is probably the least known of the Fruit trees covered in this article.
It is a tropical plant and although it can grow as far south as the central coast.
The Jaboticaba is unusual in that the fruit are actually produced on the trunk of the tree. The fruit look like grapes so it is sometimes called the tropical grape tree.
It grows in full sun to semi to shade and has reasonable water water requirements.
These are my picks of the Top 10 Fruit trees to grow in the sub-tropics. Let us know in the comments area which fruits are your favourites to grow!
Happy Gardening from Rohanne, Your Personal Garden Expert 🙂