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What are some Surprisingly cold tolerant fruit trees (tropical) ?

 
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Has anyone living in zone 8 or 9 attempted tropical fruit trees and been surprised by the cold hardiness?  As in surviving temps they shouldn't or surviving with minimal protection.  I am in north Florida near Georgia border, curious with what I could get away with.
 
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I've heard Mountain Papaya are good to 18F.  
 
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Longan, wampee, and Kei apple to name a few.
 
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figs are considered tropical, but the Chicago Hardy Fig is so named, because it's even hardy, all the way up there.
 
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I don't know if they're considered tropical,  but pineapple guava and yuzu citrus would do well I imagine.
 
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Carla Burke wrote: figs are considered tropical, but the Chicago Hardy Fig is so named, because it's even hardy, all the way up there.



Figs are Mediterranean, not tropical. Their natural environment is very dry.

There’s a difference between tropical and sub-tropical. When people say ‘tropical’ they seem to mean sub-tropical. Tropical flora need very high humidity and warm weather year-round. Sub-tropicals prefer humidity and warm weather but can handle cool weather and dry air under the right conditions.

Under the right conditions you might manage grow the following sub-tropicals in a cold snow-free climate:

Mango
Avocado
Macadamia
Cherimoya
Bananas

I’m in a zone 10 Mediterranean climate and find the hardest part of sub-tropicals to be not the temperature but the need for high humidity and their sensitivity to sunburn.

For an Australian equivalent zone you can look at what people go in Victoria and Tasmania.
 
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i am zone 8 and have given up trying supposedly hardy tropicals--or their varieties that are said to be----i think if you have a heated space to keep them until they get some growth and a few years of getting used to a lower temp or wider temp range and fluctuation its possible ---but i dont ---and the ones i have tried --like figs and lemon ,hardy orange ,avocado,macadamia---all were very slow and only got worse each season---until a long colder than our usual winter just knocked them all---theres a good site on an australian fruit growers ---with lots of info around melbourne area and what some have had success with---i am now trying to go for more northern type trees that have a tropical ---or as close as possible ---taste to their fruit
 
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Jujube, mayhaw , loquat, pomelo, white tupelo, persimmon all did well in Gainesville
 
Chris Mike
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Thank you for the suggestions, I had not heard of some... like the wampee, I'm very interested..  I have tried the Fejoia someone mentioned, they are doing fantastic!
 
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yeah pineapple guava is more hardy than other types of guava. and very pretty, with cool flowers that are edible...

i was trying some guava types in zone 8, but protecting them.
thats zone 8a, but in z9 i think you could pull off guava.   --> cold hardy guava  --->

Kiwis, and many passionflowers/ passionfruits can grow well in Zone 9, a bit iffy in zone 8a, but i was growing quite a few, some were making it mostly, but yeah slowly and losing a lot of growth in winter.

Kiwi is definitely not tropical, it is hardy in zone 8a. like many vines -they like sun on the tips, but cool at the roots.

i havent tried it but i think Moringa could be good in zone 8 or higher...

papaya too, as mentioned above, it can handle zone 8.

pomegranate does very well...i was also growing loquats.

tried some avocados, but yeah they were struggling a LOT. and these were cold hardy avocados, too...a bit more cold tolerant...

in zone 9 you could definitely pull off some lemons, and mandarins. theres some hardy mandarins that would be ok in Zone 8b, but still a bit iffy in z8a.

Kumquats too...those are the hardiest section of the citrus family  -->  zone 8 citrus
 
Carla Burke
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Tim Kivi wrote:

Carla Burke wrote: figs are considered tropical, but the Chicago Hardy Fig is so named, because it's even hardy, all the way up there.



Figs are Mediterranean, not tropical. Their natural environment is very dry.

There’s a difference between tropical and sub-tropical. When people say ‘tropical’ they seem to mean sub-tropical. Tropical flora need very high humidity and warm weather year-round. Sub-tropicals prefer humidity and warm weather but can handle cool weather and dry air under the right conditions.

Under the right conditions you might manage grow the following sub-tropicals in a cold snow-free climate:

Mango
Avocado
Macadamia
Cherimoya
Bananas

I’m in a zone 10 Mediterranean climate and find the hardest part of sub-tropicals to be not the temperature but the need for high humidity and their sensitivity to sunburn.

For an Australian equivalent zone you can look at what people go in Victoria and Tasmania.



I stand corrected! ;)
 
tony uljee
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i am trying a long term project---got some burdikin plum germinated and still growing so far ---no heat or greenhouse---its supposed to be frost hardy ---a relative of the mango family---so i will try to frankenstein a mango graft onto it when its a suitable size ---more reading up to do as i have no idea yet on when that will be ----and have read that the mexican hawtorn is suitable to graft a peach onto---so i have some of those that have germinated and have some blood peach pits that will hopefully be germinating in spring
 
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Pineapple guava has done well for me in Z8. This is the 3rd year I've had my plants and the first year they've made fruit, so I'm hoping to save seeds and germinate them (because I've had zero success with cuttings).
My mature pomegranate does fine in winter, and I'll find out how the seedlings from this year do since they were out in 24° weather last week.
My only fig is Chicago Hardy, but there's supposedly other cultivars that can tolerate Z8 winters.
My Olive tree handles the cold with no problem and typically keeps it's leaves all winter.
I always put my Moringa in the greenhouse during the winter, but am going to try some zone-pushing with the seeds it made this year.
I just got my Haas avocado this year and brought it in before the freeze since it wasn't in great shape when I bought it.
I have a dwarf Barbados cherry in the ground so we'll see how it does. They're supposed to be hardy in in my zone. Same with my bay laurel.
I am experimenting with a seed-grown lemon tree this winter (because it's so thorny that I didn't want it in the greenhouse lol). I did wrap it with a feed sack and put it by my hot compost pile, and it is alive still although it is looking a little rough.
It's always fun to see what I can get to grow in my zone and in the microclimate around my house and farm.
 
Dan Allen
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Olives are not tropical but would do really good there.
 
Tim Kivi
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If there’s a rare fruit society or something equivalent near you, they’re well worth visiting.

By chance I met a backyard hobbyist a few weeks ago who is focusing on sub-tropical flora for my climate, and she’s a good gardener so she’s successful at it. I’m taking the opposite route though and focusing on what’s best suited to my area as it’s just so much easier and cheaper.
 
Chris Mike
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I really want to try guava, because I have been told that it will grow back from the root if it is froze, however I don't know if this would be worthwhile.  It might remain weak and small... anyone have experience with this?  Also wonder if passionfruit would survive being frozen to ground and regrow...there is not much info out there.
 
Kc Simmons
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My passion fruit vines always die back to the ground after the first freeze and then sends up multiple new shoots in spring. Even though it starts over from the ground, it seems like it gets more vigorous and covers more space each year.
 
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Chris Mike wrote:I really want to try guava, because I have been told that it will grow back from the root if it is froze, however I don't know if this would be worthwhile.  It might remain weak and small... anyone have experience with this?  Also wonder if passionfruit would survive being frozen to ground and regrow...there is not much info out there.


What zone are you in Florida, Chris? I see strong fruiting guavas in 9, we don't get hard frost but just occasional ones and they do just fine (guava guavas as well as strawberry guavas). If you were to put it in a sheltered area or along a wall that retains heat i think it would be golden.
As for passionfruit- again, in 9b they drop their leaves but the vines are fine. Colder areas, not sure. I always plant them along a wall that catches afternoon sun and that helps.
 
leila hamaya
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i have grown both guava and passionflowers of different kinds in both zone 8a, and also zone 9 (although its a lukewarm zone 9 as found on the far north coast of cali).
because these are long term plants, my issue has been that i move before they get super productive ...but i have had success and definitely think these are good ones for zone 8-9.
also i was starting from seeds, which means years before you get any momentum, but at least very cheap for a lot of plants.

though, there are different varieties. the pineapple guava talked about here is a particularly hardy variety, those are good in zone 8 and may even be good in zone 7b.
cattelay guava (spelling??) - aka strawberry guava is also good in zone 8.

common guava is not really a true tropical, its a subtropical, and grows in the mountains. in the mountains of warm areas you always get cooler temps and especially nice cooler nights, so i think it grows better in a cooler than tropical climate. i am unsure it would be that happy in a truly tropical type climate, but its a resilient and adaptable plant so maybe it would be ok.

so yeah with common guava it probably matters it's it's 8a or 8b, theres a really big difference between them, actually...thats about the difference between growing a lemon without any protection in the ground, and fussing with protecting it each year.

so yeah i got common guava going pretty well in zone 9, north coast of cal which is often grey and cool, despite being zone 9. and grown pineapple guava in both z9 and z8a....seen a lot of pineapple guava all over zone 8, theres some huge ones in Ashland, which is a cool zone 8a.

other types you will have to experiment with, if you start from seeds theres a little less riding on it.

with passionflower / passion fruits...its the same. theres a ton of different types.
the Maypop, an american native plant, you can grow those in zone 7a. they die back to the roots and come up every year bigger and better with more stems.

Passiflora caerulea is also more hardy than others, and could grow in a solidly zone 8. it isnt the best for fruit though, but it's used as a rootstock some times for Passiflora edulis, which is the common eating types, yellow or purple. p. edulis is a zone 9-12 plant though, i was growing these in large pots and protecting them in winter.

another hardy ish type is the banana passionfruit ...which there are several varieties. there's Passiflora tarmiana (red or white flowered), and Passionflower mollisima both of which produce an oblong banana ish shaped fruit...and actually several other species which may be more closely related than their catagorization suggests...

these are from cooler mountain climates...actually Passiflora Tarmiana will not do well in a tropical climate, it prefers places with cool temps, and did well in the lukewarm climate of far north coast of Cali, and zone 8a, although i would also protect them some, growing in pots and covering for winter. they may do ok in the ground in zone 8.

most of the others are best in zone 9 -12
 
leila hamaya
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anywho, i guess i wandered from fruit trees...into what's awesome in zone 8 ? obviously theres other vines, and perennials that are good here...but its ok =)
 
tony uljee
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not really a fruit to eat as such but has surprised me ---gumbi gumbi---its been slow but has survived 2 seasons now of cold and frosts---some lose leaves but keep coming back and another is the terebinth pistachio---survives 4 years of frost and cold seasons --yet every year leaves grow back and it puts on a bit more growth
 
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Cold hardy tropicals (or tropicalesque) that I've had luck with here in North Georgia:

Pineapple guava (Acca sellowiana), I've noticed no winter damage to these.
Owari Satsuma Mandarin (Citrus reticulata "Owari") these are planted in the ground in a mostly unheated greenhouse, but I think they would be fine through most of the winter here outside.

I'm experimenting with a few other citrus-

citrus trifoliata- completely hardy here, but questionably edible fruit (I make jelly sometimes).
Citrangequat- Cross between trifoliate orange, mandarin and kumquat- planted outdoors- a bit of winter danage, but has come back the last three years, still hasn't gotten big enough to fruit.

Not tropical, but exotic to some:

Figs My oldest tree gave me more figs than you can shake a stick at this year.
Wild maypop/passion fruit (passiflora incarnata) :  Volunteered,  keep spreading on anything they can climb on.
Japanese persimmon (Diospyros ) A farmer near me has a whole orchard.

 
Chris Mike
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Tereza Okava wrote:
What zone are you in Florida, Chris?



I don't know what to make of my zone, it's supposedly 8 (lower...would that be B?).  However I have live here four years and we have not had a frost in the two acres around the house (some in the back two, which is wide open facing north).  The winters have been really mild so far, last winter didn't go below 28 on our property!!!  I think I'm being tricked and need to be brought back to reality.  Oh by the way this is the big bend area of Florida, near panhandle.
 
Tereza Okava
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Gotcha, I saw 8/9 and I know that microclimate can be a real question mark sometimes! I think if you can create some wind barriers and take advantage of sun you might be able to squeak by.....
(i'm not sure about the a/b thing. I am totally surrounded by 10 but in our tiny little area elevation knocks us down to 9, and the humidity is supposedly the B. But the USDA was DEFINITELY not thinking about where I live when they invented the hardiness zones.....)
 
Mike Haasl
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A is colder than B.  So zone 8a can get down to 10F, 8b can get down to 15f and 9a can get down to 20f
 
Tim Kivi
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Passionfruit requires grafting onto a cold-tolerant rootstock. In Australia it’s the blue passionfruit (passiflora caerulea) that’s used as a rootstock and it’s very hardy as it shoots suckers up everywhere. It’s used in southern Australia. You then graft a desirable cultivar onto the base of the blue passionfruit; here the common desirable types are black, Panama gold and panama red.

My grafted passionfruit is growing really well but hasn’t produced any flowers and I don’t know why.

When I pull out a passionfruit sucker I place it in a glass of water in the kitchen and let new roots grow- takes about 2 weeks. I then pot it. I have about ten blue passionfruit rootstocks growing now but they’re very thin. I could easily end up with a hundred individual passionfruit rootstock vines from a single plant if I want. The scion has to be trimmed every year anyway to encourage new fruit, so you might as well graft them onto useless suckers made into rootstock since they keep popping up anyway.

Passionfruit only live for about seven years, so you need to keep replanting them. I have a really hard spot to grow anything and I don’t know why. I’m looking forward to planting my vigorous home-grafted passionfruit there because the roots spread everywhere so maybe they’ll find water and fight competing roots better than everything else I planted.
 
Chris Mike
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It appears white sapote has some cold hardiness, and I would really like to try this even thought it would be pushing it.  Does anyone have experience with this tree in a upper zone 8 or lower zone 9?
 
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Be sure to try the Jelly or Pindo palm, Butia capitata.  It is slow growing but easily hard throughout zone 8 and possibly colder, and will produce an abundance of fruit when mature.  Big clusters of orange berries, the size of a muscadine grape or larger, each with a single pit.  Sort of pineapple tasting.  Makes good wine  The tree needs no pollinator, is tough to drought and storm, and is evergreen and beautiful.
 
Chris Mike
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Alder Burns wrote:Be sure to try the Jelly or Pindo palm, Butia capitata.  



Yes those are all around awesome.  I have planted three, they are growing very good!  They are very pretty trees...I have loved watching them get bigger and bigger over the last few years.  I would say they are over planted in north florida or coastal south but I like them alot so I can't whine.  One palm was actually a seedling growing wild on the property a bird must have pooped out...very lucky!
 
Chris Mike
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Actually that would be kind a big for a bird...I guess a larger animal!
 
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I too live in North Florida and would highly recommend the Avocado varieties Fantastic and Joey. I spoke with a gentleman from Gainesville who was trying the Silas Wood variety of Sapodilla and it is working for now, but that's definitely pushing it.  Pete Kanaris https://greendreamsfl.com has mentioned that some varieties of Starfruit may be cold hardy, as well as Jaboticaba.  I can vouch for no protection from the cold (my yard) on the Avocados, but the Sapodilla, Starfruit and Jaboticaba I believe would definitely need some sort of protection.  Pete, as mentioned above, David The Good https://thesurvialgardener.com and Craig Hepworth https://floridafruitgeek.com are for pushing the zone and offer a ton of advice on their web-sites and social media such as Instagram.  Craig is a wealth of knowledge for growing in this North Florida climate!  A couple of nurseries in your area https://justfruitsandexotics.com (Crawfordville, FL) and https://noblesgreenhouse.com (Live Oak, FL) are really nice!  They offer many cold hardy varieties and they are definitely worth a visit.
 
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While not an actual tropical.  Pawpaw (asimina triloba)  fits all the looks of a tropical.
Really large glossy leaves and relatively large fruit compared to any other North American fruit.
 
Cris Bessette
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Jay Grace wrote:While not an actual tropical.  Pawpaw (asimina triloba)  fits all the looks of a tropical.
Really large glossy leaves and relatively large fruit compared to any other North American fruit.



I second this.  They are the only hardy member of a tropical family of trees. The leaves are huge.
Not to mention, one of the tastiest fruit in this solar system.
 
Chris Mike
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Hugh Holland wrote:A couple of nurseries in your area https://justfruitsandexotics.com (Crawfordville, FL) and https://noblesgreenhouse.com (Live Oak, FL) are really nice!  



I actually live about directly halfway between these two and have been to both!  I have gotten many things from them!  I'm glad so many people seem to know about them (at least crawfordville).
 
Chris Mike
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Although I start discussion on tropical trees, the moment it starts getting cold (freezes the last two nights) I have to admit I start to change my mind...  I'm such a wimp.
 
Mike Haasl
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For those who don't know, we have a Seed and Plant Source Review Grid that links to threads on permies about various nurseries and plant suppliers.  I've seen a number of nurseries mentioned in this thread and if you have experience with them, feel free to make a review thread or add a review to an existing thread.  There's a tutorial at the bottom of the grid.  

Pro tip:  I hear apples are occasionally chucked at people who do reviews.  
 
Hugh Holland
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Chris Mike wrote:Although I start discussion on tropical trees, the moment it starts getting cold (freezes the last two nights) I have to admit I start to change my mind...  I'm such a wimp.



You said it brother!  My Papayas look terrible:(  Pushing the zone on nights like these, makes one have second thoughts;)
 
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Chris Mike wrote:

Hugh Holland wrote:A couple of nurseries in your area https://justfruitsandexotics.com (Crawfordville, FL) and https://noblesgreenhouse.com (Live Oak, FL) are really nice!  



I actually live about directly halfway between these two and have been to both!  I have gotten many things from them!  I'm glad so many people seem to know about them (at least crawfordville).



They are both quality places and if you are ever in Central Florida you gotta go to https://anaturalfarm.com.  John Kohler from https://growingyourgreens.com did a Youtube segment on this place.  It's worth the watch and the nursery is worth a visit!
 
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In south Spain I remember cherimoya did extremely well. Avocado and mango also good. Papayas grew big, but were tasteless, but this may vary...
 
Kc Simmons
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[quote=Chris Mike]Although I start discussion on tropical trees, the moment it starts getting cold (freezes the last two nights) I have to admit I start to change my mind...  I'm such a wimp.[/quote]

Same here! This was the first time I tried to push the zone with a few things that should, theoretically, be fairly easy to keep alive. Then we got that artic blast front in early November, and the temps dropped from 75° to 22° in about 12 hours; which was very unusual cold for the area. Generally, we only hit the low 20's a handful of nights a year in January or Feb, and that's typically just for a few hours during the night. So I was hoping to have more time to get everything settled and make adjustments as it slowly got colder like it normally does. After that 3-4 days of cold, most days have been back in the mid 70's, and lows have mostly been in the high 40s/low 50s, which is about normal (if not a little warmer than normal). *Insert eye roll*
I had some casualties and some successes so far. The 2 or 3 year old potted lemon tree from seed pulled through due to me putting a paper feed sack over the top & putting it on top of the hot compost pile. The castor bean plant I buried in mulch is still going, as well as a little spider plant I stuck in the ground to experiment with.
The 2 cranberry hibiscus were buried under mulch, but still died, unless they come back from the roots. I'm hoping all of my baby pomegranates I grew from seed last summer are just dormant and not dead, and same for the figs I grew from cuttings. The poms & the figs are supposed to be cold-hardy, though. The pineapple guavas didn't miss a beat, the young apple, peach, and pear trees still have all of their leaves.
Most of the other stuff I put in the heated greenhouse because I didn't want to risk losing them. The stuff I left out to overwinter are things I, either didn't mind losing (I hate the lemon tree with it's huge thorns), or were things I'd propagated from cuttings and put my stock plants in the greenhouse.
I figured it's a learning experience and I'll observe what does/doesn't work each year, and make adjustments as needed.
 
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