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Tropical Fruit Bug!

San Rafael, CA(Zone 9b)

i got the tropical fruit bug and just ordered a bunch more trees.

i already had 3 mangos (carrie, ice cream, lancetilla) but just ordered another mango (glen), chaffey cheimoya, and hass avocado.

i know it is going to be work to keep them alive during our cold nights (we had a few in the low 30's this year...about 3 nights total..our usual low is in the low 40's, but my husband is willing to help build a structure for those especially cold nights. )

i am just so excited and started a blog to track my progression.

ps. i just chooped my icecram and carrie mango down over a foot to keep the tree bushy and not tall...

Nassau County, NY(Zone 7a)

Hi, where do you order the fruit trees, any advise for me? Good luck with your delicious babies, lol!

Sarasota, FL

We recently had temps of 31-32 with wind. The trees are ok but some flower spikes got zapped.
Years back I had my tipi covering a avocado along with the larger sized xmastree outdoor lights. Did great. That was zone 9-a.
Have you tried white sapote fruits? If you like them, it can be fun to try. How about miracle fruit?

Nassau County, NY(Zone 7a)

OMG Sapote is sooooo good!

Saint Petersburg, FL

Tammy, I'm afraid to inform you that the tropical fruit bug is incurable. It leads to frequent bouts of plant buying, and serious insomnia as you stay awake worrying about keeping your babies alive in less than ideal conditions.

If citrus works in your area, then white sapote should as well. Mangos are a little less hardy, as are cherimoyas, and lychees. If it's sunny and warm enough, you might want to try dragon fruit.

I can't recommend a lot of others because what works in Florida doesn't necessarily work in California, but the California Rare Fruit Growers has plenty of info.

San Rafael, CA(Zone 9b)

clemen: i have bought from a few different sources...top tropics, PI, and Laverne in california.

kalp: we just had a cold wind blow through and tonight is supposed to get C-O-L-D...they say down to 36 degrees...we are usually in our mid 40's. luckily i have an atrium so i brought the trees in. they will be protected and it will only get as low as 41-42 ish.. i have not tried sapote fruit...at least not that i know of. what do they taste like?

caolyn: we can grow citrus here pretty easily. there is a very neglected meyer lemon and my parents have orange, lemon, grapefruit trees and never did anything special with them. i bought a chaffey cherimoya that is supposed to be more cold tolerant so we will see about that. i am also thinking lychee and dragonfruit next.

Saint Petersburg, FL

Tammy you might want to consider a Starfruit as well. Fairly low maintenance trees here in Florida anyway, and they don't get that big.

Nassau County, NY(Zone 7a)

Tammy, I looked at that tropics site, OMG, I was going crazy. Have not ordered anything yet, need to find something that it can be grown in a container since I have to bring everything indoors for the winter. I saw a dwarf guava and a dwarf Ylang Yllang!

Carolyn, how big does the star fruit tree gets??? That is a very pretty fruit isn't it?? They make juice out of it in my native country!

Saint Petersburg, FL

Clemen, Maybe 15 feet here in Florida? They can be kept in pots too, which controls the size. It's a beautiful fruit, and a not unattractive tree either.

San Rafael, CA(Zone 9b)


also, there are some mangos that stay small and can be kept in pots that actually fruit like the carrie, ice cream...

they are dwarf so they will be aroun 6-10 ft if pruned properly.

Nassau County, NY(Zone 7a)

Boy Carolyn, I guess i cannot bring in a 15 foot tree indoors, grrrrrrrrr, same thing goes for the mangos, Tammy, well 6 feet will do. I have brugs that are over 7 feet overwintering. Thanks guys! I still need to take a pic of my babies, I was able to repot them today!

Saint Petersburg, FL

Clemen you could probably keep both the mango and the starfruit at 6-7 feet in a pot. There's even a smaller lychee you could try (Emperor).

Or what about a pineapple or strawberry guava for the collection? Or a gruimchama? They're well suited to pot culture.

Nassau County, NY(Zone 7a)

Carolyn, you are a trouble maker, lol, hubbie is going to kick me out of the house one day for having too many plants, hehe. Love the suggestions, now need to decide which i the best one for me!

Saint Petersburg, FL

Clemen, Who...me??? ;)

My husband claims he has to machete his way in and out the front door. Which of course is mostly untrue.

Nassau County, NY(Zone 7a)

Ha ha ha Carolyn, machete??? did we kidnap the thread??? Tammy I apologize! Got off topic. I know you are a good sports though!

I looked through the tropic site today and was ready to order the Ylang Ylang dwarf tree, then I noticed someone posted that the flowers were not fragrant, grrrrrrrrrr. Will look into the lychees now, yummie delicious! Tammy, I do ot think i could grow mangos here, even if the tree is dwarf, OMG, almost 10 feet, where would I put it, hubbie would go nuts!

You guys are great. So now tell us about your bug / virus, sorry i never asked you!

Fulton, MO


I have known of only one northern grower to fruit lychee in the north. He has the magic touch. Nobody else I know of has fruited in the north. I have two lychees, now for about 3 years, in a GH. Fruiting is made tricky by the chill requirement...it has to be met early, because high heat as early as June will ruin the pollen production. Then three stages of flowers, then hand pollination and you have to have the timing right. I have no fruit yet, but the second set of blooms is coming on now, so there is hope.

I have fruited starfruit at about 3' height.


Nassau County, NY(Zone 7a)

SB thanks for the information. Having a lychee sounds complicated then for us around here. Interesting that you got a starfruit to fruit being so little. I guess there is always hope! Maybe the answer to me would be having a GH, maybe one day!

Saint Petersburg, FL

Clemen, I come by my tropical fruit addiction honestly. I was born in Nicaragua (my father was working for a company down there), but relocated to Long Island when I was a little over a year old. And I've been trying to get back to the tropics ever since.

I moved to Florida about 15 years ago, as I had a great aunt who I adored living down here, and I simply couldn't bear the cold in New York. St. Petersburg still isn't as warm as Nicaragua, but it's pretty nice most of the year. Most of the less fragile subtropical/ tropical trees grow outside down without much fuss.

Although I live in the city, I've managed to squeeze more than 70 fruit and spice trees onto my property. So far. Not counting the two Ortaniques and the Variegated Kumquat that followed me home today.

As you can see, when I warned Tammy about the Tropical Fruit bug, I'm speaking from experience! ;)

Stressbaby...I knew about the chill requirement on lychees, but understand that that can be manipulated somewhat through pruning at certain times. Figured Clemen could just roll her pot outside for some chill, then back in later. I've heard about Lychee being fussy, but down here they seem to bloom without any special care.

Nassau County, NY(Zone 7a)

CAROLYN, destiny! Listen to this, you are going to get goose bumps. I am from Nicaragua and I moved to Long Island when my country went in turmoil! WOW, I guess the only thing left here is follow you to Florida one day, lol!

Saint Petersburg, FL

Clemen, pack up the hubby and the plants and head down!

For a gardener, there's no better place to be!

Nassau County, NY(Zone 7a)

Ha ha ha Carolyn, bags are being packed up now, including the tropicals, coming down NOW! DG is a wonderfull place, thank you Tammy for the thread!

Fulton, MO

Carolyn, yes that is true about manipulation by pruning, but my trees are so small that there is not much to prune! So this has not been something I have been able to consider so far. My 'Sweetheart' has about 10 bloom spikes right now though. Not much in FL but something to talk about in Missouri!

Saint Petersburg, FL

Stressbaby, growing something that far out of its zone is always a challenge, and 10 flower spikes is pretty impressive.

I've got the Sweetheart myself, although it's still tiny. Most of the larger trees around here are Brewsters.

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