Newsletter: Cold Hardy Tropical Fruit Trees

Blog / Garden tips

8-18-2017 Cold hardy tropical fruit trees

Cold hardy tropical fruit trees

Q: I just moved to Louisiana and have been wondering whether it would make sense to plant some tropical fruit trees in our garden. Average lows in New Orleans are 41 deg F in January and February, although we did hit 25 once with the Arctic vortex. Im interested in litchi, longan, rambutans, and persimmons. Do you have varieties that can tolerate Louisiana’s temperature range? Id love mangosteen but I don’t suppose they will survive. Do you have any suggestions on tropical fruit trees that I could try?

A: Average temperatures are for statistics only; it is actual temperatures that may hurt your cold sensitive plant. This is what you should keep in mind when starting your tropical fruit collection:
1) Ultra-tropical plants like Rambutan can not survive winters below 45-50F. However, they can be successfully grown in containers in a greenhouse or moved indoors into a sun room during cold periods.
2) Tropical plants like Litchi and Longan may take some light frost once established. Still, for areas with freeze our advice is - keep them in pots and move inside in case of cold.
3) There is a number of subtropical fruit trees that are hardy enough to take some freeze. Persimmon, Feijoa, Fig, Cattley Guava, Jujube, Kiwi, some Eugenias and others. Please refer to our Tropical Fruit Sensitivity Chart.
4) Remember that plant's ability to survive winter depends on several factors, not only temperature itself. Important factors are: wind protection (chill wind kills rather than low temperature itself), exposure, how close the tree is planted to the house, plant maturity and its overall strength and health. If a plant had received good nutrients during summer, has well established root system, planted in enclosed area protected from winds and has plenty of bright sunlight - it has better chances to survive than a weak plant in warmer conditions.
5) Use SUNSHINE plant boosters for improving cold tolerance of your tropical plant. It only takes a few drops, and only costs $5!