Demonstration category - Participant# 401 || 2004 Contest

Welcome to KrolikUdaff-TopTropicals!

front yard - ponds and orchids (front patio) - back yard - fruit trees - plants in pots (back patio) - house plants - zoo

Litchi chinensis

If we were re-making our garden again, we would plant more fruit trees. When we just moved into a new house, we were so excited about different kinds of blooming tropical plants (which only Russian and Minnesota people can appreciate that much), that we left almost no room for fruit trees. Later we have discovered so many wonderful varieties of mango that now we probably could plant at least 10 of them in the yard... well, too late.

However, there are some of them!

Litchi was planted last summer, and for this season it already bears about 100 fruit!

We planted Mango tree (mangifera indica) without even paying attention to labeled variety. It happened to be Tommy Atkins which is not as tender and fiberless as Nam Doc Mai or Carrie, but it's very sweet and yet it's flood tolerant. This is important when your backyard is water front.

 

Mango Julie

Mango started to fruit right away, in a few months after we planted it. Later we discovered that mangoes are easy to fruit even in a small container! So we started to grow other varieties in containers - it's possible to get 1-2 nice fruit from such a small tree. In fact, it can produce more fruit, but it's better to cut them off and leave only 1-2 for ripening. Our favorite varieties are Mallica, Nam Doc Mai, Carrie, Julie.

Another surprise was Avocado tree (persea americana) that fruited right in 3 gal container! It is believed that avocado never bears fruit in container. It is true only if it's grown from seed. Grafted varieties bear fruit in couple years.

Persea americana

Longan with fruit in 1 gal container

As soon as we ran out of space, we got more into container gardening. Now we have many fruit trees that successfully grow and fruit in containers: White Sapote (casimiroa edulis), Black Sapote (Diospyros digyna) , spondias cytherea and purpurea, Longan, Carambola and many others.

 

Spondias cytherea

Synsepalum dulcificum

The only secret for successful fruiting in container is that the trees must be either grafted or air-layered. However, some trees will fruit even if they are 1-2 yo seedlings, for example Miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum), eugenias, guavas, annonas, etc.

Many of them even prefer to be in a container especially when soil in your area is alkaline (like in Florida). Miracle fruit should be kept in container only - for best results. In our yard it is planted in 7 gal container and fruits almost non-stop all year. Krolik likes to eat oranges after eating a Miracle fruit berry. Tastes like delicious orange candy!

 

Annona squamosa

These are very easy to grow tropical fruit trees.

Annona seedlings (a. squamosa - sugar apple, a. muricata - soursop, guanabana.) are ready to fruit when they are 2-3 y.o.

Papaya (carica papaya) is grown from seeds. This tree on the right was planted from a seed that Krolik brought from Hawaii less than 2 years ago. We suggest to everybody to grow papayas from seeds obtained from fruit that you buy in supermarkets. In 2-3 years you will have a nice fruiting tree. In fact, papaya is not really a tree, it's a herb! It's fast growing and they suggest to replace it with a new seedling every 3-4-5 years. Even though the 'tree" can grow much older (25 years and more), fruit get their best characteristics when the tree is young. Only one 'secret': papayas don't like to be re-potted. Try to re-pot it only once: when you plant a seedling into a big pot, where it will live for years, and try to keep roots undisturbed. Another rule: papaya doesn't like wet soil, keep it on a dry side, but don't allow leaves to wilt! Every one can make a Hawaii at home!

Papaya

Wax Jamboo and Malay Apple (syzygiums) - are also easy and fast growing fruit trees. Ours fruited on the second year.

Punica granatum

Among rare exotic fruit we also have a few common species. These on the photos are Pomegranate and Muscadine Grape. Not Florida species at all!

.. and yet there are some species that are extremely unusual and exotic!

This is Noni tree (Morinda citrifolia) that we brought from South America (the tree on above picture was grown in 6 months from 2" cutting!). Noni is very cold sensitive and in winter, when temperature at night dropped below 55F (sometimes down to 40), we kept our Noni at home. It was rewarded: this summer it is full in fruit! (growing in 7 gal container). Now we can make our own healing Noni Juice!

Pitaya (dragon fruit) is another exotic fruit that grows on cacti. We planted a little cutting 2 years ago, now it's a huge vining tree! And it prefers shade - very unusual for a cactus...

front yard - ponds and orchids (front patio) - back yard - fruit trees - plants in pots (back patio) - house plants - zoo