Florida is known for its citrus industry, especially orange trees and orange juice. In my early career, I owned a landscaping business with my father, which he still runs today. Maintaining large age communities has been a huge part of our business.
Our staff always laughed because as soon as a new retiree moved to Florida from the north, the first thing they did was buy a 6-inch orange tree seedling and put it in the middle of their garden – unaware that the grass would grow 6 inches high in a single week of summer Florida. Our crew wouldn’t even know the tree was there and would mow right over it, causing a lot of awkward follow-up calls.
Citrus trees are still popular, although disease has made it more difficult to maintain a healthy tree. Aside from citrus, there are a few other edible tree options that will make a great addition to your landscape.
Here are some that do well in the Tampa Bay area.
The 2010s avocado craze doesn’t look like it’s going to end as it is a healthy and delicious fruit. The green-skinned variety grows best in Florida, but the dark green Florida Hass avocado, grown primarily in California, works well on the west coast of Florida. Laurel wilt, a disease common to beetles, has become a problem in Florida, but scientists are working on solutions. And the risk / benefit of growing your own avocados is likely worth it, as the disease is most prevalent where it is grown commercially. Avocado trees need full sun and well-drained soil.
Mango trees can grow up to 30 feet.
Mango trees also prefer well-drained soils in full sun for maximum fruit production. Untrimmed, they can grow to over 30 feet. Therefore, do not plant them near your home or other structures. To encourage more fruit, cut trees at a young age for a better knot pattern. For young trees, fertilize every two to three months.
03. CHINESE LOQUAT
The Chinese loquat bears fruit in early spring and prefers full sun and well-drained soil. The fruits and the tree can be damaged by freezing temperatures. Therefore, be careful if severe cold fronts occur.
04. Olive tree
There are several types of olive trees that grow in Florida. However, if you want edible olives, then you should definitely buy the European olive tree. The Arbequina olive tree from Spain is the most popular variety grown in Florida. They prefer sandy, well-drained soil in a sunny part of your property.