Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Fruit Trees That Grow Best in SW Florida

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On May 17th

The Edison Ford Winter Estates is the perfect starting place to learn about some of the many varieties of tropical fruit trees that will grow well in your SW Florida garden.  Our Garden Shoppe has a great selection of treesfor you to enjoy.

  • Mango– The Mango is probably the most enjoyed fruit worldwide. It has been planted in Florida for over 100 years, is a small to medium tree about 15 feet tall and produces fruit for a summer harvest. Valencia Pride is one of the more popular commercial varieties and a grafted tree will produce fruit in 3 to 5 years. Mangoes are high in vitamins A and C.   For growing tips & care, click here.
Mango Tree
  • Avocado – Avocado trees are a great selection for Florida gardens. They are a medium sized tree around 20 feet tall and come in an early, mid and late season variety. Plant all three and you can get fruit nearly all year long. Plant in well drained soil, as they don’t like wet feet. For planting & growing tips, click here.
Avocado Tree
  • Lychee – The Lychee is a native of China and Asia, but thrives in our SW Florida climate. Pine Island is a very large commercial producer with fruit arriving in late May through early July. A larger tree growing upwards of 40 feet tall, producing fruit after about 3 to 5 years and preferring well drained soil with some wind protection. For planting & growing tips, click here.
Lychee Tree
  • Carambola – Also known as Star Fruit, this tropical fruit is a great ornamental tree for your yard. They produce a large amount of fruit from July to September and again in November to February. They prefer well drained soil, a sunny location and some protection from the wind. They have a sweet, citrus-like flavor that is delicious in salads or a garnish in drinks. For planting & growing tips, click here.
Carambola or Star Fruit Tree
  • Papaya – These fruit trees are great for a smaller space in the garden, growing very upright and producing fruit in about a year from seed. Red Lady is a dwarf, self pollinating variety that is an excellent choice for the average home gardener. Papayas produce fruit all year long and have an excellent flavor. For planting & growing tips, click here.
Papaya Tree

While this is just a short list of the most common varieties, one thing holds true for SW Florida gardens: Our climate is perfect for growing!

Please visit our Garden Shoppe at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates to see our great selection of fruit and spice trees. Learn more about our gardens or submit questions to our staff on our web site at:

19 Responses

  1. shawn and angela Says:

    Hello from Shawn and Angela here at florida hill nursery

    Posted on September 20th, 2011 at 9:58 am

  2. MelodyAtHome Says:

    Thanks for the great info. We only have 1/4 acre here in southwest Fl and trying to figure out what we can fit in the back yard. We planted a small orange and lemon tree last year and would like 2 more fruit trees. Sounds like the papaya might fit. I was wondering though are the orange and lemon tree I have self pollinating or are there enough trees maybe in my neighborood to pollinate them? Seems like I’ve seen plenty of orange trees in the area. Thanks.

    Posted on April 28th, 2012 at 7:37 pm

  3. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Melody,
    Glad to see you are interested in growing something you can eat in your 1/4 acre. Just to make sure-you said you have an orange tree and lemon tree. Both are self-pollinating, but mother nature does love to have pollen from other citrus trees to improve the seed stock. If you do have an orange, it most likely is a Valencia. They do fine without other trees in the area. Sometimes people say orange collectively not realizing there are many many varieties in Florida, but if you have an Honeybell Tangelo it will need a another tree as a pollinator. A dancy tangerine or temple orange will satisfy. What type of lemon tree? Hopefully it is the ever popular Meyer Lemon which has oodles of juice. The Eureka lemon is the other type most people grow. The Eureka variety is similar to the SUNKIST brand you see for sale at the grocery store.

    Papaya is a great herb to grow on the small property and packed with nutrition galore. It should be replanted every 1-2 years. Make sure you get a both sex variety and there are many now grown as tissue cultures. Variety to suggest include: Solo, Red Lady, Hovey

    There are some very small mango varieties that would suit your property if you don’t get too cold in the winter. The Carrie is a great small mango tree as well as Ice Cream (condo mango).
    I would suggest you go to Fruitscapes or Treehouse in Pine Island to get these varieties as well as their knowledge of what mango trees grow small for smaller properties. Mangos are one fruit that is better to grow yourself rather than buy in the grocery store for superior flavor when allowed to ripen on the tree.
    Another great tree for nutrition is the Barbados Cherry-enough Vitamin C for a days requirement in one fruit.

    I love the Limequats too-it is a cross between a kumquat and key lime. Lots of juice and small lovely shaped tree.
    For that matter, I love kumquats-the nagami is tart and the meiwa is sweet. Both fruits are eaten peel and all. They are small also!

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on May 2nd, 2012 at 11:17 am

  4. Robin Says:

    Mango trees can grow to over 90 feet tall. Mango trees this size are plentiful in SW Florida (I am in Port Charlotte). The Advocado is another one that grows 90-100 feet tall. Lots of those that big all over the place. The only problem is you can’t just reach up and pick the fruit from the top! 🙂

    We have a friend that has a few that are so big it is unbelievable. It is thought that the trees are 100+ years old. They are magnificent.

    Posted on June 2nd, 2012 at 10:36 am

  5. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Robin,

    Yes-there are some Mangoes and Avocados that are unbelievably large. They withstood hurricanes, cold damage, chainsaws, and they are here to prove it. Many of our cultivated mangoes and avocados are desirable because they are on the small side. Since the 1950’s, our residential properties have gotten smaller and there isn’t room for these large trees surrounding our homes.

    Don’t get me wrong, it is great we can still see these old time trees-they are usually the rootstock of the grafted varieties we now prefer. The mangoes we choose to grow now are possibly more flavorful. I know this is a subjective statement. I prefer the cultivars of Carrie, Bailey’s Marvel, and Glenn. These mangoes don’t seem to grow to the height of the true species Mangifera indica which are known as turpentine varieties.

    Rootstock fruit doesn’t melt in your mouth the way certain varietals do, but they do grow big trees. The mango fruit of the old rootstock varieties is smaller, has a larger seed, more string or fibrous material in the fruit, and the tree ripens all at once. These qualities make the old varieties a poor choice for commercial growing because mango farmers want to take some to market this week, next week, and the weeks after.

    By growing the newer, shorter varieties, farmers have an easier time harvesting also. Many mango and avocado growers prune for ease of harvest. Teetering on a ladder with a fruit picker is not my idea of a good time.

    Many of our new varieties of mangoes and avocados extend the season of ripe fruit also. It is possible to grow a mango that ripens in June-a different one in August-and another in September. Fruit all summer!!

    The mangoes and avocados grown in the past century may be hard to find in our future. The cost to have them trimmed properly and the room we need to grow them as edible shade tree is a thing of the past. I for one prefer many edible fruit trees enabling me to grow more varieties if they are smaller in size. Look for older mangoes at historical sites like the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Thomas Edison grew them, and Henry Ford called his home in Fort Myers “The Mangoes”. I grew up in the North eating apples, pears, and cherries. Now that I live in a sub-tropical climate, I am glad to grow and eat my share of mangoes and avocados.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on June 5th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

  6. Angela Says:

    How can I purchase I’m in San Antonio tx

    Posted on May 13th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

  7. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    San Antonio Texas should have a nursery that specializing in fruiting trees. It seems the best way to research nurseries in your area would be a google search-“where to buy fruiting trees in San Antonio, Texas.” I did just this and came up with Fanick Nursery. Try this out and give them a call first. Seeds are easier to find on the internet. There are plenty of people who will send you seeds. Just make sure they are reputable groups. Look on our website for our seed selection.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on June 5th, 2013 at 4:17 pm

  8. Nidal H Shehadeh Says:

    Pomelo tree is whet i need can you help

    Posted on February 9th, 2014 at 4:06 pm

  9. Dave Says:

    Thanks for your website. I live in Port Charlotte near the harbor where a micro-climate allows growth of all the plants listed on your website.

    I planted three loquat trees (Japanese plum) in my yard. These were grafted and bought at nurseries. Two started bearing fruit after about a year and one after two years. The fruit is good when fully ripe. There are numerous mature loquat trees in this part of Port Charlotte. I read mature loquats may produce 50-200 pounds of fruit. I may need to thin my trees out in time.

    Posted on June 6th, 2014 at 12:04 pm

  10. Daniel Genter Says:

    I am interested in navel orange, orange, tangerine, lemon, lime trees to plant in my back yard in Cape Coral, Florida. I want to buy trees that are already 10-12 feet tall at the top of the canopy. Where is the best nursery to find these type of mature trees. Would this be too tall to be planted and have a resonance chance of successful growth?
    504-259-1572 cell

    Posted on July 16th, 2014 at 3:04 pm

  11. Rose Says:

    I have three star fruit trees that I started from seed 3 years ago. They are 8-10 ft tall..full and look very healthy. My problem is…No flowers..ever! No fruit!! How long does it take for my beautiful trees to do something..other than look pretty? :-). Well drained soil here in FL..I feed them twice a year with fruit fertilizer and as I said..they are beautiful trees all year around. I would love to see one flower..nothing! Please Help!

    Posted on August 21st, 2014 at 4:50 pm

  12. Chip Case Says:

    Hello…I just xplanted from a nursery (with Blackcow) a 15 gal. Persian lime in my backyard (Naples FL)It has been in-ground for almost 3 weeks. The leaves are starting to curl inward. There are no signs of insects, but the tree gets full sun and it has been HOT. I have been watering each day in a berm around the tree. Is the problem too much water? Thank you.

    Posted on August 28th, 2014 at 3:42 pm

  13. Dave Says:

    Looking to buy oh 2′-3′ , Giant key lime tree for Port. charlotte,
    Where to buy? Cost? No,of fence but how to know if is one?
    Thanks Dave at

    Posted on September 12th, 2014 at 9:39 am

  14. Dale Says:


    I own a 1/4 acre canal waterfront lot (80 feet wide by 120 feet long) just on the out skirts of Port Charlotte.

    The lot is fully treed and the closest home is about 10 or so lots way. I was hoping to clear out some of the bush for now and plan on maybe start building a retirement home in a few years (but not quite sure yet). For now I will visit the lot from time to time and maybe camp out and do some hanging out and some fishing.

    I also wanted to start growing some fruit trees on the lot so they will be ready a few years down the road.

    My main questions are: what kind of fruit trees can I plant in that area? Will mangoes and Papaya grow ok there?

    If I am not there on a regular bases will the trees survive on their own? Will I have to water and how often?

    Does anyone have any other suggestions for me? I’m completely open for ideas.



    Posted on September 19th, 2014 at 10:14 pm

  15. Ricky Says:

    Hi Dale!
    I’m in the same boat as you are, except my lot is not waterfront. I planted 3 orange trees 2 years ago and when I went back a couple months ago all that stood was a little stick. Lol

    I’m planning on going there this weekend and planting some loquat trees (Japanese plum) and maybe some star fruit trees.
    Will see how that goes, lol.

    Have you planted any yet?


    Posted on April 9th, 2015 at 9:25 pm

  16. richard Says:

    I own a half acre lot in venus florida and I would like to plant some tropical fruit tree sweet sop,sour sop, jackfruit. orange, mongo, sugar cane, bananas, how will these fruit cope with the weather in this area. Thank you in advance,


    Posted on December 11th, 2015 at 11:09 pm

  17. Brandt Says:

    Hello. I have a 10 acre vacant land we use to camp on and such. The kids and I would love to plant some citrus trees and avocado but not sure where to start. It’s coming into fall and not sure when I should start. I also would like to start with more mature trees so I can cut the time it takes to produce fruit. Any advice for a newbie???


    Posted on September 6th, 2016 at 10:12 pm

  18. Taver Says:

    Hello, I am near Labelle, FL 33935 and I have a gulf gold plum that has produced nice big gold plums for me the last 2 years. I am looking for other types of plums, peaches, or apricots that will produce in this area. Thanks

    Posted on January 19th, 2017 at 7:36 pm

  19. Sam Says:

    Hi,first happy Easter.
    I am looking for some fruits trees for 3 seasons a year,like to pick up the fruits from the fruits trees 3 times a year

    Posted on April 16th, 2017 at 12:17 pm